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Dog Bite Lawyer in Henry County Iowa

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Recovering Damages for Injured Victims

Although many dogs are well-behaved, pleasant animals, some dogs go rogue and bite people. Dog bite attacks are unfortunately common in the United States, causing injured victims to pay for expensive medical bills out of their own pockets. Iowa is a strict liability state that forces the responsible party to pay for the damages caused by dog bites.

While not all dog bites are fatal, many cause serious injuries. Disfigurement, amputations, scarring, and other wounds are all real possibilities after a dog bite attack. Some dog bite cases involve dogs that have bitten without being provoked. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the majority of dog bites happen without any warning signs from the animal.

If you or your loved one is a dog bite victim, you deserve compensation for your injuries. By working with legal representation right away, you can hold the dog’s owner responsible and recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. For more information about dog bite claims and to receive a free initial consultation, contact Cornell Injury Law at 319-946-4019.

What Are the Most Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries?

Some dog bites only leave minor scratches and bruises. Other dog bite injuries, however, can cause severe injury with long-term symptoms. If you have been bitten by a dog, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. You could have internal damage that is not immediately obvious.

The most common dog bite injuries victims suffer include:

  •  Abrasions: Superficial injuries like scrapes that do not affect the skin are called abrasions. Abrasions don’t generally cause bleeding, but they can cause temporary or permanent scarring.
  •  Lacerations: Deep cuts and tears that go past the epidermis and into the muscles are called lacerations. Lacerations often cause excessive bleeding and can require stitches or surgery.
  •  Punctures: A dog’s sharp teeth can puncture the skin and cause damage. Punctures are generally smaller than abrasions or lacerations, but they can go deep and cause excessive bleeding. Puncture wounds are at a high risk of infection.
  •  Amputation: If a dog bite injures the bones, tendons, or nerves, it can result in an amputation. Victims can lose a hand, arm, leg, finger, or foot.
  •  Facial injuries: Injuries to the face often require extensive cosmetic surgery to recover from. Facial injuries can be catastrophic, and children are much more susceptible to these injuries because of their short stature.
  •  Nerve damage: A dog attack can cause nerve damage. The damage can range from temporary loss of function to paralysis.
  •  Infections: A dog’s mouth contains a lot of bacteria. When a dog punctures the skin, it can introduce dangerous bacteria that cause an infection. Symptoms of an infection include swelling, redness, pain, and pus.

Some dog bites can even cause fatal wounds. Infections, excessive bleeding, and other complications can cause death in dog bite victims. If your loved one passed away due to their injuries, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Contact our team of dog-bite attorneys to learn more.

What Kind of Damages Can You Claim After a Dog Bite?

Like other personal injury claims, you can generally recover any monetary losses you sustained as a direct result of the dog attack. Your specific damages will depend on the unique circumstances of your case and the extent of your injuries.

The injured party may be able to claim damages like:

Medical Expenses

The injuries from a dog attack can leave victims facing expensive medical bills. If you have paid for any medical treatment or require future medical treatments, you can claim both current and future medical expenses in your dog bite lawsuit.

Lost Wages

Many people who are recovering from a dog bite require time off from work. If you have lost wages from taking time off because of your injuries, you can recover those wages as damages.

Lost Earning Potential

There is a chance that your dog bite injuries could prevent you from returning to your job at the same pay rate as before. If you are unable to earn the wages you were previously earning, you can sue for that amount of lost money.

Rehabilitative Expenses

Rehabilitative expenses cover both physical expenses, like physical therapy, and mental health expenses, like counseling and psychiatric help. Many dog bite victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety related to the dog attack.

Emotional Suffering

Emotional distress or suffering includes loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering. Your emotional trauma can be claimed in a dog bite case.

Wrongful Death

If your loved one died because of their injuries, you, as a surviving family member, can claim damages on their behalf. You can recover damages like loss of companionship, loss of financial support, and funeral expenses.

What Should You Do After a Dog Bite?

Dog attacks can be overwhelming and frightening for victims. It’s not uncommon to go into a state of shock after suffering a dog bite. However, by taking the proper steps, you can make it much easier to file a dog bite claim later and recover your losses.

