Although many dogs make great companions, they can also cause serious harm. If not properly trained and socialized, dogs may be prone to attacking other animals and people if they feel threatened. These attacks can result in devastating injuries that cause significant physical, financial, and emotional harm.
If you were hurt by someone else’s pet, a Wilmington dog bite lawyer at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya can help you seek fair civil restitution for the damages you sustained. State law is generally friendly to plaintiffs seeking compensation in this type of case. However, it is recommended that you seek help from a seasoned attorney before pursuing a claim for the best chances of a positive outcome.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Wilmington
Most of the time, a Delaware resident who files a civil claim seeking compensation for a personal injury does so based on a theory of legal negligence. In other words, they make an allegation that someone else’s reckless or careless actions were the direct cause of their injuries, and that those injuries would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s negligence.
However, claims based on dog bite injuries work differently and are based on a theory of strict liability. Under Delaware Code Title 16 §3053F, dog owners are considered “strictly liable” for any physical harm their dog inflicts on another person or animal without provocation. Rather than having to prove negligence as they would after a car wreck or a slip and fall, dog bite victims can often pursue financial restitution just by showing that the defendant was the legal owner of the dog that bit them, or was responsible for controlling the dog at the time of the encounter. The dog owner does not need to have done anything “wrong” for there to be a recovery.
Liability for a Provoked Dog Attack
“Without provocation” is an important qualifier in a dog attack claim. More specifically, if a dog bite occurred because the injured party was taunting or provoking the animal in question, or if a dog bites someone who was trespassing on its owner’s property, the person who was bitten may not have grounds for a lawsuit. A Wilmington dog bite attorney can offer more clarification about how state law may govern a particular set of circumstances leading up to a canine attack.
Recoverable Damages and Filing Deadlines for Dog Attacks
Outside of the “strict liability” rules noted above, dog bite claims more or less follow the same rules as other personal injury cases. Successful plaintiffs may demand restitution for both economic and non-economic forms of harm, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost work income
- Personal property damage
- Physical pain
- Psychological trauma
The statute of limitations established under DE Code Tit. 10 §8119 also applies to dog bite claims. This section of state law allows an injured victim only two years after the canine attack to file suit against the responsible party. As such, it is crucial to contact a dog bite lawyer at our Wilmington office as soon as possible after the incident.
Speak with a Wilmington Dog Bite Attorney Today
Whether they knew their dog was aggressive or not, dog owners in Delaware are generally liable for any harm their pet causes to another person. However, there are some exceptions to this strict liability in certain situations. Recovering comprehensively for all available damages can be challenging for those without a legal background.
The legal team at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya can offer the guidance and experience you need to secure a positive case result. To schedule a consultation with a Wilmington dog bite lawyer, give us a call today.