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In any case of animal attack, a Personal Injury attorney is best suited to examine the details in order determine the possibilities of filing a lawsuit to obtain damages from injuries incurred. The laws in each state vary slightly and Personal Injury attorneys experienced in animal attacks understand the intricacies that will determine what is needed to prove negligence.
It is not only dogs that are involved in animal attacks, other animals, such as cats, birds and others, may also attack, causing injuries in which a pet owner may be liable. In addition, there are undomesticated animals, such as reptiles and large cats that can attack, causing liability for their owners. Animal attacks bring injuries ranging from scratches to severe disfigurement as well as the possibility of rabies and other infections. Victims, particularly children, may have severe psychological damage shown in an increased fear of the animal or the situation where the attack happened. Laws regarding animal attacks differ in various areas and states. Personal Injury Attorneys experienced in animal attacks provide accurate advice for individual situations.
Burden of Proof
The victim has two main things to prove in an animal attack. The first is who the owners and keepers of the animal(s) are, and secondly, that they were negligent. The owner may be negligent either by not restraining the animal properly or that they knew, or should have known it was possible for the animal to be dangerous. Victims may recover damages without proving the animal was previously dangerous if it was found that the owner was negligent by not having the animal properly restrained. If the owner knew of the potential danger of the animal to others and did not complete common sense precautions to prevent injuries to others, the owner may be found negligent under any circumstances. Uncontrollable animals must be secured away from the public. A person may be a victim from being frightened by an animal, causing a slip or fall, not being actually touched by the animal. This type of victim needs to be able to prove that the animal's actions caused the injuries by its actions.
Owners of animals considered to be wild, including those in habitats, exhibits and zoos, are usually held strictly liable for any harm resulting from escaped animals. These animals may not be known to be normally dangerous while in captivity, yet it is recognized that they may return to behavior natural in the wild if they escape. If the animal is confined correctly on the owner's property, the owner may not be liable due to a victim's inappropriate actions that lead to an injury. A competent Personal Injury attorney will be able to assist in determining the owner's liability, as each case is dependant on the various factors.
Provocation of animals in any way may lead to denial of any claim for injuries, particularly if they know the animal is dangerous or have been warned of possible danger. Trespassers also may not be able to obtain positive judgments in many states, particularly if there are warning signs on the property.
There are several items that are needed to prove legal responsibility for Personal Injury cases. These include that the owner and/or keeper of the animal knowingly failed to constrain the potentially dangerous animal and the injuries were due to this negligence. Victims also need to show the nature and extent of their physical and psychological injuries. It is still possible to receive some compensation even if there is a possibility the victim partially caused the injury. If a third party was responsible for the injuries, it is also possible in most states to receive compensation from them.