Dogs may be “man’s best friend,” but they are still animals, and some dogs might be prone to attack under certain circumstances. According to DogsBite.org, roughly 1,000 Americans suffer dog bite injuries that require emergency medical care each day.
Dog bite injuries can be extremely painful and may even be life-threatening to victims. People who sustain dog bites typically require extensive and costly medical care. In many cases, dog bite victims also need significant time to recover, forcing them to miss time at work and compounding their financial troubles.
If you were bitten by a dog in Portland through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to money from a dog bite injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.
At Siefman Law LLC, our knowledgeable attorneys understand that the aftermath of a dog bite attack is often shocking and overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help. To learn more about how we can support you through this difficult time, call us today at (503) 395-2135 or contact us online to speak with a Portland dog bite injury lawyer in a free initial consultation.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries often leave victims with painful injuries that may have far-reaching consequences. Common dog bite injuries include:
- Scraped or broken skin
- Ripped, cut, or torn skin
- Crushing injuries
- Eye injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Infections like rabies or tetanus
- Broken bones
- Dislocated bones
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Permanent scarring
- Nerve damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Portland Dog Bite Laws
Many states have so-called “one-bite rules” that essentially shield dog owners from liability after dog bite attacks as long as:
- The dog has never previously attacked anyone
- The dog owner had no reason to believe their dog had vicious or aggressive tendencies
However, Oregon law holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bites, even if their dog has never attacked anyone before. According to the Oregon Revised Statutes 31.360:
- Dog bite victims who wish to seek compensation in a civil lawsuit may only hold dog owners strictly liable for monetary losses, which include things like medical care costs and other necessary injury-related expenses that can be objectively verified. However, dog bite injuries may also be covered by an owner’s homeowner’s insurance, which could provide additional benefits, depending on the policy.
- A dog bite victim is not required to prove that the dog’s owner had reason to believe their dog may be capable of biting anyone.
- Owners of dogs who have bitten people are not permitted to use their lack of knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies as a defense in a dog bite injury claim. However, an owner may use other defenses, such as asserting that their dog attacked a person because the person was trespassing or provoked the dog in some way.
If you believe you have grounds for a Portland dog bite injury lawsuit, it’s important to act quickly. Oregon’s statute of limitations laws impose a strict two-year deadline on victims’ rights to file personal injury lawsuits such as dog bite lawsuits. The two-year period begins on the date when the dog bite attack occurred.
If you fail to file your claim before this time limit expires, you will lose your right to demand compensation, even if you have a strong underlying claim. An attorney can help you understand your timeline for filing a claim and assist you through every stage of the legal process.
Compensation for Dog Bite Accident Claims
With a successful dog bite accident claim, you could receive money to compensate you for economic losses such as:
- Medical expenses such as ambulance rides, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, therapy, and other rehabilitative services.
- Property damage costs, if any of your personal belongings were damaged during the dog bite attack.
- Incidental out-of-pocket expenses, such as the costs of transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Lost wages, if you are forced to miss time at work while you recover from your dog bite injuries.
- Lost future earning capacity, if your dog bite injuries are so severe that you are unable to return to your usual job.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you have been injured in a Portland dog bite incident, you can protect your health, your legal rights, and your ability to pursue compensation by:
- Seeking immediate medical attention and following through on your doctor’s treatment orders
- Establishing a “pain journal” to record your daily levels of pain, discomfort, and any physical limitations you suffer
- Gathering evidence, such as the clothes you were wearing when the attack occurred, photos from the scene of the attack, and statements from any eyewitnesses who saw what happened
- Keeping track of all documents that can be used to verify your compensable injury-related expenses, such as hospital bills, pay stubs, and receipts
- Avoiding discussions of the dog bite attack with anyone but your attorney
- Avoiding posting or sharing information on social media while your injury claim is still pending
- Contacting an attorney for professional advice in a free initial consultation
How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
If you decide to file a Portland dog bite injury claim, the attorneys of Siefman Law LLC can support you every step of the way by:
- Explaining your legal rights and the options available to you
- Conducting an independent investigation to gather evidence
- Estimating the value of the compensation you could be owed
- Consulting with expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf
- Managing important documents and deadlines on your behalf
- Communicating with insurance representatives and other lawyers on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance companies for fair compensation
- Taking your case to court, if the insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable monetary settlement
Contact a Portland Dog Bite Lawyer Today
To discuss the details of your Portland dog bite injury case with an experienced Portland dog bite attorney, call Siefman Law LLC today at (503) 395-2135 or contact us online to get started with a free initial case review.