Dog Bite & Dog Attack Attorneys
The personal injury lawyers at Briggs & Wholey are dedicated to helping those injured in dog attacks across the state of Maine. Our experienced staff and dog bite attorneys know that the traumatic experience of being attacked by a dog can stay with someone for the rest of his or her life. Victims of dog bite injuries can suffer severe emotional trauma on top of their physical injuries. Injuries caused by a dog bite can be disfiguring, requiring reconstructive surgery and other treatments to reduce the appearance of scars.
There are two liability standards in Maine for dog bites – one for injuries that occur on the dog owner’s property, and one for attacks that happen off the owner’s property. For purposes of the law, “keepers” of a dog have the same responsibilities as owners. A keeper of a dog is any person in possession or control of the animal. Keepers can include people like friends or relatives who are watching the animal, veterinarians, or companies who board animals.
Owners and keepers of dogs are expected to keep their dogs under control by whatever means necessary, including the use of leashes and proper training. Under the negligence rule, if a dog injures a person on the property of the dog’s owner or keeper, the owner or keeper is responsible for those injuries if they were caused by his or her negligence. However, if the injured person caused the event that led to the injuries, such as by provoking the attack, then they may be unable to recover damages.
On the other hand, a strict liability standard applies to attacks that occur off of the owner or keeper’s property. The injured person only needs to show that the attack occurred, and that he or she was not at greater fault for the attack than the owner or keeper. No proof of negligence on the part of the owner is required.
Dog bite litigation can feel extremely personal because the attacking dog often belongs to a neighbor or friend. However, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog attacks, so litigation and negotiation of dog bite claims is often done through the insurance company and their lawyers.
Even when liability for a dog attack is clear, insurance companies will work to minimize the victim’s settlement. For this reason, it is important to be represented by knowledgeable legal counsel who will fight for the fair dog bite settlement you deserve.