Many people will agree that dogs are essential to have in one’s home. Having a pet dog (or dogs) improves your mood dramatically, lowers your stress levels, makes you live an active lifestyle, and gives you something adorable to look at or play with 24/7.
But not everyone’s a dog person, especially those who’ve had a bad past experience with the furry creatures; in particular, those who suffered from a dog bite injury.
So, are dogs man’s best friend or worst enemy? It depends on who you ask.
Dog owners, who are dogs’ best friends, are usually liable for dog bite injuries. If you become a victim of a dog bite, you will want to understand your rights to sue and get compensation, such as in the following instances.
You lost wages because you were unable to work
A dog bite victim who is unable to work due to injuries sustained may receive compensation for pain and emotional distress and future expenses they may incur (in case of severe injuries).
Take, for instance, Juan Lomeli, the former pool boy of rapper French Montana. In 2018, Mr. Lomeli was bitten by the artist’s German shepherd Zane while he was working at the rapper’s house. He filed a lawsuit that claimed that the injuries were severe and rendered him unable to work for a substantial amount of time.
If you think your dog could potentially pounce on people, sink your teeth into the details of this case. As a result of the lawsuit, Mr. Lomeli was awarded $129,500 in damages, including $39,500 in past economic loss, $60,000 in non-economic loss, and $30,000 for future non-economic loss.
The biting beast has bitten someone before
A crucial point in most dog bite cases is the one-bite rule, which puts the burden of investigating the dog’s biting history on the dog bite victim. Under this rule, if a dog can be proven to have no history of biting anyone in the past, the dog owner will not be held liable for the dog’s first bite victim. Dog bite laws vary per state, and this rule does not apply to dog bite laws in Washington State.
Do you know which famous personality couldn’t be saved by the one-bite rule? Mr. “Dog Whisperer” himself, Cesar Millan.
In 2017, aspiring gymnast Lidia Matiss was bitten repeatedly on the legs by the celebrity dog trainer’s pit bull Junior. According to her lawsuit, she was mauled while she was waiting for her mother at the Los Angeles office building owned by Mr. Millan where the dog was said to be roaming unsupervised.
Ms. Matiss’s suit claimed that she suffered from “deep puncture wounds and lacerations,” and as a result, she could no longer fulfill her dream of becoming a gymnast. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages for physical and emotional suffering and stated that Mr. Dog Whisperer should be especially careful because he supposedly has a sophisticated knowledge of dogs.
However, Mr. Millan’s lawyers denied responsibility for the attacks and said that Ms. Matiss knew of the danger, assumed the risk of being bitten, and was negligent. The lawsuit also alleged that Mr. Millan’s dog has attacked and killed Queen Latifah’s dog.
Maybe Mr. Millan should be whispering “don’t bite, people” to dogs.
The dog’s best friend was negligent
Dog owners may be said to have been negligent if they didn’t take the right action to prevent their dogs from biting. For example, a dog owner could be proven negligent if they weren’t able to control their pooch that’s on a leash from attacking and injuring a passerby. In Washington State, if you are hurt, you have a claim against the dog’s owner. Make sure you gather evidence.
In a dog bite case involving R&B singer Chris Brown’s dog, providing evidence proved a bit challenging.
Mr. Brown was sued by a former housekeeper who was bitten by his dog Hades. The unnamed housekeeper was working at Brown’s house when a large brown dog mauled her. The singer, however, allegedly destroyed evidence. He was accused of asking his security team to take Hades to a “nebulous location” somewhere in Northern California and instructed them to "dispose of the dog."
A party acted negligently, and according to the defendant’s lawyers, it was not Mr. Brown. They said the housekeeper “voluntarily teased, abused, and mistreated the dog and thereby provoked the attack.”
Mr. Brown may have gotten rid of the poor mutt, but the ongoing case will continue to hound him.
Related reading: Celebrity Cujos and a history of dog bites in Hollywood
A dog bite lawyer is a dog bite victim’s best friend. Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams is the team to call for your personal injury case in the Evergreen State. Call our law offices in Renton, Seattle today.