You woke up that day, and it seemed like every other day, a beautiful, sunny morning in the Champlain Valley. You took a look out of your window as you sipped your morning coffee and waited for the rest of your family to wake up. You started to prepare for the day, making breakfast and confirming your plans to take your child to their best friend’s birthday party. You pack up the car, put your child in the back seat and head out for an afternoon of fun.
Once you arrive and park in the driveway, your child rushes out of the car with a present for the best friend in hand. Everything seems to be going well at the party, the kids are playing with the family dog- and everything changes. You hear a bark and then a scream from your child. You run over in terror to discover your child with blood running down their face. Their family dog, that had never shown signs of aggression has bitten your child’s face.
You meet with a doctor who tells you that your daughter should be okay but may have some scarring and nerve damage. You are thankful that overall your child will generally be okay, but they now have permanent scaring and a traumatic memory of being bitten by a dog. In fact, as you are reading this now, your child is likely terrified of being around animals.
You Are Not Alone
If something like that happened to your child, you are not alone.
The most common victim of an animal attack is a child or the elderly. Often, an animal attack will a lasting impact on the victim both physically and psychologically. Many times the animal who attacked did not have a recognizable pattern of aggression – so it seems like the attack was out of the blue. It is hard to believe that your child was injured and that the person responsible is a friend of the family. However, your child needs treatment, and that treatment costs money.
If you or your child were attacked by a dog, consider reaching out to a Burlington dog bite lawyer if you have suffered a dog bite or attack. A seasoned personal injury attorney could provide support as you deal with the medical fallout from the accident. An attorney could also help you mount a personal injury case against the dog owner or party responsible for your injuries since no victim should be stuck paying for their injuries when the fault lies with someone else.
Dog Bite Laws in Burlington
Every state has its own law governing fault and liability in dog bite incidents. In Vermont’s case, it is not statutory but is guided by case law. The operative principle that years of litigation have produced is the “one-bite” rule.
The one-bite rule holds dog owners or custodians accountable for your injury when they knew or had reason to know of the animal’s vicious tendencies, and they failed to take adequate measures to prevent the dog’s actions. This two-part liability test can be challenging to prove without a full investigation of the circumstances.
In a lawsuit, evidence of vicious tendencies could include accounts of the dog’s past behavior, including:
- Previous bites
- Jumping on people
- Unprovoked barking and bearing of teeth in a threatening manner
- Chasing people
- Dog fight training
The idea behind this rule is that if an owner does not have any reason to think their dog will act aggressively towards another, they do not owe a duty to ensure your safety around the dog. Of course, the situation varies from case to case. The nature of the bite, the property where it took place, and other circumstances could create liability.
Another contestable point is whether the dog owner took adequate measures to protect the dog from harming you. This can be a difficult hurdle. An attorney’s assistance may prove valuable in overcoming the one-bite rule.
After a Canine Attack
So, what happens if someone you love has been attacked by a dog? You might, right now, be asking yourself many questions:
- What should I do now?
- How can I get these bills paid?
- Will my child be blamed for the attack?
- What will happen to the dog if I file a case?
All of these valid questions are good questions to ask. We are here to tell you that we can help you resolve some, if not all, of the questions that are spinning around in your head.
If you have a valid claim, we can bring a case for compensation on your behalf. This can help you get compensation for any medical bills or other economic losses as well as for any pain, disfigurement, or trauma that resulted from the injuries.
Speak to a Burlington Dog Bite Attorney About a Case
An attorney could help you negotiate with insurance companies or file a lawsuit on your behalf. Negligent dog owners should not get off scot-free after letting their dogs injure people. This is especially true if the incident was preventable. Speak to a Burlington dog bite lawyer today to discuss your prospects for recovery.