Dogs are kept as beloved pets by many Delaware residents, but in some cases, these animals can attack, causing grievous harm. Dog bites can happen if an animal is scared, ill or simply poorly trained.
Fortunately, Delaware residents are protected by a number of laws, most notably Delaware Code section 1711, which holds dog owners liable if their pets attack or cause injury to others. Delaware laws also allow third parties to be held liable in dog attacks. For instance, if a property owner allows a dog to come onto their property and the dog bites someone visiting the property, the property owner as well as the dog owner may be held liable.
The Dangers of Dog Bites
In the best of circumstances, a dog bite can cause a minor cut or abrasion. Unfortunately, many dog attacks result in serious and even fatal injuries.
In many cases, a frightened or upset animal will instinctively attack the abdomen, throat or facial area, where injuries can be especially dangerous. Even if a dog attack is not fatal, the scarring can be devastating and injuries to the tendons, bones and muscles can cause mobility problems for a lifetime.
If a dog is ill, the illness may be passed on through the bite, necessitating potentially difficult medical treatment for the dog attack victim. Infection and other medical complications can also make a dog bite life-threatening, especially if left untreated.
Often, the victims of dog attacks are children. This is because children are naturally attracted to animals and may approach a dog out of curiosity. Due to a child’s small size, a dog is more likely to cause serious injuries since it’s much easier to reach the head and facial areas. A dog can even drag a child along or shake them, causing further injury. Children die each year due to dog attacks or end up with lifelong injuries because of an encounter with a dog.
What to Do in Case of a Dog Bite
If you are attacked by a dog, try to minimize the injuries. Try to protect your head and facial area and try to get to safety. Seek medical attention at once and contact police. Where possible, try to get authorities to track down the dog and the dog’s owners to determine if the animal has any illness and is up-to-date on vaccinations.
Immediately after your injury, contact a dog bite attorney in Delaware. A dog bite lawyer can help gather evidence against the dog owner and can represent you if you file a claim. A lawyer can address any defense of a dog bite lawsuit.
This is important since Delaware Code section 1711 states a lawsuit is not valid if a victim was engaged in illegal activity (such as trespassing) at the time of a dog bite. This law also stands if someone was harassing, teasing or abusing a dog. A dog bite defense lawyer hired by a dog owner may try to allege a victim did something wrong and the claim is invalid. If you have been bitten by an animal, your own attorney can gather and present evidence to counter these claims.
If you’d like to talk to an attorney about your dog bite situation, contact Rahaim & Saints today for a free consultation. Our attorneys represent clients in Bear, Bethany Beach, Milton, Newark, Middletown, New Castle, Wilmington, Dover, Glasgow, Lewes and all communities in Delaware. If you have been attacked by someone’s pet, our team can answer your questions and offer advice and support.