NORTH LOUISIANA DOG BITE LAWYER
Personal Injury Attorney for Dog Bite Accidents in Bossier City, Shreveport, and Surrounding Areas
Dog bites can be traumatic, especially since they’re considered “man’s best friend.” Following an attack, a dog bite victim may require medical treatments and even miss work due to their recovery. Not only can this attack injure a person physically, but it can also result in psychological and emotional damage.
If a dog recently injured you in a public place or private residence, the Law Office of Michael J. Vergis can help. Attorney Michael J. Vergis has helped clients throughout Northwest Louisiana recover fair compensation for their injuries and is ready to represent you. To discuss your dog bite case with a top Shreveport personal injury attorney at our law firm, contact the Law Office of Michael J. Vergis by calling (318) 698-3724 today.
Dog Bite Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur yearly in the United States, with over 800,000 requiring treatment. Unfortunately, the majority of dog bite cases involve children and often result in serious injuries.
Louisiana Dog Bite Laws
In Louisiana, there are two laws that deal with dog bites. One Louisiana law defines what is considered a dangerous dog, and the other describes who is responsible in the event of an animal bite.
Louisiana Dangerous Dog Law
Louisiana RS 14:102.14 considers the following as a dangerous dog:
- One that has bitten and injured someone without provoking.
- Hurt or killed a domestic animal twice in three years while not present at the dog owner’s property or home.
- Required a person to defend themselves against bodily harm on at least two occasions within three years while not on the dog owner’s property.
Under this law, the only dogs exempt from the above are those trained to aid in search and rescue missions and employed by local or state law enforcement.
Louisiana Dog Bite Liability Law
The other Louisiana dog bite law can be found under Louisiana Civil Code 2321. This law outlines who is responsible for a dog bite attack. According to this law, the animal’s owner is liable for damages caused by the animal. However, he or she is only responsible for damages if they knew or should have known that their animal would cause damage and that damage could have been avoided by exercising reasonable care, which the owner failed to exercise.
The dog owner is strictly liable for damages relating to injuries to a person or property caused by the dog that the owner could have prevented and was not the result of being provoked by the injured person. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.
Res Ipsa Loquitor Meaning
Louisiana CC 2321 concludes with, “Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.” The phrase res ipsa loquitor translates to “the thing speaks for itself,” which means that the dog bite that occurred is all the evidence necessary to hold the dog’s owner strictly liable.
Why Might Dogs Bite?
There are several reasons that dogs might bite someone, but they will usually bite as a reaction to something. The most common reasons a dog may bite are:
- They’re reacting to a stressful situation
- They feel threatened or afraid
- They’re doing so in a playful manner
- They’re sick or not feeling well
- They’re protecting their owner or puppies
Dog Breeds More Likely To Attack
Some dog breeds are more inclined to bite than others, but this does not make them more dangerous. Dogs that bite can often have a history of trauma that can lead them to bite another person. The American Veterinary Medical Association released data in 2000 that had been collected over 30 years, listing which dog breeds were more violent than others. Below are their findings:
- Pit Bulls
- German Shepards
- Saint Bernards
- Chow Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Wolf-Dog Hybrids
- Great Danes
Just because a dog breed is not listed above does not mean they cannot bite, and just because a dog breed is listed above does not mean they will bite. No matter what type of dog has bitten you, discussing your legal options with an experienced dog bite lawyer is important. Shreveport dog bite attorney Michael J. Vergis can offer guidance on pursuing a dog bite claim and will work with you to recover fair compensation.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
In many cases, dog bite victims may sustain relatively minor injuries, but the injuries can be much more catastrophic in more serious cases with larger, more aggressive dogs.
The most common dog bite injuries are:
- Punctured or broken skin
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Tissue damage
- Face injuries
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Brain injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Potential Complications Following a Dog Bite
While dog bites are both painful and traumatizing, they can have lasting effects on victims if left untreated. Since dogs carry bacteria in their mouths, dog bites can become infected, causing serious complications.
If you experience the symptoms below, your dog bite might be infected. It’s critical to seek medical treatment immediately.
- Loss of feeling around the wound
- New swelling, oozing, or redness around the wound
- Fever and swollen lymph nodes
- Night sweats
- Red streaks around the wound
In addition to becoming infected, dog bites can also carry these two life-threatening complications:
- Tetanus: This illness is caused by bacteria found in dust, soil, or manure and enters the body through open wounds. Often referred to as lockjaw, this illness can also lead to difficulty breathing and eating. Following a dog bite injury, victims typically receive a tetanus shot to prevent this illness from developing.
- Rabies: This illness is extremely rare but is a complication following a serious dog bite. If untreated, rabies can be fatal.
What To Do If You Suffer Dog Bites
If you’ve suffered a dog bite, following the steps below is important to ensure your safety and to protect your potential personal injury claim.
- Call 911: Reporting the animal attack can ensure the appropriate first responders arrive to treat your injuries and document the attack. It also provides your dog bite lawyers with official documentation of the incident for your case.
- Collect information: If possible, get the name and information of the dog owner.
- Gather evidence: Take photos and videos of the scene, the animal, and your injuries.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t think your dog bite injury is serious, seeking treatment to avoid infections is still important. This medical documentation can also help strengthen your dog bite claim by providing proof of the incident and the medical treatment required.
- Call Michael J. Vergis: Calling an experienced personal injury attorney like Michael J. Vergis can help you receive compensation for your injuries.
Who is Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
Dog owners may be liable for damages caused by their dog if:
- They knew their dog had a history of aggressive behavior, also referred to as the “one-bite” rule.
- The dog bite could have been prevented had they adhered to the laws and were a responsible owner.
- They failed to follow the Louisiana laws and did not take adequate measures to prevent the animal attack.
- The animal was not provoked in any way by the injured party.
The dog’s owner may not be held liable for damages if the dog bite happened while the individual was trespassing on the owner’s property or the injured party provoked the animal. If these circumstances cannot be proven in court, the liability for the animal bites will fall back on the owner.
How a Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Dog bite claims typically fall under premises liability law, which is a legal concept that holds property owners liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. If injured by an animal attack, dog bite lawyers can help you obtain compensation by filing a premises liability lawsuit.
An experienced Shreveport/Bossier dog bite lawyer like Michael J. Vergis will work to recover the following damages for clients injured in animal attacks:
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Lost wages if the injuries prevented you from working
- Loss of earning potential if the injuries prevented you from returning to work at your previous capacity
- Rehabilitation costs
- Counseling expenses
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Dog Bite Injury? Call The Law Office of Michael J. Vergis Today
If you or someone you love was injured in a dog attack, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Bossier City/Shreveport dog bite lawyer Michael J. Vergis understands that an animal attack can be traumatic, both physically and mentally/emotionally. Dog owners should protect others against potentially dangerous animals, and when they fail to do so, they should be held accountable for any damages caused.
For over 25 years, Attorney Michael J. Vergis has represented clients throughout the Shreveport-Bossier City area in personal injury cases, including those involving premises liability and dog bite injury claims. To schedule a free consultation with Michael J. Vergis, call (318) 698-3724 or reach out online