Louisiana has a law holding owners responsible for injuries caused by their dog, but it requires showing they knew the animal could do harm. This dog bite statute seems to allow a dog one “free” bite before holding the owners responsible for the animal’s bad behavior. However, this does not necessarily mean you cannot recover compensation for an attack.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a dog attack, you may have questions about dog bite liability in Louisiana. A lawyer from our personal injury law firm will be glad to discuss your case with you for free. For starters, though, here is a general overview to help you understand the law.
Understanding How Louisiana Law Affects Your Dog Bite Case
Several states recognize what is known as a “one-bite rule.” This effectively allows a dog to get one “free” bite because a victim may only recover compensation if they can show:
- The dog had a history of aggressive behavior.
- The owner was aware of the history.
- The owner did not take the proper steps to prevent another incident.
While Louisiana is not considered a “one-bite rule” state, the primary dog bite law, La. Civ. Code Art. 2321, is similar. While it says the dog’s owner is strictly liable for their animal’s bad behavior, injuries, and property damages, it also states:
“The owner of an animal… 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.”
This means the victim will likely need to present evidence to show the owner was aware of their dog’s potential for bad behavior and failed to take reasonable actions to protect the victim. This could be as simple as showing the dog was not contained in a fenced-in area or leashed, but every case is different.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
What Is a “Dangerous Dog” in Louisiana?
Louisiana defines “dangerous dogs” in La. R.S. § 14:102.14. Under this statute, there are clear definitions of what makes a dog dangerous and how to know if a dog may have a history of aggressive behavior. There are also strict regulations on the ownership, containment, and handling of these dogs.
If the dog in question in your case falls under the definition of a “dangerous dog,” and the owner was not following required regulations, they could face criminal charges in addition to your civil case against them.
What Should I Do If an Aggressive Dog Injured Me?
If a dog attacked you and you suffered injuries, you should make treatment and recovery of your wounds your priority. Unfortunately, young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to animal bites. Regardless of age, dog attacks can cause:
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Tearing and other soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- An increased risk of serious infection
- Psychological damage
Once your injuries—or your child or other loved one’s injuries—are stable, you should consider your legal options. You should not have to pay for your medical care and other expenses and losses. The dog’s owner who failed to control their animal and prevent the attack may be legally responsible.
Most personal injury lawyers, including our team at the Morris Bart law firm, provide free case assessments for families like yours. If a dog injured you or your loved one, you can discuss what happened and the facts of the case with an attorney who will help you understand relevant Louisiana laws and how you may be able to get compensation.
You may recover money damages for injuries, expenses, and losses incurred. With help from an attorney and strong evidence to support your claim, your compensation could include:
- Current and future medical evaluation and treatment for your injuries
- Plastic surgery and other follow-up care
- Missed income and diminished earning ability
- Psychological counseling as needed
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492, Louisiana has one of the shortest personal injury statutes of limitations in the United States. Most people only have one year to file a lawsuit after an injury. You may have longer if the victim was a child, but other exceptions could give you even less time. It is essential to act quickly after your injuries stabilize.
Speak to an Attorney at Morris Bart, LLC Today for Free
The Morris Bart law firm provides free initial case reviews for dog bite victims in the areas we serve. We have eight locations in Louisiana. We do not charge upfront and handle all cases based on contingency fees.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to learn more.
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