If you or your child recently sustained injuries in an animal attack, it can be difficult to know what steps you need to take to seek compensation, and Delaware dog bite law can be complicated. At Freibott Law, we regularly assist individuals and families with dog bite claims, and we know how devastating these animal attacks can be. We also know that the moments after a dog bite can be disorienting, and you may not know what to do or how to get answers to the questions you have about seeking compensation. The following are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) we hear, along with answers that can help you as you prepare to meet with a Delaware dog bite attorney about your case.
Q: What Steps Should I Take Immediately Following a Dog Bite?
A: After a dog bite in Delaware, it will be important to document the injury as best as you can and to seek care from a health care provider. You will want to take photographs if you can that show your injuries, and how and where the dog attack occurred. It will also be critical to obtain contact information for the dog’s owner if the dog’s owner is a stranger to you. Even if the injury does not look serious, you should seek medical attention to prevent the injury from worsening. If your injury worsens due to your delay, you could limit the amount of damages you are ultimately able to obtain.
Q: Who is Liable for My Injuries?
A: The dog’s owner is strictly liable for injuries from a dog bite. There is no need under Delaware law to prove that the owner was negligent or that the owner had any knowledge that the dog was dangerous or vicious. Owning a dog that bites is enough for liability. Owning a dog that bites is enough for liability. If a dog’s owner has homeowner’s insurance, that coverage will likely extend to any damage resulting from that dog biting or attacking someone.
Q: Does the Breed of the Dog Matter?
A: The breed of the dog will not affect your claim. According to Delaware law, “no dog may be declared potentially dangerous based solely on the dog’s breed or perceived breed.”
Q: Should I Anticipate Certain Defenses From the Dog’s Owner?
A: According to Delaware law, the dog’s owner may be able to avoid liability if they can prove one of the following:
- You were on the property unlawfully at the time of the dog bite (i.e., you were trespassing);
- You were committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense on the property of the dog’s owner;
- You were committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against a person; or
- You were teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
Q: What Should I Do if the Dog’s Owner is a Friend or Family Member?
A: You can still seek compensation by filing a claim against a friend or family member. Unfortunately, even though a friend or family member owns the dog, it may be necessary to move forward with a claim if you need to obtain financial compensation to cover medical bills and other losses. Your lawyer can discuss your circumstances and potential options with you.
Q: How Much Time Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
A: Most Delaware dog bite lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the animal attack.
Contact a Delaware Dog Bite Attorney for Help
Handling a dog bite claim on your own can be extremely difficult and complicated, while an experienced Delaware dog bite attorney can help to ensure that you file your claim on time and that you present sufficient evidence to show that the dog owner is liable for your injuries. We want to help you obtain the financial compensation you need after a dog bite incident. Do not hesitate to contact Freibott Law online, or you can call our firm in Wilmington at (302) 633-9000.