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What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog

Knowing the right steps to take immediately after a dog attack can significantly impact your recovery and your case for compensation.

The first step after a dog bite is to assess your injuries and seek medical attention, regardless of the bite’s severity. Even minor wounds can lead to infections, and a medical professional will provide the necessary treatment.

In addition to protecting your health, a medical professional will create a record of your visit, documenting the extent of your injuries and the administered treatment. This record is often crucial evidence in a dog bite claim.

Next, you should report the dog bite to local animal control or law enforcement agencies. This ensures an official record of the incident is made, which can be critical in a legal claim. When reporting, be as detailed as possible about the circumstances of the bite.

Documentation is key. Along with the official report, gather as much evidence as possible, including:

  • Photos of your injuries.
  • The incident’s location.
  • Witness testimony.
  • Witness contact information.
  • Records of medical treatments.
  • Correspondence related to the incident.

Contact a dog bite attorney at our law firm to ensure you are compensated fairly for your injuries and suffering. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we have a long history of successfully handling dog bite claims. Our lawyers can guide you through the complexities of animal bite laws and protect your rights throughout the claim process.

Dog Bite Laws in Arkansas

Arkansas dog bite laws are complex because Arkansas does not have a statewide regulation specifically for dog bites and the rules often vary based on local ordinances. Your dog bite attorney will understand these differences and use this knowledge to handle your case effectively.

Courts in Arkansas typically follow the “One Bite Rule.” This rule states that a dog owner might not be responsible for a dog bite if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown any previous signs of aggression. This is because, legally, the owner had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous.

However, once a dog has bitten someone or shown aggression, the dog’s owner is expected to be aware of this behavior. If the dog bites again, the owner could face liability for any injuries caused, as it’s assumed they knew their dog had the potential to be dangerous and did not take necessary precautions.

Some areas in Arkansas have “leash laws” that require owners to keep their dogs on a leash. If a pet owner in one of these areas ignores this law and their dog attacks someone, they may be held liable for the attack because they failed to uphold the duty imposed by the law.

There may be other cases where a dog owner fails to abide by a law that governs their animal’s behavior. In those cases, the owner could be liable for their negligence.

Specific laws like Arkansas Code § 5-62-125 and Little Rock Municipal Code Chapter 6 further define legal responsibilities. Arkansas Code § 5-62-125 addresses criminal penalties for owners of dogs that attack, injure, or kill without provocation. Under this law, an attack can be considered a Class A misdemeanor if:

  • If the owner knows, or has reason to know, that their dog has a natural tendency to attack or cause injuries to people,
  • The owner fails to take reasonable care to prevent the dog from attacking someone else, and
  • The dog’s attack causes serious physical injury or death.

Remember, each case is unique, and a dog bite attorney at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton can provide clarity and direction specific to your situation.

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Common Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites are often more severe than they initially appear. Beyond the immediate pain and shock, these incidents can lead to a range of serious issues, including long-term disability, pain, and suffering.

Dog bites can lead to significant scarring and disfigurement, which can have a profound impact on your well-being.

In cases of more vicious dog attacks, you might suffer broken bones. This kind of injury not only causes immediate pain but can also lead to prolonged periods of physical disability.

Nerve damage from a dog bite can range from temporary to permanent, affecting your ability to perform everyday tasks and potentially leading to chronic pain or discomfort.

The risk of infection from a dog bite is high due to the bacteria present in a dog’s mouth. If not properly treated, these infections can lead to serious health complications.

The psychological aftermath of a dog bite can be as debilitating as the physical injuries. You may experience PTSD, which can manifest as nightmares, flashbacks, or an intense, ongoing fear of dogs.

Compensation for Dog Bite Claims in Arkansas

After you suffer a dog bite injury, you may wonder what types of compensation you can recover and what factors influence the compensation you receive. It’s important to recognize that each case is unique, and various elements can affect the compensation you may receive.

In general, the more severe your injuries, the higher the potential compensation. Serious injuries like deep lacerations, broken bones, or those requiring surgery result in higher claims due to the increased medical costs and longer recovery periods.

