At Briggs & Wholey, we are dedicated to helping injured victims across the state of Maine. Our experienced staff and Maine dog bite attorneys know how the traumatic experience of an animal attack can stay with someone for the rest of his or her life. Victims of dog bite injuries can suffer from severe emotional trauma on top of moderate to severe physical injuries, and we know that medical bills can quickly mount while wages are lost and savings diminished. If you have suffered injuries from a dog bite in Maine, contact us as soon as possible so that we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.Dog Bites Injure Millions of People Each Year
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs across the United States each year. Nearly 20% of those who are bitten need medical attention for their injuries, and half of that group are children. Many of the injured require complicated medical procedures, with over 27,000 people in 2012 alone obtaining reconstructive surgery for injuries caused by dog bites.
By reviewing several studies, the CDC has pinpointed groups of people who are at greater risk for dog bites than others. Children and adult men both have an increased risk of being bitten. Children were more likely to need medical attention for their injuries, especially those between the ages of 5 and 9. Households with one or more dogs in the home had a higher amount of dog bites than those without dogs in the home.Maine Dog Bite Laws and How They Protect You
Maine law recognizes that you have the right to defend yourself when attacked by an animal. You are allowed to kill an animal that attacks you suddenly, unprovoked. A person may also file a formal complaint that a dog is a dangerous dog when they are assaulted or threatened with imminent bodily harm, witness an attack or threat of attack against a person or pet, or know of an attack or threatened attack against a minor. This complaint must be filed within 30 days of the attack or threat of attack. If a dog is found to be a dangerous dog, then the owner will be fined $250 to $1,000 plus costs, and be subject to additional penalties and restrictions.
Maine has two different dog bite liability standards, one based on the theory of negligence and one on strict liability. This law primarily affects two groups of people, owners and keepers. Owners are defined as the person “owning, keeping, or harboring a dog or other animal.” A keeper is the person in possession or control of a dog or other kind of animal. Examples of keepers are people like relatives or neighbors who are dog-sitting, or companies or veterinarians who board animals. Dog owners are expected to keep their dogs under control through the use of leashes and proper training. Under the negligence statute, if someone is injured because an owner or keeper failed to exercise reasonable care in discharging one of their dog ownership or keeper duties, then they may be found liable for the resulting injuries. However, if the injured party caused the event that led to the injuries, then they may not be able to recover damages.
Under the strict liability statute, when a person is injured by a dog that is off the owner’s or keeper’s property, the owner or keeper is responsible for the injured’s damages. No proof of negligence needs to be shown, just that the act happened. The only exception is if the person bitten was at greater fault than the owner or keeper.
Dog bite litigation can feel extremely personal because the attacking dog often belongs to a neighbor or friend. However, many homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bites, so the litigation and negotiation is often done primarily with insurance companies and their attorneys. Insurance companies work to minimize the victim’s settlement, so it is important to be represented by knowledgeable legal counsel who will fight for the fair settlement you deserve.Experienced Representation in Your Dog Bite Case
If you or a family member has been attacked by a dog, our skilled Maine personal injury lawyers are here to help you obtain the compensation you need for your medical bills. For nearly 30 years of combined experience, we have successfully litigated and negotiated several personal injury cases for families across the state of Maine, and are here to tirelessly work for you. We appreciate your unique set of circumstances, and we are here to listen to all of your concerns and needs. At Briggs & Wholey, we believe in providing the representation you are entitled to by working to maximize the compensation you receive. For a free, confidential consultation, call us at (888) 596-1099 today or contact us online.