Dogs are the preferred companion and pet for many individuals and families in Arkansas communities. While most dogs that are properly leashed, contained within a property, and taken care of are not a danger to anyone; dogs that are left unsupervised or unleashed in public are capable of causing injuries to innocent victims. Dog bites can result in serious injuries, complications, and high costs for victims and their families.
Seeking Compensation for Dog Attack Injuries in Arkansas
As a victim of a dog’s aggressive behavior in Arkansas, you may be eligible to seek compensation from a dog owner if their negligence led to your injuries. Arkansas does not have an overall strict liability law that relates to dog bites. For a victim to seek compensation from an owner for the injuries that arise because of a dog’s behavior, in most cases they must prove the owner’s actions amounted to negligence.
There are some municipalities or cities within Arkansas that may have more stringent rules and policies pertaining to dog bites and may impose liability on an owner to pay for a victim’s damages. Additionally, some locations may follow what is known as the one-bite rule. If an animal has a history of aggression and has bitten before, the owner is liable for damages to victims that their dog causes.
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Arkansas’ Laws Pertaining to Dog Behavior
Interestingly, while Arkansas does not have any laws imposing strict civil liability on a dog owner, there is one criminal statute that can allow a victim to recover medical expenses for a dog bite in certain circumstances. It is a misdemeanor under Arkansas law for an owner’s negligence to lead to a dog that causes harm or fatal injuries to a victim. If a defendant charged with the misdemeanor is ultimately convicted, they are responsible for paying the victim’s medical expenses that arise from the dog bite injury.
Parties Who May Be Responsible for Your Losses Related to a Dog Bite
Awaiting a criminal conviction to receive compensation for your medical losses is not the best option in most cases, as that can take time and a criminal case has a much higher threshold of evidence necessary to prove an owner’s negligence. Rather, it is better to seek out damages with the help of an attorney through a negligence lawsuit or insurance claim for your losses. Through an insurance claim or lawsuit against the dog owner directly, you may be able to seek not only your medical bills but additional damages you have incurred following a dog bite injury.
Recoverable Damages in an Arkansas Dog Bite Case
The losses following a dog bite can be significant. Any dog bite that breaks skin requires immediate medical evaluation and preventative treatments to avoid contracting diseases such as rabies or developing complications such as an infection. In the most severe of dog bite injuries, a victim may need to be hospitalized, undergo surgery, and/or face intensive rehabilitation. The costs of a dog bite injury can quickly escalate and leave a victim with medical bills and other losses that are overwhelming.
Dog bite damages that you may recover in an Arkansas dog bite case include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Impacts that may reduce your quality of life
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Is It Necessary to File a Lawsuit for Compensation After a Dog Bites You?
Many victims assume that to get compensation after a dog bite they must go forward with a lengthy legal battle and lawsuit. While in complex cases it may be necessary to file a suit in court to fight for your compensation, in most cases, dog bite losses are recoverable through an insurance claim. It may come as a surprise that many victims’ dog bites are covered events under homeowner’s policies or renter’s policies.
The Statute of Limitations Applicable to Dog Bite Cases in Arkansas
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time a victim of an injury has to pursue compensation against the individual or party they believe is responsible for their losses. In the case of a dog bite in Arkansas, a victim has three years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit in court for their damages under the personal injury statute of limitations. Once the three-year period passes, a victim can no longer seek compensation under the law.
Preparing a dog bite case, filing a claim with an insurance company if available, and attempting to negotiate a settlement takes time. The sooner you begin the process and get started on the path to seeking compensation, the more time you will have to resolve your case and make certain you remain within the statute of limitations.
When to Contact a Dog Bite Attorney for Help in Your Case
The best time to contact a lawyer for a dog bite is as soon as possible following the incident. While you can seek the help of a dog bite attorney at any point in your case, it is better to have legal advice and guidance from the inception of your case. Do not speak with insurance company representatives or try to settle a case on your own with the dog owner.
A dog bite attorney has experience with these types of accidents and injuries. They understand what it takes to negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the parties responsible. The dog bite lawyer will work with you to try to reach a successful resolution for the recovery of your losses after an unfortunate and preventable dog bite in Arkansas.
Contact an Arkansas Dog Bite Attorney for Help
Our team of lawyers and legal professionals have experience representing clients such as yourself after a dog bite injury in Arkansas. We will represent you and your interests to help you recover and move forward after the injuries you sustain due to a negligent dog owner. Schedule a free consultation with an Arkansas dog bite lawyer to discuss your case.
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