My son was recently playing at his friend’s house in Baton Rouge when their family’s dog attacked him. My son needed stitches and now he has nightmares almost every night and he’s having trouble in school. The family is refusing to help us, and we’re concerned this dog may attack another child soon. Is this something a personal injury lawyer can help us with?

Your son has suffered a traumatic injury.

After an animal bite injury, you should take these steps:

  1. The first thing you would want to do would be to get the proper medical care.
  2. Then you would want to file a dog attack report with the local Animal Control & Rescue Center, the police department or the Sheriff’s Office.
  3. Then you would want to consult with a lawyer to see if you could bring a claim/lawsuit to help you pay for your son’s medical bills, pain & suffering, and mental anguish.

To bring a proper claim against the animal owner, you need a lawyer that understands the intricacies of animal injury law.

Not all injuries give you the right to bring a claim against someone.

So the first thing a lawyer would do is verify that you have the right to bring a claim against the dog owner.

In Louisiana, there is a law that would allow you to bring a claim/lawsuit against the dog owner, regardless, if the dog owner was cooperating or not. Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2321 provides that

“The owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal. However, he is answerable for the damage only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his animal’s behavior would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nonetheless, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person’s provocation of the dog…”

The language used in that code article maybe confusing or not make sense. A lawyer would be able to break it down for you, and answer any questions.

In essence Art. 2321 provides that since your son was injured by dog, a lawyer would be able to bring a claim or lawsuit against the person who owned the dog, and their home owner’s insurance.

A lawyer would ensure that your son’s medical bills, pain & suffering, and mental anguish would not go unnoticed or uncompensated.

A lawyer would be your advocate in dealing with the insurance company, and forcing them to deal with you fairly.

A lawyer would be responsible for gathering evidence to prove your claim under Art. 2321 including current medical bills, future medical costs, eyewitness testimony, and the lawyer would also search records to see if the dog(s) attacked before.

This would be a strict liability claim meaning that a lawyer would not have to prove that the owner of the dog intended to harm your child. If necessary a lawyer would then file a lawsuit on your son’s behalf against the dog owner. Once in court the lawyer would present evidence to a Judge and Jury, and help you get a resolution in your favor.

At the end of the day a lawyer’s job primarily is to enforce your rights.

As mentioned you and your son have a right to make a claim. In order to do so a lawyer has to be a chameleon. A lawyer would assume the roles of a teacher, consular, negotiator, advocate, and enforcer in order to help you get the justice that you and your son deserves.

November 16, 2015 | Categories: Legal Tips, Personal Injury |