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Dog Bites

Dogs are thought of as man’s best friend and can make a great addition to any family. However, sometimes a dog can cause serious injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. Iowa has enacted liability laws for damages caused by a dog bite to fight this issue.

Although not all dog bites are fatal, some can result in serious bodily harm. A dog bite can result in serious damage such as amputations or disfigurement. Without being prompted, certain dogs have been known to attack. According to the CDC, 94% of dog bites happened unprovoked and without any warning signs.

If you or someone you know has been wounded by a dog bite, you should seek legal help right away. You may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one’s estate. The Iowa dog bite lawyers at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling are ready to discuss your case through a free initial consultation.

Why Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney After a Dog Bite?

A local dog bite lawyer can tell you whether you have a legal claim, the scope of your liability, the types of defenses that may be available, and the legal and financial implications of your dog bite case. If you or someone you know has been wounded by a dog bite or dog attack, you should seek legal help right away.

If you’re bitten by someone’s dog, you have a few options. You might begin by filing an insurance claim with the dog owner’s insurance company. Most homeowner’s insurance plans will cover a dog bite that occurs on the insured’s property, and many policies will also cover a bite that occurs outside the property if the dog is owned or kept on the property.

A dog bite lawyer can assist you in dealing with the insurance company and negotiating a reasonable payment using their knowledge and experience. Personal injury lawyers are crucial in these cases because they are familiar with the applicable laws in your state, how to calculate damages, and how to present evidence successfully.

Iowa Dog Bite Statute

The dog bite statute in Iowa is found in Iowa Code section
351.28. It states that a dog’s owner is responsible for “any damages” caused by the dog if:

  • the dog is “worrying, maiming, or murdering” a domestic animal, or the dog is biting or attempting to bite a person, and
  • the individual is not engaging in any illegal behavior that contributes to the injury.

The statute covers “all damages,” not just dog bite-related ones. As a result, if a person is wounded by the dog’s actions, such as pouncing, the dog’s owner may be held liable under Iowa’s dog bite legislation.

Dog bite claims are subject to Iowa’s personal injury
statute of limitations. An injured person has two years under this law to file a lawsuit demanding compensation for their injuries. Injury lawsuits are started by filing the necessary documents in the civil court system in Iowa. However, if the case is not brought before the two-year period, the court is almost certain to dismiss it.

Iowa’s dog bite law is known as a “strict liability” statute because it holds a dog’s owner liable regardless of how much care or knowledge the dog’s owner exhibited. When a dog has rabies, however, the
legislation states that a negligence standard, not a strict liability standard, applies. In Iowa, if a rabid dog bites another person, the owner is not liable unless the owner knew the dog had rabies and failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from biting others. If the owner took reasonable precautions to keep the dog from biting, but the dog still bit someone, the owner will not be held accountable.

What to Do After a Dog Bite or Dog Attack?

The majority of dog bites occur without provocation. It’s possible that the dog attacked without being provoked, or that it was not controlled by a leash. Whatever the situation, it’s critical that you move fast. A dog bite can result in serious injuries that can last a lifetime.

The following are some suggestions for what to do if you get bitten by a dog:

  • • Get away from the dog or get the dog to leave you alone.
  • • If at all possible, stay away from the attack and contact a first responder once you’ve reached a safe position.
  • • If you can, locate the dog’s owner and obtain their contact information, such as their name and phone number.
  • • Animal control or law enforcement should be contacted.
  • • If there are any eyewitnesses, take notes on what they say.
  • • Take pictures of your injuries, the dog, and the attack scene.

The final step is for the dog bite victim to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer. Throughout the legal procedure, an attorney can help you while giving you time to heal. They can also gather proof of your attack in order to present it in court. If your lawsuit is successful, you will be awarded monetary compensation for your losses.

Des Moines Dog Bite Attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling

A dog bite has the power to drastically alter your life. Serious injuries, such as severe lacerations, can cost you hundreds of dollars in medical bills and medical expenses. This isn’t even taking into account the psychological impact of a dog bite and the pain and suffering. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, you should seek legal advice immediately.

The personal injury attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling can go over your legal options and help file a personal injury claim (accident cases) or wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one’s estate. You can reach us online or by phone at (515) 444-4000 Our law firm is located in Des Moines, IA.