Fort Smith Dog Bite Attorneys
Suffering an animal attack can be a terrifying ordeal. Even pets that seem calm and harmless can react unexpectedly and lash out, causing severe injury. Animal bites present further danger because of the risk of disease and infection.
If you’ve been injured by an aggressive animal, a lawyer who understands Arkansas dog bite laws is essential to a successful claim. The Fort Smith premises liability attorneys at McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm can determine who is liable for your injuries and will make sure your right to compensation is protected. We know what steps we need to take to build a strong case on your behalf, and we’ll make sure you’re treated fairly in an injury claim or lawsuit.
The attorneys at our firm are dedicated to providing exceptional representation, and we are passionate about fighting for the rights of injured victims. We have effectively secured positive results for so many clients because we care. We’re ready to listen to the details of your case. Call us today at (479) 783-0036 to schedule a free consultation.
Why You Need a Lawyer in an Animal Attack Case
Many dog bite injuries go unreported and unsettled. A good lawyer who knows liability and understands how to deal with insurance companies is important to have on your side. Insurers will do everything they can to avoid making a large payout, and they may try to get you to say something that would put your claim in jeopardy. Your attorney can speak with insurance company representatives on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry.
Our lawyers will investigate the circumstances of the attack and determine who to hold responsible for your injury. We will also make sure all your medical records are in order and that all insurance claim deadlines are met so that nothing falls through the cracks. We can build a solid case for your compensation and will take your case to court if necessary.
Our attorneys also understand that, sometimes, the owner of the dog that attacked you or your loved one may be a friend or even a family member. You understandably may be hesitant to seek compensation from them, but rest assured, in almost all dog bite cases, compensation is covered by the dog owner’s homeowners insurance.
It’s important that you receive the financial reward you need to cover your expenses and losses, so you can focus on healing and moving forward. We’ll negotiate assertively with the insurance company to ensure they treat you fairly.
Why You Should Hire McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm
At McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm, we take pride in our ability to provide top-quality representation to people facing difficult circumstances, just like you. For 25 years, we’ve helped many regular Arkansans recover compensation for the injuries they suffered due to the negligence of others. We work tirelessly to make sure you get the best possible results. We regularly go up against the biggest businesses and insurance companies on behalf of our clients. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you receive compensation. As our client, your success is our highest priority.
Causes of Dog Bites
While many dogs do not appear to be dangerous or threatening, even the smallest, most docile-seeming pet may bite if the dog has behavioral issues. Similarly, a dog that is under stress or startled may bite as a reaction to perceived danger. If it is trying to protect its puppies or its food, a dog is much more likely to bite.
Children are often in even greater danger around strange dogs because a child is smaller and more vulnerable to serious injury from a bite or attack.
A dog with rabies is much more dangerous than one that is healthy. The rabies virus can affect a dog’s behavior, causing it to lose its inhibitions and fear, making it much more likely to react aggressively. Further, it can pass on the rabies virus through its saliva to the victim.
Typical Injuries and Medical Issues Resulting From Dog Attacks
Bites from dogs and other animals pose a unique danger to your health. The physical wound is bad enough, but there may also be the potential for disease and infection if the wound is not treated properly or quickly enough.
Some of the medical problems an animal bite could cause include:
- Puncture wounds
- Minor to severe blood loss
- Broken bones, especially in the extremities
- Scarring or mutilation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or other emotional damage
- Lacerations from teeth or claws
- Nerve damage
- Torn muscles or tendons
- Rabies or other viral infections
- Tetanus or other bacterial infections
It is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as possible after being bitten. It’s best not to rely on treating the wound yourself. The puncture may seem shallow or even harmless, but a bite can transfer a bacterial or viral infection that can be deadly if not treated properly. You should seek medical attention for this reason and because your medical records will be an essential part of any insurance claim you make later.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
An experienced medical liability attorney is your best source for information about your own case, but here are a few answers to questions you may have right now:
Can I catch rabies from a dog or other animal bite?
Any mammal that is infected with the rabies virus could potentially pass it on through a bite. If you are bitten or scratched by a dog, a cat, or a wild animal such as a rat, raccoon, or bat, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A wild animal is more likely to have rabies, but the risk of infection from any animal bite means that you should see a doctor, even if the animal is a pet. A bite from a wild animal will very likely require a vaccine. If the animal is domesticated and appears healthy, however, it may be safe to quarantine it for 10 days and observe it for signs of rabies. A pet that is current on its own vaccinations will be very unlikely to carry rabies, according to the CDC.
It usually takes 4 to 12 weeks for humans to develop symptoms of rabies after a bite. The incubation period can range from a few days to as long as six years, however. The initial onset of the disease includes flu-like symptoms such as fever, weakness in the muscles, and tingling sensations. There may be a burning sensation at the site of injury. If the disease is allowed to go untreated, it may cause the victim to develop anxiety, sleeplessness, and erratic behavior, or it could cause them to become paralyzed and slip into a coma, and eventually die.
What do I need to prove in a dog bite case?
There is no statewide statute in Arkansas that governs dog bites. Most cases are decided based on premises liability, negligence, or on something known as the “one bite” rule. This legal principle says that if a dog has acted aggressively or has bitten someone in the past, and the owner knew or should have known, the owner can be held liable. A case of negligence would require the victim to prove that the owner had a duty of care that they failed to uphold, which led the dog to cause injury. Some counties have stricter liability laws regarding dog bites, which don’t require a victim to prove that the owner was liable.
How long do I have to file a claim for a dog or animal bite?
Most personal injury claims in Arkansas have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of the injury. There may be some specific circumstances that could cause that time period to be extended, as in the event you did not discover the injury until some time after the attack. But it is important to explore your legal options as soon as possible after your injury.
Your medical records and evidence from the scene of the attack, as well as the testimony of the pet owner, may be important to your claim. These will be more difficult to collect after time has passed.
What can I be compensated for in a dog bite case?
Every case is unique, and compensation in an animal attack case will depend on the level of injury, who is liable, and other legal factors. Your attorney can give you a better idea when you meet, but here are a few of the forms compensation may take in your case:
- Doctor and hospitalization bills
- Prescription and medication reimbursement
- Lost wages
- Long-term care and rehabilitation
- Treatment for PTSD or psychological distress
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Loss of income or consortium due to disability or death of a family member
- Damages for wrongful death
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
Medical care is expensive, and the injuries caused by an animal attack can be very serious and even deadly. It’s important to know that if someone is responsible for your injuries, you’re not out of luck. You have legal options available to make sure your injuries are properly treated, and you don’t suffer needlessly from this experience.
Speak With a Dog Bite Legal Specialist Right Away
If you’ve been bitten by a pet or other animal, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. You need a lawyer who understands the medical risks and the issues around liability for your injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other expenses arising from the attack.
Suffering an injury like this is scary and dangerous, but our experienced attorneys will take care of your legal needs, so you can focus on healing. Call us at (479) 783-0036 or fill out our contact form today to get started on your case.