Despite their reputation as man’s best friends, dogs can cause major injuries when they’re not properly restrained by their owners. These injuries are not only traumatic, they can leave victims with lasting effects that greatly diminish their quality of life. That’s why victims of dog attacks have legal recourse after encountering a dangerous animal.
Can dog owners be held liable for the actions of their pets?
While the state of New Mexico lacks a specific dog bite statute, it is possible to pursue dog owners for damages using one of two methods. The scienter cause of action holds owners responsible if their pet expressed aggressiveness previously, such as by lashing out at another pet or person. It’s also possible to hold an owner accountable for negligence in the event they were unable to restrain their dog. This method is used when there is no evidence of previous aggression in the animal.
Can the victim ever be held accountable for what occurred?
Only if there was previous knowledge of the pet acting aggressively and it can be shown that the victim provoked the dog in some way. Provocation is usually up for interpretation depending on the specific circumstances. However, if the dog bite victim is perceived to have put themselves at risk of harm in some way, proving provocation is usually less challenging.
What types of damages can the victim pursue?
Any medical expenses incurred as a result of the attack are fair game, as are lost wages that result from the victim’s inability to work due to their injuries. Attorneys can also pursue punitive damages, which are used to deter negligent or unlawful behavior in the future. Pain and suffering are also possible, especially in violent attacks that also have psychological ramifications.
What should I do after being bitten by a dog?
Seek out medical care immediately, even if injuries are minor. Request the contact information of the dog owner, as well as any witnesses on the scene. If the owner is not cooperating, file a report with the police or animal control with whatever information you have available. You should also follow up with an attorney to explore your legal options.
In addition to the many other legal services we provide, our attorneys at Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C. also have extensive experience with dog bite cases. We’ll make sure the court understands the total scope and severity of your injuries. We’ll also help you devise an appropriate settlement to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Please call 505-343-1776 to schedule a free legal consultation with our team in Albuquerque. If you’d like to learn more about our law firm before getting started, feel free to contact us for more information.