Most of the time, dogs are the perfect animal companion. They are loyal and strive always to please their owners. Unfortunately, part of this loyalty means that dogs may be aggressive if they encounter a stranger or feel threatened. When this happens, dog bites and attacks can occur.
A dog bite is often a serious injury that can lead to long-term complications. Victims may suffer nerve damage that limits function in their hands and arms, visible scarring of the face, and risk of infection. In some cases, dog bites can also be fatal.
If you have been injured by a dog, you have a right to compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Please call Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C. for a free case review at (402) 241-5020 today. Our dog bite lawyers serve clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and nearby communities of Nebraska and Iowa.
Your Right to Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
The compensation available in a dog bite case is similar to other personal injury claims. The type of compensation and the amount you may stand to gain if you pursue a claim against the dog’s owner will depend on the specific losses you have suffered.
You may be entitled to the following compensation for your dog bite injuries:
- Medical treatment costs, including emergency care, trauma surgery, psychiatric sessions, and plastic surgery
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earnings, if the dog bite adversely impacts your ability to work
- Out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications
- Pain and suffering
Although fatalities are uncommon as a result of a dog bite or dog attack, they do happen. Children are at the highest risk of serious injury and death in these circumstances.
If the worst-case scenario happens and your loved one is killed by an aggressive dog, our lawyers can pursue a wrongful death claim on your family’s behalf. Compensation in your case may be available for damages such as:
- Funeral costs
- Burial or cremation expenses
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Medical bills for treatment prior to the passing of your loved one
- Loss of income and financial support
- The pain and suffering your family member endured
In dog bite injury and wrongful death lawsuits, you are pursuing action against the animal’s owner. Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically include coverage for harm caused by an owner’s dog, so these parties will likely be involved in the case.
Your Right to Sue for Dog Bites
Nebraska law specifies the rights of injury victims to compensation after a dog bite or other injury caused by a dog. The law also states the conditions that must be met for your claim to be viable.
Statutes of Limitations in Dog Bite Cases
In Nebraska, you have 4 years from the date of the attack to file a dog bite injury lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within 2 years.
These are the same statutes of limitations that apply to other personal injury and wrongful death claims in Nebraska.
Rules and Exceptions in the Dog Bite Law
Some states only allow victims to sue for injuries resulting solely from dog bites. Nebraska, however, allows for lawsuits involving any kind of animal attack, such as injuries sustained if you are chased by a dog or a dog knocks you to the ground.
Nebraska imposes strict liability on owners for attacks by their dogs. This means that dogs don’t have to have a history of aggression (what is known as the “one-bite rule” in other states) before an injured victim can file a claim.
One exception to the Nebraska dog bite law protects owners if the injury occurs when the dog is behaving playfully or mischievously. This provision continues to puzzle lawyers and the courts, as it is impossible to inquire into a dog’s “state of mind” at the time that it bites somebody.
Another legal protection dog owners have in the event of an attack is if the victim was trespassing. Trespassers do not have the right to pursue compensation if they are injured by a dog while on a property unlawfully.
Claims that the dog was merely playing or that the victim was trespassing at the time of the attack are common defenses in dog bite cases. The dog’s owner and his/her insurance company will almost certainly adopt one of these positions in response to your claim. It is important to choose a lawyer who anticipates these arguments and develops a strategy to prove the dog’s aggressiveness and/or that you were not trespassing.
Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Despite your rights under the dog bite statute in Nebraska, you are not guaranteed compensation for your injuries. If the insurance company offers to settle your claim, it will almost certainly not be enough to cover your losses. Adjusters and lawyers for the insurer will take every opportunity to try to undermine your claim and deny you fair compensation.
That is why it is so important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after you have been injured by a dog. If you hire our firm, the attorneys at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf, & Lathrop, P.C. will immediately investigate your case and collect evidence to start building an effective claim on your behalf.
Please call (402) 241-5020 today for a free consultation. Our law firm serves clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and other communities in Nebraska and Iowa.