If you are bitten by a dog, take the following steps immediately:

  •  Seek medical care. Even if you do not seem injured, you could have internal damage. Call emergency services for any serious injury.
  •  Get any personal information from the dog’s owner. Write down their name, phone number, and insurance company.
  •  Take photos of your injuries. If anyone else was hurt in the dog attack, photograph their injuries as well.
  •  Take witness statements. If anyone witnessed the attack, ask for their contact information so you can get ahold of them later.
  •  Do not make any statements to the dog’s owner or their insurance agent. Making a statement without legal representation is not advisable, as anything you say could be used against you in court.
  •  Report the incident to animal control. Dogs that bite humans are likely dangerous. Contact your local animal control services and report what happened.
  •  Contact a dog-bite attorney on our team. The sooner you receive legal representation, the sooner you can claim damages and get the compensation you deserve.

In some cases, you may be unable to gather evidence immediately after the dog bite happens. Our legal team will be able to investigate your dog bite claim and gather evidence on your behalf.

When Do Dog Bites Often Happen?

All dogs have the potential to bite or attack another person unexpectedly. However, there are some situations that put individuals more at risk of a dog attack.

Most dog bite claims happen in the following scenarios:

  •  When a human breaks up a dog fight. When two or more dogs are fighting, many people instinctively jump in and try to separate them. However, some dogs will then turn their aggression toward the humans involved. There are safe ways to break up a dog fight, including distracting the dogs and using an object to separate the dogs.
  •  When a dog is approached by a stranger. Some dogs are aggressive toward people they don’t know. If you ever approach an unknown dog, it is essential to ask the dog’s owner if they are friendly. For stray dogs, it is better to call animal control and have professionals pick them up than risk a dog bite.
  •  When a dog is not adequately trained. Untrained or under-socialized dogs may bite when they are stressed. Dog owners are responsible for training and socializing their dogs.
  •  When an aggressive dog is unsupervised. Dogs should always be restrained in public places, especially if they are known to be aggressive. Dog owners must follow all leash laws to prevent their dogs from biting others.

What Are Iowa’s Dog Laws?

Most local governments set the laws for dogs in public. In Iowa, different jurisdictions have different laws regarding dogs on public property.

In Des Moines, dogs must be restrained by a leash or a fence on the owner’s private property. Dogs can also be under voice command. When not on the owner’s property, dogs must be restrained on a leash that is no longer than six feet.

In Iowa City, dogs and cats must be restrained on a leash that is no longer than ten feet unless they are on their owner’s property or in a vehicle. The person restraining them must be competent and in control.

In West Des Moines, no animals are allowed to run loose. Animals must be restrained on a leash of no more than ten feet or be able to obey the voice command of a responsible person immediately.

All dog owners are expected to know and understand the local laws that pertain to their animals. Iowa law states that dog owners cannot claim ignorance if they disobey the law. Generally, any domestic animal must be on a leash or be controlled by voice commands when in public.

When is a Dog Owner Responsible for a Dog Bite?

Iowa is a strict liability state, meaning that a dog owner is often responsible for dog bites. However, there are some circumstances under which the responsible party is the victim involved.

Dog owners are responsible for a dog attack under the following circumstances:

  •  The bite happens in public
  •  The bite happens when the victim is lawfully on the owner’s property (for instance, a mail carrier or invited guests)
  •  The owner’s property had something on it that may entice a child, and the child was bitten after entering the property

Dog owners are responsible any time their dog attacks someone, whether their dog is a first-time offender or not. If a dog bite victim was involved in an unlawful act, like provoking the dog or trespassing on the property, the dog owner may not be liable for their injuries.

Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?

Dog bite attacks can cause serious injuries with life-long symptoms. Victims may face medical expenses, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. Dog owners are generally responsible for any injuries their dogs cause, and victims deserve compensation for their pain and suffering.

Our team at Cornell Injury Law has years of experience assisting clients with dog bite cases. We are confident we can help you gather evidence and hold guilty parties responsible. To receive a free consultation, contact our law firm by calling 319-946-4019 today.