Have you or a loved one been injured from a dog bite in Mississippi? Check out this article offering 4 dog bite tips, then call us today.
1. Qualifying a Dog Bite Injury
On the subject of dog bite and dog attack cases, we’ve handled a number of them at our firm. A question that often comes up is, “How do I know if I have a qualified dog bite claim, particularly here in Mississippi?” The quick answer to that is, if you were attacked by someone else’s dog, what we want to look for are the things showing that that owner had some knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensity. That’s kind of the gold standard here in Mississippi in these types of cases.
A lot of times people mistakenly call that the “one-bite rule”, meaning that if the dog hasn’t ever bitten anyone before or attacked anyone before you can’t prove liability on that owner. It’s as if to say the dog basically gets one “free bite” without getting them in trouble or getting the owner in trouble, and that’s just not true. That’s not the law here in Mississippi, and that’s now how it works. The reality is, most of the time where there is liability for a dog bite or dog attack, there are any number of warning signs, any number of indications and past events with the dog that actually did give that owner a warning about the dog’s aggressive nature, about their dangerous propensities that end up leading to a finding of liability on that dog owner.
The only way really to sort that out is digging into the details of the case, the history of the dog, and the history of the dog owner and then looking at how all that comes together and interplays with the victim. Oftentimes, the nature of these cases is such that neighbors or family members are the victims. It’s people who know the dog owner or know their dog. It’s not always a stranger. More often than not, the victim is someone who has had some prior interaction or relationship with the dog or dog owner, and all of that comes into play. What type of dog is it? What’s the history of that particular dog? What is the history of that particular dog owner? What’s the history of the dog and the dog owner with the victim?
The only way that you’re really going to get to the bottom of all that and really get a good read on the case is by having someone involved in your representation that has actually worked one of these cases before. You need to understand the nuance of the law in Mississippi, if it’s a Mississippi case; if it’s in another state, you need someone who has worked through those types of cases but also digs into and understands the rules in that particular location because they do vary. The laws on dog attacks, dog bites, and owner liability has evolved differently across the states, so it’s important to understand what those local rules and local laws are. You just can’t do that without digging into the details of the particular case.
Reach out and contact an attorney that not only litigates personal injury claims, but who has some experience litigating cases involving dog bites and dog attacks because the laws are going to be unique. They can dig into the specific facts of your case to really do a full assessment of the claim. At the Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC, we have had success pursuing dog bite and dog attack cases, particularly in some situations that were really bad attacks involving catastrophic injuries. We’re here and available through our website and through our phone number. If you have questions or just want to inquire about a situation involving a dog attack on you or a loved one, give us a call and we’ll try to answer your questions and get you the help that you need.
2. Choosing The Right Dog Bite Attorney
In our firm, we actually get inquiries about dog bites a lot more frequently than I think people would think, especially during the warmer time of the year, because statistically more dog bites happen during that time. We particularly have been involved in some cases that I would say go beyond a dog bite to a dog attack, where dogs have attacked sometimes grownups but particularly children, which is quite frequent. Actually, young children are the number one victims of dog attacks. The question has been asked of, “How do I choose the right attorney in a dog bite or dog attack case?”
When you’re looking for an attorney in that type of case, it is similar in process to what you want to look for with any type of injury case. First of all, you are bringing a claim for personal injury. A lot of times in dog bite or dog attack cases, the injuries can be very severe, especially when children are involved. The first thing you want to look for is someone who, on a general level, handles personal injury cases regularly, who has experience handling personal injury cases. I can tell you from experience, dog bite and dog attack cases are typically litigated more often than other injury cases just because the insurance carriers, the defendants who own the dog, oftentimes are more apt to dig in and defend the case. Part of that is financial because there are typically significant damages at stake. The other part of it is because they as dog owners are sometimes indignant and emotionally tied to their dog – “It wasn’t the dog’s fault, it was your fault,” – and the insurance carriers see that as an opportunity as well to dig in and defend the case and fight the case to try to reduce the amount of damages that they have to pay.
In my experience, dog bite cases get litigated more often than other types of cases, so it is important when choosing at attorney that you’re choosing an attorney who regularly litigates personal injury cases on a general level and personally pursues personal injury claims on a daily basis, because they’re going to know the ins and outs of proving liability, proving damages, and getting you maximum value for your case. More specifically, dog bite cases are nuanced cases. What I mean by that is you don’t prove up a dog bite case the same way that you prove up a car wreck case or a medical malpractice case or others. The way that you prove up the case is by bringing in the right type of experts as well as the right type of evidence that you’re going to be looking for in support of the claim.
I think something that people should look for and is really helpful are attorneys who have actually had dog bite cases— attorneys who have actually worked up and litigated dog attack cases, and who have had success doing that. At the Brad Morris Law Firm, we have handled a number of these cases and we’ve had some really great success with them, sometimes dealing with some very horrific and difficult situations. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog attack, we’re here to help and answer your questions. You can reach out to us by phone or through our website, and we’ll try to get you on the right path, get you the answers you need, and get you the help you need.
