Omaha Dog Bite Attorney
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, the best thing to do is to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Omaha as soon as possible. Under state law, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the injuries and other damages.
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At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we represent injured people in dog bite cases. Our founding attorney, Jason Bottlinger, has years of experience in personal injury matters and a successful track record recovering compensation for his clients. He has been awarded membership in the elite Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Call (402) 505-8234 today to set up a free consultation.
Dogs are known as man’s best friend, but they are not always friendly to strangers. Vicious dog attacks can cause serious injury to people of any age, particularly children. In a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that 551 children ages 5 months to 18 years old were treated in the emergency room of a children’s hospital for dog bites over a five-year period – that is at least one bite every three days at just this one hospital. Infants and preschoolers involved in the study were mostly bitten in the face, while older children were bitten mainly in the extremities. These children were attacked by more than 30 different breeds of dogs.
The state of Nebraska has a strict liability dog bite law. Dog owners are strictly liable for any and all damages caused by their dogs to anyone except trespassers, regardless of whether the dog has shown aggressive tendencies in the past. The statute applies not only to dog bites but also to any injury caused by a dog, including knockdowns and scratches. It also applies when a dog chases, kills, or wounds other domestic animals, such as sheep that are the property of another person or company.
However, in Underhill v. Hobelman, 279 Neb. 30, 33 (2009), the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the dog bite statute does not apply to playful or mischievous acts of dogs - when a dog unintentionally injures someone in play. In such cases, to recover damages, the victim must satisfy the requirements of the "one-bite rule." In other words, the victim must show that the dog had a propensity to bite or otherwise cause harm, that the owner or keeper knew of this dangerous propensity before the incident in question occurred, and that the dog’s propensity to cause harm was the cause of damages in the incident.
Child victims, as well as the elderly, are at special risk when a dog attacks. However, depending on the size, aggression, and number of animals, even a healthy adult can be mortally wounded by an unexpected attack. The injuries to the victim may include:
- Facial lacerations: Children are more at risk for trauma to the head, face, and neck. Just recently, a 10-year-old girl in Omaha suffered serious facial injuries in a pit bull attack. The dog was still trying to bite the girl as emergency responders took her out of the home. She required surgery from University of Nebraska Medical Center.
- Open wounds and damaged tissue: Bleeding out is a serious danger if a large dog is able to sever a vein or artery, especially in the upper arm or leg. Often, when dogs latch on to a victim with their jaws, they will perform a shaking motion that can rip and destroy skin, connective tissue, muscle, nerves, and more. Disfigurement and scarring are very likely in these cases.
- Broken and dislocated bones: Especially if a dog’s attack drives the victim to the ground, the victim can suffer hand, wrist, elbow, and hip fractures. If the dog bites an extremity, like the arm, and yanks on it, the joint can be dislocated and the soft tissue damaged.
- Infection: Dogs’ mouths carry bacteria and other germs. If a bite goes deeply enough, the victim can get blood poisoning. It is vital for all dog bites to be cleaned thoroughly, right after the incident. Getting professional medical help is a wise decision.
- Rabies: Wild animals like foxes, coyotes, bats, and raccoons can tangle with pet dogs and transmit the rabies virus. Because rabies makes animals more aggressive, dog owners need to be vigilant and look for signs of the disease, especially for dogs that are kept outdoors. In addition, many cities require a current rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. Rabies can be fatal in humans if not treated swiftly.
After any attack, be sure to report the incident right away. Animal Control may need to quarantine the dog to make sure it isn’t rabid. If you can, take pictures of the dog and the wounds as evidence of your case.
After dog bite injuries, as with any personal injury, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses in a court of law, or through an insurance claim, and you hold the right to retain legal representation. In our state, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their animals (except when the injury is caused by a playful or mischievous act of the dog). You have the right to seek a range of damages including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and others, based upon the facts in the case.
In Nebraska, some dogs are known to be vicious. Local Animal Control has the ability to designate a dog a “potentially dangerous dog” (PDD) through administrative action. This creates a two-year probation for the dog and owner. “Unprovoked aggression” is enough cause to designate a dog a PDD, which can include: the dog attacking another animal, or the dog chasing a person in a menacing manner on a public street. However, a judge is able to rule an animal a “dangerous dog” (DD) if it causes serious injury to people or fatally mauls other pets.
Dogs that cause fatal maulings almost always have a history of aggressive and destructive behavior. If you lost a loved one, especially a small child, to a dog attack, please do not hesitate to speak to a lawyer. Certain municipalities require the owners of dangerous dogs to comply with additional safeguards and have liability insurance, to protect future victims. We can investigate the facts and circumstances leading up to the tragic incident and determine whether you are owed compensation. We work on a contingency-fee basis and charge no fees unless we get you the money you deserve by law.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we will protect your rights after serious or fatal dog bite injuries. Contact us today at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation.
- The Very Real Danger of Fake Service Dogs
- Laying Down the "Leash" Law in Omaha
- Dog Bite Emergencies - American Veterinary Medical Association
- Nebraska Revised Statute 54-601
- Bites and Dangerous Animals - Nebraska Humane Society
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