Mississippi Dog Bite Lawyers
Call Our Experienced Team Now If You’ve Been Harmed in an Animal
Attack – (601) 869-0696
Any dog can be dangerous if caught at the wrong time. With more than a
third of families owning at least one dog, it’s not uncommon to
cross paths with a parent and child walking their pet or a pup tied up
outside a store. Most of these encounters pass without incident, but all
it takes to change that is one vicious dog and a few seconds.
What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Laws in Mississippi
After being bitten by a dog, you may incur large medical expenses for disease
testing, wound treatment, or even reconstructive surgery. Victims of dog
bites may also sustain psychological harm from the trauma of the experience.
If your injury is the direct result of a pet owner failing in their duty
to train and/or control their dog, you could be able to recover damages
through their insurance or the legal system.
Here’s what you should know if you or a loved one has been injured
by an out-of-control dog.
The “One Free Bite” Rule and Mississippi Law
Many states specify that dog owners are responsible
at all times for their pets’ behavior. However, Mississippi law is based on an
old doctrine known as the “one free bite” rule. This approach
allows owners to assume their dogs are harmless until proven otherwise.
Only a dog’s first bite, the philosophy goes, proves that the animal
may threaten others. After this point, it is an owner’s duty to
control their pet so it does not injure anyone else. Otherwise, they can
assume their dog will not endanger others and therefore cannot be held
liable for an unexpected attack.
Though this rule is not codified in our state’s law, it does guide
the approach we take for dog bite cases. The Mississippi Supreme Court case
Poy v. Grayson laid out the expectation that if a dog owner knew or should have known
their animal had a propensity toward meanness and might attack, they could
be held liable for any injuries inflicted by it. If there were no warning
signs, pet owners could not be forced to compensate the victim of their
Poy case narrowed the scope of the “one free bite” doctrine by
holding that even if a dog had not previously bitten anyone, behaviors like
- snapping at,
or otherwise making threatening movements toward a person indicated a potential
proclivity for violence. Therefore, if such actions preceded the bite,
a victim could argue that the owner should have foreseen the danger and
taken necessary steps to keep the dog under control.
If you were bitten by a dog that was illegally off-leash or trespassing
on your property, this fact might be used to reinforce the negligence
of the dog owner. In a court that tends toward favoring dog owners, details
like these can be important to a case’s success.
Contact our experienced team of dog bite attorneys today to pursue the
compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Other Dog-Related Injuries
Though bites are the most common type of dog-caused injury brought before
courts, they are not the only danger people face. Dogs’ claws can
cause harm, and a dog running at a person (or even a biker) could knock
them over and result in fractures, sprains, or even head injuries.
Such cases have less legal precedent to guide them, but they are approached
in the same way as dog bite claims. In order to receive compensation,
a victim must prove that the attack was foreseeable and could have been
prevented but for the owner’s negligence.
What to Do After an Attack
If you are attacked by a dog, ask the owner for their name and contact
information before they leave the scene. At the very least, you will need
to check with them and/or their veterinarian to see whether you are at
risk for rabies. You also may need to request compensation for your injuries
should medical bills, missed work, and other expenses start to add up.
Do I Need a Doctor?
You may need
medical attention depending on the severity of the bite.
- If the wound is small and shallow, you should wash the wound, use an antibiotic
cream, and bandage it.
- If the wound swells, becomes red, or feels warm to the touch, reach out
to a doctor. You should also seek treatment if it aches, if you feel feverish,
or if the dog’s behavior seemed strange.
- If a wound is deep, do your best to stop the bleeding by applying pressure
with a clean and dry cloth. Seek treatment as soon as you are able.
- If you have not received a tetanus shot in 5 or more years, you should
speak with a doctor.
- If a wound will not stop bleeding, call 911 right away.
- If a wound has punctured every layer of skin and has exposed muscle and/or
bone, seek care as soon as you can.
- If you’re unsure about the dog’s vaccination status, you should
see a doctor to test for rabies.
When Should I Contact a Lawyer?
Once you have received the care you need, it’s a good idea to reach
out to a lawyer. You don’t have to file a lawsuit, but you should
know your options before you make a decision. We offer free, no-obligation
consultations to advise people like you who might not know the ins and
outs of dog bite lawsuits. If you plan on suing but don’t know when,
we recommend against waiting to speak to our team. We can help you sidestep
common mistakes that might be used against you in court.
How Long Do I Have to Sue?
The statute of limitations for a dog bite is 3 years. This means you have
some time to decide whether you want to sue. If you have questions, it’s
a good idea to get them answered sooner rather than later: Filing a lawsuit
takes more time than most people think. Bring your questions to our team
if you are confused or conflicted. We want what’s best for you—and
that starts with helping you make an informed decision.
Reach out to Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyer, P.A. online
or by calling (601) 869-0696 to start your dog bite lawsuit today.