What do you do after a dog attack? It seems like a simple question but the reality of facing the consequences of a dog bite can be overwhelming. We’re here to help. The Albuquerque dog bite lawyers at Roadrunner Law Firm know how to take you through every step of the process. Whether it was you or a loved one who was bit by a dog in Albuquerque or anywhere in New Mexico, we can help.
Getting Legal Help After a Dog Bite in ABQ
A serious dog bite or other animal attack can leave serious injuries and disrupt not just the life of the injured person, but their whole family. How will you handle things like police statements, gathering evidence, working with insurance companies and medical providers, and dealing with making sure the animal never hurts another person ever again? That’s where the dog bite lawyers come in.
Building your own case after a dog bite can be next to impossible. With decades of experience, our team is able to offer you a helping hand every step of the way. We can and will help you gather evidence, find the true value of your damages and the cost of any and all future medical expenses, and negotiate on your behalf with hostile insurance companies and pet owners.
Victims of animal attacks almost always team up with our experienced dog bite lawyers in Albuquerque because they know we will turn the “impossible” into “done.”
How Dog Bite Lawsuits Work in New Mexico
Some states have rules about dog bites. They might say “if the dog never bit anybody before, then you have no case.” Or they might say “certain breeds of dogs are inherently more dangerous.” But New Mexico doesn’t have any of these laws. Instead our state courts have some very basic rules by which ANYBODY who has been attacked by an animal can take their case to court and win. It may not be easy, but it’s always possible.
The key in the courts is to look at the incident through not just the “one bite” rule, but general negligence. Here’s what you need to know:
Dog Bite “One Bite Rule” in New Mexico
In other states, if you want to win a dog bite case you have to show that the dog bit somebody else before. This can be next to impossible because most dog owners would never report their own pet to any authorities. They will instead justify their animal’s behavior with thoughts of “it was just over-excitement,” or “it will never happen again.” Luckily, in New Mexico, we don’t have this ridiculous standard. Instead we have to prove that the owner knew the dog was vicious or they knew of “vicious behavior.”
Of course, a previous bite would prove “vicious behavior” to a judge and jury. However, that’s not the only way to show vicious behavior. Despite this rule being called the “one bite rule,” in New Mexico, the prior vicious behavior doesn’t have to be a bite. It just has to have been aggressive behavior. Here are some key points:
- Aggressive behavior towards another animal doesn’t count!
- The dog owner (or SOMEBODY responsible) needs to have knowledge of the aggressive behavior
- Aggressive behavior does not need to mean “bite”
- We have to prove that the dog owner knew the dog might cause injury to someone.
Of course, the dog owner is not the only person responsible for it. A good dog bite lawyer will be able to help you find everybody who may be responsible and make sure they pay their fair portion of the damages.
Nobody can tell if a dog is dangerous except their owner
An Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Will Find All Liable Parties
Imagine a family leaves town for a week and leaves their dog with a friend. That friend takes the dog for a walk, where it attacks a child. Is the friend also liable, or just the dog owner? The answer is that if the friend knew or should have known the dog was vicious then that person is also liable for the injuries to the child.
Did a landlord fail to repair a fence that then allowed a dog to escape and attack you? Not only is the dog owner responsible, but the landlord may be as well.
What about the previous owner who failed to disclose that this dog had been trained as an attack animal? Of course their negligence makes them liable!
What about a local government that failed to handle the pack of feral dogs in the neighborhood? They may be liable as well.
The Albuquerque dog bite lawyers at Roadrunner Law Firm know how to investigate and find all liable parties and bring them to justice. Don’t rely on some third-party insurance company to just do the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts – it’s never going to happen! Your best chance at full financial recovery is by finding every liable party and making sure they are held accountable.
Some Unique New Mexico Dog Bite Laws
Could something on a dog owners property attract children to play?
In addition to its unique take on the “one bite rule,” New Mexico has a few other laws that a good dog bite lawyer will be familiar with. For example, New Mexico has a legal doctrine called “attractive nuisance” which can apply to dog bite cases. Here’s how it works:
An attractive nuisance is something a property owner should know is tempting to trespassers. Basically, if there’s something on the property that is going to cause people to investigate, explore, or play on the property, that’s an attractive nuisance. An unfenced lot with interesting farm equipment, a unique animal or vehicle, even something as simple as open space might be a temptation to people nearby – especially children.
Property owners therefore have a duty of care when they know that there’s a good chance people will come onto their property, whether welcome or not. You can see how this connects to dog bite laws. If, for example, both a neighbors dog and a small child are drawn onto a property towards the same attractive nuisance, that can result in a dog bite, and the property owner may be liable for not doing enough to prevent this kind of thing from happening.
The Injuries and Consequences of a Dog Bite
A simple dog bite may sound like no big deal to somebody who has never experienced an animal attack. But a single dog bite can cause lacerations, permanent nerve damage, paralysis, numbness, weakness, infection, muscle damage, permanent scarring, and even death.
Dog bite injuries often stand out from other types of injuries because of how the victims often report ongoing, intense psychological challenges after the attack. This can manifest as not just anxiety and fear around animals, but flashbacks and even PTSD. Children are particularly prone to long-term psychological damage after a dog attack.
What Does Compensation Look Like in an Albuquerque Dog Bite Case?
Money can never undo the damages that are done during an animal attack. However our court system allows us the opportunity to seek fair compensation for those things which can be measured (medical costs, treatment costs, therapy expenses, etc.) and those things which can not be measured (fear, pain, trauma, psychological harm, etc.). Beyond that, we can also seek punitive damages when a dog owner ought to be punished above and beyond the actual cost of injuries caused.
Punitive damages are a form of punishment that apply when a dog owner has been particularly negligent. An example may be when a dog owner is proved to have known their dog was extraordinarily dangerous but did nothing to prevent an attack, or when a dog has a long history of attacks but the dog owner does nothing to end this pattern.
When the dog bite lawyers at Roadrunner Law Firm take a case, we get the facts. And if the dog owner has allowed their pet to not just harm you, but engage in a pattern of harm, we will absolutely seek punitive damages. We take dog bite cases very seriously and our aim is to compensate the victim as well as prevent any future attacks.
What Insurance Covers Dog Bite Cases?
The basic answer is that homeowners insurance covers dog bite cases. However our Albuquerque dog bite lawyers don’t stop there. We make sure there is adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for all your losses by hunting through every possible avenue and resource. This means not only is the dog owner’s insurance policy available to us, but other property owners, caretakers, and anybody else who may have had some share of liability. In New Mexico, even governments such as municipalities can be pursued for compensation if they are partially to blame for the animal attack.
We negotiate aggressively with insurance companies and opposing attorneys to get you the settlement that provides you with fair compensation, or, failing that, we prepare for trial where we work to convince a judge and jury of your rights and damages.
The Deadline to File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite
In New Mexico an injured person must file a lawsuit against the dog owner and any other parties within a set deadline. This deadline is called the “Statute of Limitations.” For a civil complaint, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the dog bite.
It is important you speak with an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer as soon as possible so that you can secure your right to file suit. If you wait too long, or if it’s too close to the deadline to file, it may not be possible to recover your damages. This is why it’s vital to call right away.
Get the Attention You Rightfully Deserve from A Law Firm That Cares
We pride ourselves on our close personal relationships with our clients. Personal attention (balanced with aggressive representation) are what sets us ahead of the competition. We take the time to get to know our clients and their stories; this helps us expertly guide your case and succeed where larger and more impersonal law firms fail.
Give Us A Call
If you need a lawyer to handle your animal attack case, call us on 505-444-4321 to book a FREE consultation.
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