3. Insurance For a Dog Bite Injury
When it comes to dog bite and dog attack injuries, a question that often comes up is, “Will insurance even cover this? The fact that somebody owned a dog and their dog attacked me, is there even insurance out there to cover my injuries or cover the harm that was done?” The answer to that here in Mississippi and pretty much in most states, is, yes, probably so. Most dog bite and dog attack claims are brought under coverage of that dog owner’s home liability policy. They have homeowner’s insurance or, in some cases, if they’re not a homeowner, renter’s insurance that includes some liability coverage. Typically, those policies are going to cover any claims arising from injuries on that property and, by extension, animals or dogs that are on that property that are part of the owner’s property.
These cases, because of that, in the insurance aspects, among other things, really are kind of unique cases. If you’re involved in a dog bite or a dog attack case, sorting through the insurance coverage and getting the coverage on the case is just one of many aspects on which you really need an attorney involved who has worked on these types of cases before. You not only have unique challenges with the damages that arise in these cases and in proving liability on the owner of the dog, but also with the insurance coverage.
The only way to ultimately answer that question and get to the bottom of what insurance coverage is available is digging into the facts and details of the case. You have to get into what type of policy that dog owner has, what exclusions or restrictions are involved, and the particular facts of the case. A lot of times certain homeowner’s policies or property liability policies actually address certain types of dogs or breeds of dogs that the property owner has. Sometimes they even charge the property owner a higher premium because they own certain types of dogs, because the insurance companies know that there’s a higher risk of some form or dog bite or dog attack happening, so they actually charge more under the policy. In other instances, there may be specific exclusions from the policy, where it’s not covered or where they pay for additional coverage so that it is covered. That’s why you’ve really got to have an attorney involved to sift through all these different issues in a dog bite or dog attack case.
The short answer to the question is, yes, most of the time there is insurance coverage available to cover a dog bite or a dog attack; you just need an attorney who knows where to go look and find it. At the Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC, we have had significant experience and some good success helping clients who were victims of dog bites or dog attacks get justice and compensation for their injuries. If you or a family member have been the victim of such an attack, we’re here and available. Contact us today through our website or by calling the law firm, so that we can get you on the right path, get your questions answered and get you compensation for your injury.
4. Dog Bite Injury Liability
When it comes to dog bite and dog attack cases, a question people sometimes ask is, “Could someone other than the dog owner be responsible for the injuries in the case?” Like a lot of legal questions, it always depends on particular facts and circumstances. Yes, in some instances, someone other than the dog owner could be responsible for the injuries. Let me give you an example.
Frequently, dog bites and severe dog attacks are against young people and small children. A classic scenario where someone other than the dog owner might be held responsible for the injury to that child would be when that child is in the care of someone else. The parents have placed that child in the care of a daycare or school, or some other person or entity, who has been placed in the role of looking after that child and caring for them during a particular period of time, and the dog bite or dog attack essentially happens under that person’s watch. In that situation, yes, there may be some responsibility still on the part of that dog owner, but, if the person responsible for looking after that child or responsible for the care of that child is involved in the situation, and that’s a person who’s different than the dog owner, then there could be potential liability on them for some or all of that fault, depending on the particular circumstances.
For instance, if they did not watch the child and let the child wander over into the yard, where a vicious dog was, or if they let the child willingly go up and pet a strange dog that then turned on them, they could bear some responsibility for those injuries. That actually comes up quite often.
There are other scenarios, not necessarily involving a child, but perhaps a person working, who has to go on the property or who has to go into situations where there’s a dangerous dog who turns on them and attacks them. That potentially turns into an on-the-job injury and implicates workers’ compensation or implicates some other form of liability on that employer for the injury that would be separate from the dog owner.
Yes, there are multiple potential scenarios and situations where, in a dog bite injury or a dog attack case, someone other than the dog owner ends up bearing some or all of the responsibility for the victim’s injuries. Again, all of these potential scenarios are just case-specific, fact-specific and local law specific. You have to have legal representation involved working on your claim in that situation who understands litigating personal injury cases, but, more specifically, litigating dog bite and dog attack cases and who understands the local law and how it applies to those circumstances. You need someone with experience in those cases who can get all the facts together and really work up the case that it needs to be.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog attack, we have had some success pursuing those types of cases here at the Brad Morris Law Firm. Over time, they’ve ranged from relatively minor or not severe injuries to some very severe injuries with lifelong implications for our clients. We’ve been able to get them fair compensation, when the circumstances justified that, and we’re here to answer your questions and get you pointed in the right direction if you need help. Reach out to us through our website or give us a call, and we will do our best to get you the help you need.
Were you or a loved one injured from a dog bite in Mississippi and have questions about our 4 dog bite tips? Contact the experienced Mississippi dog bite injury attorney, Brad Morris, today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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