Serving Albuquerque and throughout the state of New MExico We're Not Just Your Law Firm, We're Also Your Neighbors

Albuquerque Dog Bite Attorneys

Representing Victims of Serious Dog Bites & Attacks

Dogs are a great source of joy for many people. While responsible dog owners take the proper steps to rear a happy, well-adjusted animal and to always keep their pet adequately secure, some pet owners fail in these reasonable obligations. When the proper care is not exercised, a dog bite is more likely to occur.

Our attorneys at Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero have represented clients who have fallen victim to irresponsible dog owners. We’ve seen firsthand the damage sustained by these people, damage that sometimes causes lasting pain, scars, and other effects. We know how to hold negligent dog owners accountable, and we are committed to standing up for victims who have sustained serious and even life-changing injuries. 

For a free consultation with our Albuquerque dog bite lawyers, call (505) 806-1780 or contact us online. Hablamos español.

Filing a Dog Bite Claim in New Mexico

Dog attacks are extremely frightening and often lead to serious injuries that can cause immense pain, scarring, disfigurement, and other complications. If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, there are certain things you should know about your right to seek financial compensation for your related damages. 

First, you should know that, although New Mexico does not have a specific dog bite statute, it generally recognizes what is known as the “one-bite rule” in these types of cases. 

According to this rule, a dog owner or handler can be held civilly liable for damages caused by a dog bite when they knew or reasonably should have known that the dog: 

  • Was vicious 
  • Had a tendency to be vicious 
  • Had a natural inclination to be vicious 
  • Had bitten someone in the past 

Additionally, dog owners and handlers can be held liable for injuries caused by their pets when they act negligently, leading to a bite or attack. For example, if a dog owner allows their pet to roam free and unleashed in a public park where leash laws are in effect, they could be legally responsible for damages if the dog runs up to another person and knocks them down, causing bodily injury. 

Note that it is not necessary to prove that a dog owner was negligent under the one-bite rule; the negligence rule generally only comes into play in cases in which the one-bite rule does not apply.

Types of Injuries Linked to Dog Bites

Even a minor dog bite can have a negative impact on your health. 

Here are a few of the physical and mental effects that may accompany a dog attack:

  • Lacerations or Puncture Wounds: Dogs of all sizes can cause serious lacerations and puncture wounds, some of which may require stitches or suturing.
  • Broken Bones: During a dog attack, the victim may fall or be knocked down by the animal, which can lead to broken wrists, arms, and other fractures. 
  • Infection: Bacteria found in the mouths of dogs can cause severe infection, which can sometimes be life-threatening to vulnerable people, including the immunocompromised. 
  • Head and Brain Injuries: If the victim is knocked to the ground during the attack, they may sustain a serious head or brain injury, such as a concussion. 
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: Serious puncture wounds, lacerations, and scrapes following a dog attack can lead to permanent scarring and severe disfigurement. 
  • Neck and Facial Injuries: When dogs attack, they often aim for the neck and head, which can lead to serious facial injuries, including injuries to the eyes, ears, neck, and throat. 
  • Nerve Damage: Deep puncture wounds and lacerations can lead to nerve damage, which may result in burning, stinging, and numbness. 
  • Rabies: Dogs are known to carry rabies, a rare but fatal disease that requires immediate medical attention and treatment. Anyone bitten by a strange dog should always seek rabies treatment. 

People involved in violent dog attacks also tend to experience serious mental and emotional effects. If a person develops a fear of dogs, they may react strongly whenever coming across them in public. This can lead to avoidance behaviors and anxiety. Other reminders of the event can also cause emotional distress, even when there is no direct threat present, and many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be debilitating in severe cases. 

  • "I can't seem to say enough about the people at this law firm. I was treated with the greatest experience ever. My case wasn't a very large case, but, non the less I was treated with the upmost respect and treatment of a huge case."
    Christopher C.
  • "Not only are they highly competent, ethical, smart and efficient, they are very kind. They have provided the best representation and assistance imaginable and I would, without any reservation whatsoever, highly recommend this law firm."
    Dorian D.

Defenses to Dog Bite Claims in New Mexico

Dog owners and handlers may have several defenses available to them that, if successful, could prevent you from recovering compensation. Under New Mexico’s pure comparative negligence rule, you cannot recover the full amount you are seeking in damages if you are found partly at fault for the incident that led to your injury. 

Possible defenses to dog bite claims in New Mexico include: 

  • Provocation: The dog owner or handler may argue that you provoked the dog, and that this is what led to the attack or bite. Provocation includes behaviors such as taunting, teasing, or petting a dog after being warned not to by the owner or handler. 
  • Trespassing: Property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers in New Mexico, other than to refrain from causing intentional injury. As such, if someone is bit by a dog while trespassing, the owner can raise this defense to avoid liability.
  • Assumption of Risk: The dog owner or handler may argue that the victim understood the risk of being attacked or bitten by the dog yet still assumed that risk. For example, if someone entered a yard where a dog was barking and growling, the owner could argue that the person assumed the risk of a bite by entering the area. 
  • Comparative Negligence: The insurance company may attempt to use the defense of comparative negligence by showing that the dog bite victim was partially at fault for the incident. If this was the case, the victim’s recovery would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them by the insurance adjuster. 

Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Claim

Dog bites often lead to considerable physical, financial, and emotional challenges. By filing a personal injury claim, you can seek fair compensation for the owner or their insurance company for your economic and noneconomic damages. 

Such damages include but are not limited to: 

  • Medical expenses, including future care costs 
  • Lost income, wages, and employment benefits
  • Physical and mental pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress and anguish 
  • Permanent, significant scarring and disfigurement 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
  • Loss of earning capacity and future income due to permanent injury or impairment
  • Miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses, such as costs associated with in-home care 

Our goal at Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero is to help you recover the full amount you are owed for all of your damages. Our Albuquerque dog bite lawyers provide highly compassionate and personalized legal services backed by over 100 years of combined experience. We understand what you are going through, and we want to help. 

Steps to Take After Being Bitten by a Dog

If you've been bitten by a dog in New Mexico and want to file a claim, there are several steps you should take:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health should be your priority. Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately, even if the bite seems minor. Documenting your injuries is crucial for your claim.
  2. Identify the Dog and Its Owner: Try to get information about the dog and its owner. This includes the owner's name, contact details, and any information about the dog's history of aggression or vaccinations. Take photos if possible.
  3. Report the Incident: Contact the local animal control authorities or the police to report the incident. They will create a report and may investigate the situation further.
  4. Gather Evidence: Collect evidence to support your claim. Take photographs of your injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and any relevant details, such as the dog, the scene, or any witnesses.
  5. Get Witness Information: If there were witnesses to the incident, try to get their contact information. Witness statements can be valuable when filing a claim.
  6. Keep Records: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, including doctor visits, medications prescribed, and any other expenses related to the injury.
  7. Consult a Lawyer: Consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer experienced in dog bite cases. They can provide guidance on the legal steps to take and help you navigate the claims process.
  8. File a Claim: With the help of your lawyer, if you have one, file a claim with the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company or through a legal process if insurance isn’t available.

How Our Law Firm Can Help with Your Dog Bite Case

Cases involving dog bites often involve either a dog owner who was aware of the dog’s aggressive behavior prior to the attack or negligence on the part of the dog owner, which contributed in some other way as a cause for the attack. Both situations can be difficult to prove. It is a good idea to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney who can help you build a powerful case and seek the maximum compensation available. 

At Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, we know the ins and outs of New Mexico’s one-bite rule, as well as negligence-based dog bite claims. Our Albuquerque dog bite lawyers can review the details of your case, as well as the history of the animal in question. Based on our investigation, we will then discuss our legal strategy with you and whether it is possible to obtain the necessary compensation to cover pain and suffering, as well as any medical bills you’ve incurred. 

In addition to addressing your own damages and harms, taking legal action against a negligent dog owner may also protect others from future harm. Our firm is committed to protecting our neighbors and making our community a safer place to live. 

Here are several benefits of hiring our firm:

  • Legal Expertise: We have extensive knowledge and experience in New Mexico's laws regarding dog bites. Our familiarity with these laws allows us to navigate the legal complexities of your case efficiently.
  • Maximize Compensation: Our team understands how to assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future treatment costs. We work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
    Investigation and Evidence Gathering: We handle all aspects of the case investigation, gathering crucial evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and documentation of the incident. This meticulous approach strengthens your case.
  • Negotiation Skills: We engage with insurance companies or the opposing party on your behalf. Our negotiation skills aim to secure a fair settlement, sparing you from the stress of dealing with legal complexities and ensuring your rights are protected.
  • Court Representation: In the event negotiations don't result in a fair settlement, we are prepared to represent you in court. Our firm has a strong litigation team ready to advocate for your rights and interests in the courtroom.
  • Guidance and Support: Throughout the entire legal process, we provide guidance, support, and regular updates. We ensure you understand your options, the progress of your case, and are actively involved in the decision-making process.
  • Contingency Fee Basis: At Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, we often work on a contingency fee basis for personal injury cases, meaning you only pay legal fees if we secure compensation for you. This setup ensures access to legal representation without upfront costs.

To learn more, including how we can assist you with your potential dog bite case, contact us at (505) 806-1780 and request a free, no-obligation consultation.

"Not only are they highly competent, ethical, smart and efficient, they are very kind. They have provided the best representation and assistance imaginable and I would, without any reservation whatsoever, highly recommend this law firm."
Dorian D.
Our History

Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C. is a local law firm with local and national recognition for having the expertise to handle the toughest cases. Over a century ago, David B. Martinez’s grandparents realized their dream of building a general store at the corner of Rio Grande and Indian School. “A century later, David B. Martinez and F. Michael Hart built this law firm on the same corner of Rio Grande and Indian School where David’s family had built their general store.” The corner of Rio Grande and Indian School is now home to Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C., which holds the same dedication to serving the needs of the surrounding community.