If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by an uncontrolled dog, you already know the types of wounds they can inflict and the tremendous amount of medical care that is required to recover. What you may not know is that New Hampshire has some of the nation’s most favorable dog bite laws for victims of these attacks and, with the help of our experienced attorneys, these laws can help you get compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
If you are in need of a dog bite attorney in New Hampshire, please call the Law Offices of Van Dorn & Curtiss today at (866) 933-6115 to schedule a free and informative consultation. We serve Concord, Nashua, and all surrounding areas from our offices in Orford.
New Hampshire Dog Bite Laws
In New Hampshire, owners are held liable for any injury their dog inflicts on humans or animals. This is true even in cases where the owner was unaware of the dog’s violent tendencies – even in cases where the dog may have been somewhat provoked. In fact, the only exception to this rule of strict liability is when a dog attacks a trespasser.
Under New Hampshire dog bite laws, victims of aggressive animals are entitled to seek compensation for all related medical expenses, lost wages, emotional suffering, physical pain, and related damages. Our New Hampshire dog bite attorneys will assess your case free of charge to help you understand what your case is truly worth.
Vermont Dog Bite Laws
Vermont dog bite laws are not as generous as New Hampshire’s. In Vermont, the owner of a dog is only liable for damages if they had prior knowledge of the animal’s aggressive disposition and were negligent. If this seems like a legal grey area that’s because it is. You need an experienced dog bite lawyer on your side as soon as you are injured to help establish liability and get the justice you are due.
Protecting Others from Dog Bites
Though there are times when dog attacks come from nowhere and are impossible to stop, there are some things you can do as a pet owner and parent to help avoid the lifelong injuries and physical and emotional scars associated with dog bites.
Prevention measures for the dog owner:
- Protect your dog against rabies by keeping the immunizations up to date
- Leash your dog when out of the house. This will prevent him from running free and possibly biting someone
- Properly socialize your dog. A socially friendly dog is less likely to become afraid and bite someone
- Play only nonaggressive games such as fetch. Aggressive wrestling or tug of war games can foster inappropriate behaviors in your pet
- Spay or neuter your dog. Once spayed or neutered they will be less likely to bite.
Prevention measures for adults and children:
- Small children should never be left alone with a pet
- Teach your children to ask for permission before petting or approaching a dog
- Keep away from a dog's fence. They consider this their territory and may bite if their space is threatened
- Do not disturb a sleeping, eating or drinking dog
- A mother dog will be very protective of her pups. Do not try to get too close or pick up her puppy
- Do not run or scream near a friendly or aggressive dog. This will only upset and make the dog more aggressive
- Avoid looking directly into a dog's eyes. This is seen as a challenge or threat
- Never tease or taunt a dog. Even a dog behind a fence may get loose and attack the teaser
Types of Dog Bite Wounds
Data from the Center for Disease Control gives us a very good picture of who is being attacked that what the extent of their injuries are. These data show that the most common injuries caused by dog bites are:
- Puncture wounds
This list deals only with physical wounds. In addition to these, there is the chance that a dog bite victim may have a severe mental reaction to the event. If the victim is a young child the chance of a long lasting fear of dogs, fear of leaving the house and separation anxiety are even higher.
Symptoms of PTSD
A dog attack can be incredibly frightening, especially for children. A child who is bitten by a canine might not only lose trust in dogs, but could also develop a more serious anxiety disorder. If your child has been the victim of a dog bite, you need to watch out for the warning signs of PTSD, which include:
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Thumb sucking
- Sleep disturbances
- Easily startled
- Problems in school
Not Every Dog Bite Injury Is Visible to the Naked Eye
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child following a dog attack, you need to seek medical care. An evaluation will be conducted to determine if your child is, in fact, suffering from PTSD. Once diagnosed, the medical professional might recommend treatment, such as therapy and/or medication.
A serious dog bite injury doesn’t have to be physical. It can be emotional, which is often far more damaging. If your child has suffered from a pet attack, you may be able to hold the animal’s owner liable for the injuries. It is important that you speak with an experienced New Hampshire dog bite attorney who can explain your legal rights.
Dog Bite Treatment
While children are often the targets of canine attacks, a dog bite can happen to anyone, at any age. If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Hampshire dog attack, it is crucial that you seek medical care. A dog bite that punctures, tears or cuts the skin could lead to further complications. Even if these injuries are not apparent, you still need to keep on eye on the dog bite wound, as infection is a serious cause for concern.
According to MedicineNet.com, when it comes to the treatment of a dog bite injury, there are three crucial areas that must be addressed, including:
- Damage to the skin: This is one of the easiest treatment issues to address, as you can visibly identify the damage
- Injury to the muscle, nerve or bone: In addition to skin damage, a doctor will also evaluate whether a patient has suffered an underlying tissue injury. For example, a lacerated tendon could impair the movement of a finger.
- Infection: An infection from a dog bite can be serious. When a dog attacks, its bite can expose the body’s tissue to bacteria, such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Pasteurella
Dog bite treatment varies based on the severity of the injuries. Some doctors will prescribe antibiotics to prevent possible infection. The skin near the wound may be closed after the injury has been cleaned, depending on the doctor's recommendation. In some cases, the wound will need to be repaired through surgery.
For a free consultation regarding your dog bite injury case, contact the Law Offices of Van Dorn & Curtiss at (866) 933-6115 or fill out our online form. Attorneys at our firm have been winning dog attack cases in Eastern Vermont and Western New Hampshire for years.