• Davenport Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
  • Phone: 641-792-3595
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When a dog causes injury, Davenport dog bite injury lawyers become reliable allies for the victims. Focusing on the intricate legal aspects of incidents involving animals, these legal advocates adeptly handle the complexities of liability and compensation. Their goal is to ensure that those who have suffered harm receive the justice and support they deserve.

Understanding Rabies and Dog Bite Laws: What You Need to Know

The 4 Stages of Rabies After a Dog Bite

Rabies is a life-threatening virus that affects hundreds of people each year. If you've contracted rabies due to a dog bite, you'll need to receive swift medical attention. You'll also want to discuss the incident with a dog bite attorney to see if you are within your legal rights to pursue a claim against the dog's owner.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transferred from animals to humans. It attacks the central nervous system and becomes fatal if left untreated.

Rabies progresses through four stages:

1. Attachment: The bullet-shaped virus attaches itself to a nerve cell.
2. Penetration: The virus penetrates the cell.
3. Replication: The rabies virus then begins multiplying rapidly within the cell.
4. Budding: It then spreads to other neurons and travels throughout the rest of the body.

If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, thoroughly clean the area and immediately seek medical attention. If left untreated, rabies will cause paralysis, coma, and eventually death. However, if proper treatment is administered, it's almost always effective in eradicating the rabies virus.

Being attacked and bitten by a dog is dangerous and quite scary. Add to that the prospect of contracting rabies, and it becomes a truly traumatic event.

If you've suffered a dog bite in Iowa, you should consult an Iowa dog bite attorney to see if you can file a claim for your injuries. You might be able to receive compensation not only for your injuries but also for psychological trauma and loss of earnings.

Does it Matter What Breed of Dog Attacked Me When Filing an Injury Claim?

If a dog attacks you, the dog’s breed doesn’t matter; the owner is responsible for the dog and your damages. Iowa law holds dog owners responsible for damages inflicted by their dogs, except in certain circumstances.

Impact of Iowa Dog Bite Laws in an Injury Claim

Iowa has fairly strict laws when it comes to a dog owner’s liability for a dog bite. In most circumstances, any dog that attempts to bite, does bite, or attacks a person and causes injury would allow the victim to recover compensation for his or her damages.

An exception would be if the injured person had been engaging in an unlawful act that directly contributes to the injuries, such as breaking into someone’s home. Another would be if the dog suffers from hydrophobia (a side effect of rabies). However, the owner still could be liable if he/she had known or reasonably should have known about the dog’s illness.

Could the Dog’s Breed Come Up in an Injury Claim?

Several cities in Iowa have declared certain breeds automatically dangerous or vicious—a classification often reserved for dogs with a history of biting or attacking or who have been trained to fight. Some localities place restrictions on certain breeds or outright banned ownership.

Breeds on these lists may include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Akitas, Dobermans, and Presa Canarios. There are even ordinances in which certain breeds are decreed potentially dangerous, such as Chows and Bulldogs.

Owners of vicious dogs may be required to take special precautions. This might include owning insurance and ensuring the dog is confined properly. While owners of any breed of dog are responsible for injuries and damages inflicted by the dog, victims may bring up failure to abide by local laws if it contributed to the injuries.

Recovering Damages in a Dog Attack Injury Claim

Compensation available in a dog bite injury claim includes medical costs such as antibiotics, medical care, surgery, and even reconstructive surgery if necessary. Dog bite victims also may pursue compensation for lost wages while they recover from the attack and any treatment they required as a result.

When the victim sustains serious physical harm or permanent disfigurement, he or she also may pursue damages for emotional distress. Iowa law even allows recovery of emotional distress damages in certain cases where someone has witnessed an especially severe attack.

Iowa Dog Bite Myths and Mysteries Revealed

Beginning in 1862, the Iowa Legislature passed the first law holding dog owners liable for injuries caused by their dog. Since that time, the legislature has changed the law several times, but the current law provides that the owner of a dog "shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the dog...attacking or attempting to bite a person, except when the party damaged is doing an unlawful act" (for example, a burglar breaking into a home is not allowed to recover if bitten by a dog). This is a lower standard than other personal injury cases where you have to prove negligence, recklessness, etc.

Everyday, people ask questions about what to do if they or a loved one are injured by a dog. Here are some common myths and misconceptions:

Myth 1: The Insurance Adjuster is There to Help You

The insurance adjuster works for the dog owner and their insurance company and has no duty to protect your rights or even tell you what the law is. Just because you are reasonable with the insurance adjuster does not mean that they will be reasonable with you. Remember, they are trained to pay you as little for your claim as possible. Sometimes this means intentionally frustrating you in hopes that you will give up and go away. If you decide to handle your case on your own, do not lose your temper or make threats to the insurance adjuster. Showing your emotions will never convince the carrier to offer more money. In the eyes of the adjuster, it means that you have a short temper which will certainly not help your case.

Myth 2: You Have to Give the Adjuster a Recorded Statement

Often when you have been injured, the insurance adjuster will ask you to provide a recorded statement for their file. Sometimes, they will even tell you that you must give them a recorded statement before they will consider your claim. While this can be true if you are making a claim against your own insurance company (e.g., in a property damage claim), you are not legally required to give a statement to the insurance adjuster in a dog bite case. The reason they want the recorded statement is so they can ask you questions before you are prepared to answer them. For example, the adjuster may ask, "Have you ever had back pain before?" Your immediate response might be "No". However, if you previously saw your family doctor or a chiropractor and mentioned back pain, this can create a problem because your credibility is very important. Answering such questions incorrectly can cost you thousands of dollars in your case. It is rare that giving a recorded statement to the other party's insurance adjuster will help your claim.

Myth 3: Any Attorney Can Handle Your Case

Sometimes clients will come to see me after they have fired an attorney they found in the phone book who advertised as a personal injury attorney. Any Iowa attorney can advertise that they handle personal injury cases even though they may have never handled a single case. Iowa's personal injury laws are far too complex for someone without knowledge and experience to represent someone seriously injured. Only a qualified Iowa personal injury attorney can make sure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly in your case.

For the complete list of things you should do if bitten by a dog you can request our FREE book, "Iowa Consumer's Guide to Dog Bites- Secrets to Not Get Bitten by Your Case" which is available to you with no risk or obligation by clicking here or by calling 641-792-3595

Why offer a Free Dog Bite Book?  Since 1997, I have been representing injured Iowans, including many dog bite victims from central Iowa and throughout the state.  I have heard too many horror stories about people making costly mistakes, causing them to lose thousands of dollars.  Before you talk to the insurance company you should know your rights and perhaps more importantly your responsibilities.   

If you need immediate assistance, contact us online or call us at (641) 792-3595. If you are not local to us, we will come to you.