Personal Injury Lawyer
Buffalo & Western New York
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Dog Bites

We'll hold dog owners accountable and bring you justice

Being bitten by a dog can be an intensely traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. Even a small dog is capable of inflicting severe injuries that cause permanent damage or scarring. A bite from a large animal may require amputation or other surgery on the hands, arms, or legs. Many victims of dog bites undergo reconstructive surgery or skin grafts, and complications due to infection are also likely.

If you've suffered a serious injury such as a broken bone, laceration, puncture wound, facial disfigurement or emotional trauma due to a dog bite, you don't have to deal with the consequences alone. At the Law Offices of James Morris, we have extensive experience helping dog bite victims recover the compensation they need to move on.

Legal cases involving dog bites can be complex and difficult to litigate. An insurance company might try to argue that the owner had no way of knowing that the dog was aggressive at the time of the accident. They may even claim that you provoked the attack or were otherwise responsible. Our attorneys won't accept those answers. We'll stand up to the insurance companies on your behalf with the hard-hitting, fast-paced approach that wins cases in New York.

You shouldn't have to suffer, or watch a loved one suffer, because of a dog attack. In many cases, taking legal action can pay for plastic surgery and other treatment to significantly reduce the long-term trauma of a dog bite. Contact us at (800) 477-9044 to schedule your free case evaluation.

Preventing Dog Attacks

Taking a few appropriate precautions can help to prevent a dog bite. For instance:

  • Do not leave a child or a baby unsupervised in the presence of a dog.
  • Do not yell or scream at a dog if it confronts you.
  • Do not move suddenly or erratically if you are confronted by a strange dog.
  • Do not surprise a dog, even one you know and that knows you.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is eating or drinking.
  • Do not approach two dogs that are playing together, especially if they are doing so aggressively.
  • Do not attempt to pet a dog that approaches you; if it does not appear hostile or aggressive, allow it to sniff the back of your hand so that it can familiarize itself with you.

Many dog bite injuries occur when a responsible party neglects to take these precautions. For instance, if a childcare provider leaves your child unsupervised near a dog, you may have a liability claim against the care provider in addition to the owner of the dog.

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What to Do if Bitten

Any accident or injury is frightening, but being attacked by an animal is a disturbing experience unlike any other. It is important to remain calm and take the right steps to protect yourself. This will also support any future legal claim.

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

  • Get prompt, appropriate medical attention.
  • Retain copies of all medical records and other information.
  • Notify the police and/or animal control officer of the attack.
  • If you are able to determine where the dog lives, and who owns it, provide this information to the authorities.
  • If possible, take photos of the site of the attack and of the dog - but do not attempt to do so if it puts you at risk of being attacked again.
  • Contact our law firm for a consultation with an attorney experienced in dog bite cases.

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Compensation in Dog Bite Cases

The compensation involved in a dog bite injury can be complex. Many attacks leave permanent, visible scars. The healing and recovery process can take weeks or months. There may be injuries requiring surgery that involve prescription medication. A victim may be unable to work or unable to sleep due to emotional distress.

Common types of compensation include:

  • Costs of medical treatment, including medications;
  • Costs of physical rehabilitation;
  • Pain and suffering endured as a result of the dog bite injury;
  • Lost income, and possibly loss of future income.

It's quite common for insurance companies to ignore or downplay some types of compensation and offer a settlement that's worth far less than the cost of the accident. That's why you need a veteran personal injury attorney from our firm to review your case and fight for every cent you're owed.

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Dog Bites and Insurance Companies

For dog owners who are also homeowners, the personal liability riders on their homeowners' insurance policies will usually have some contingency for dog bite attacks. If you are contacted by the dog owner's insurance company, it is important for you to recognize that even if someone from the insurance company acts helpful and supportive, that person does not work for you.

Many times, an insurance company will make a quick offer to a dog-bite victim, hoping it will be accepted before the situation has been thoroughly examined. We urge you not to sign anything, agree to any settlement, or make any formal statement until you have spoken with an attorney from our firm. There may be more damages (financial compensation) to consider than what the insurance company is telling you.

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Children and Dog Bites

Children 5 to 9 years old are significantly more likely than adults to be bitten by dogs. They are also more likely to need medical attention after a bite. Because children are naturally curious and often behave recklessly, they may unintentionally provoke a bite. Hostile reactions can be provoked in a variety of ways: an unexpected movement by the child, accidentally stepping on the tail, striking the dog with an object or making a sudden, loud noise.

Because of the uneven edges of a bite wound, improper healing is a common issue when children are bitten, as are orthopedic injuries involving damage to tendons in the hands or feet. Besides those physical injuries, children can suffer serious emotional trauma that can significantly impact their quality of life.

If your child was bitten by a dog, he or she may be left to deal with the effects for a lifetime. Contact our law firm to see if you can pursue legal action against the dog owner or a negligent caretaker. We'll do everything in our power to make things right.

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Other Animal Attacks

Dog bites may be the most common type of animal attack, but they're far from the only ones. Many pet owners do not fully appreciate the danger and risk associated with owning wild animals, such as snakes, birds or even exotic reptiles. A small bite to the hand could sever a tendon in such a way as to make basic functions like holding a fork or tying one's shoe difficult.

If you have been injured by contact with an animal whose owner was negligent in containing or controlling it, you may be entitled to compensation if you act promptly. Our law firm can investigate your accident and help you build a case.

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