Dog bite accident victims can recover compensation for a variety of damages, including:

All medical costs related to the dog bite — from initial treatment to ongoing therapies or rehabilitation — are considered. This includes emergency room visits, hospital stays, medications, and specialized care. It also includes future medical expenses you may incur because of any long-term disability or complication.

If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for lost wages, earnings, and benefits. In more severe cases, if the injuries affect your future earning capacity, this can also be factored into the compensation.

Non-economic damages like pain and suffering are subjective but crucial. They cover the physical pain and emotional trauma resulting from the bite, including anxiety, fear, and diminished quality of life.

In rare cases, where the dog owner’s negligence is egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future

The forces of a motorcycle accident can be extreme resulting in serious internal bleeding and organ damage. These injuries can be life-threatening and can casuse permanent damage to the delicate organs and tissues in the body. Liver damage, punctured lungs, ruptured spleens, and kidney damage are all common after a serious accident.

Why Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?

If you suffered a dog bite injury in Arkansas, an injury lawyer will protect your rights and your pathway to compensation.

Your attorney will start by accurately assessing the full extent of damages you’ve suffered. This goes beyond immediate medical expenses. It means figuring out your long-term care needs, lost wages due to inability to work, and the often overlooked non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Your attorney will work to ensure that every aspect of your injury and its impact on your life is accounted for in your dog bite injury claim.

Your attorney will also handle the insurance companies so that you can focus on your recovery. Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, and your attorney can negotiate a settlement that reflects the true extent of your injuries and losses rather than the insurance company’s interests.

Having an attorney by your side means having a dedicated advocate for your best interests. Knowing that someone is tirelessly working to protect your rights provides peace of mind during a stressful and emotional time. If your case proceeds to court, your attorney will manage all aspects of the litigation process, from filing the lawsuit to representing you before a judge and jury.

Dog Bite FAQs

When dealing with a dog bite incident, particularly involving a loved one’s dog, it’s worth noting that homeowners’ insurance policies often provide coverage for such injuries. This is an important consideration, as it can be a way to seek compensation for your injuries without directly impacting your loved one financially.

Homeowners insurance exists for situations like these. It’s designed to protect homeowners from various liabilities, including the actions of their pets. If a family member’s dog bites you, their insurance policy might cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the bite.

In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit is typically three years from the incident date. This means you have three years to initiate legal proceedings. It’s crucial to begin the process as soon as possible, as waiting too long can result in losing the ability to file a lawsuit. Consulting a lawyer promptly can help ensure your claim is filed within the legal timeframe.

To strengthen a dog bite claim, gathering comprehensive evidence is key. This includes:

  • Medical Records: Documenting your injuries and the treatment received.
  • Photos of Injuries: Taken immediately after the bite and throughout the healing process.
  • Witness Statements: If anyone witnessed the incident, their accounts could be crucial.
  • Dog Owner Information: Details about the dog and its owner.
  • Incident Report: If you reported the bite to animal control or the police, obtaining a copy of this report is important.
  • Evidence of Lost Wages: If the injury caused you to miss work.
  • Personal Account: A detailed description of the incident and its impact on your life.

Collecting this evidence can be overwhelming, especially while recovering from an injury. An experienced Arkansas dog bite lawyer can assist in gathering and organizing this information, ensuring your claim is as strong as possible.

Rainwater Holt & Sexton: Your Advocate in Dog Bite Cases

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we understand the profound emotional and physical impact a dog bite can have on you and your family. Our approach to each case is rooted in deep empathy, ensuring that our clients receive exceptional legal representation and the compassionate support they need during this challenging time.

Our personal injury team understands the legal intricacies of dog bite cases in Arkansas and Tennessee. We have a proven track record of successfully securing fair compensation for dog bite victims, aiding their recovery and healing journey. If you need an advocate, reach out to us today and tell us your story.

Get the Guidance and Compensation You Deserve

Whether your dog bite accident was minor or major, our liability attorneys are here for you.

This is our home, and we want to ensure our neighbors and friends are supported. With nine offices in Arkansas and Tennessee – Little Rock, Little Rock-Corporate Hill, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, and Memphis—our dog bite accident lawyers are easily accessible when you need help.

We’re here to help.

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