Many people in the Charles Town area love animals, particularly dogs. Dog owners typically take their pets out and about. Most of them are responsible people who do their best to keep their pets from harming anyone. Unfortunately, not all succeed, as you well know, because a dog recently attacked you or a loved one.
The losses associated with a dog attack can be significant. Aside from the physical and emotional scars such an event can leave behind, the financial damages can be too much for some people to shoulder alone. Thankfully, you may not have to. According to state laws, you may hold the dog owner accountable for your losses.
The information you need
Hopefully, right after the dog attack, you were able to get some information from the animal's owner. In order to seek relief, you'll need to know:
- Owner/keeper name
- Owner/keeper address
- Animal breed
- Date of the incident
This information is not just important if you wish to pursue legal action against the dog owner. Animal services will also need it to conduct a full investigation into the matter.
Liability and the statute of limitations
In order to hold the animal's owner accountable for your losses, certain elements will need to exist in your case. Typically, victims need to prove:
- The animal caused harm
- The owner/keeper knew the dog was dangerous
- The owner/keeper failed to exercise reasonable care
- The victim suffered losses
If you wish to file legal claims against the responsible party, you have up to two years following the incident to bring a civil suit. This may seem like a long time, but with all you have to prepare for, the time can pass quickly. Therefore, it is in your best interests not to wait too long if seeking relief through legal means is something you are interested in doing.
If you can successfully negotiate or litigate your case, various damages may be recoverable according to state laws. Such damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
How much you may receive when all is said and done depends on the details of your case. If you choose to seek relief, just know that you can do what is necessary to seek maximum compensation for your losses with the right assistance.