Shreveport Dog Bite Lawyer
Compassionate Injury Attorneys Helping Dog Bite Victims in Shreveport-Bossier City and North Louisiana
Remarkably, almost four and a half million people are bitten by dogs every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of these attacks, several hundred thousand people are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital. Most tragically, dog bites take the lives of dozens of people every year, including toddlers too young to appreciate the danger a dog can pose.
Dog owners in Louisiana can be held strictly liable to injury victims when their animals attack another. Louisiana dog bite law is complicated and confusing, though, and owners and their insurance companies can put up defenses to lessen the extent of the damages they have to pay or even avoid liability altogether. Getting legal representation from an experienced dog bite lawyer is essential to being successful on your claim and getting the full amount of compensation you need to cover the costs of your injuries. At Rice & Kendig, our Shreveport dog bite lawyers are experienced in dog bite litigation and can help you determine your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Learn more about Louisiana dog bite law below, and call Rice & Kendig if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite or animal attack in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana.
What Does Louisiana Law Have to Say About Dog Bites?
Article 2321 of the Louisiana Civil Code covers dog bites and other damage caused by animals. This section of the law is as follows:
The owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal. However, he is answerable for the damage only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his animal’s behavior would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nonetheless, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person’s provocation of the dog. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.
This law requires several elements that must be present and proven by the injury victim before the victim can hold the dog owner liable for the harm done. Generally speaking, the victim must be able to prove all of the following:
- The owner knew the dog might attack or bite
- The owner could have prevented the attack by using reasonable care
- The owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the attack
Dog owners are “strictly liable” in Louisiana for the damages caused by their animal if they could have prevented the attack by using reasonable care. If the owner knew the dog posed a risk, then any bite that occurs could have been prevented because the owner could have taken precautions to protect the victim. Provocation is always a defense, however, so expect in any dog bite case for the owner and the insurance company to try to raise this defense. It’s essential to have Rice & Kendig on your side to gather the facts and evidence in the case and prove the owner’s liability, while at the same time protecting you from claims that your own actions somehow invited the attack.
What Is Res Ipsa Loquitor?
The Louisiana dog bite statute ends with the statement, “Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor in an appropriate case.” Res ipsa loquitor is an established legal doctrine that allows an injury victim to prove the defendant’s liability simply by showing that the injury occurred. Res ipsa loquitor literally means “the thing speaks for itself,” so the doctrine can apply to situations where the fact that the dog bite happened is by itself all the evidence needed to hold the owner strictly liable. With over 40 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases in Shreveport-Bossier City and North Louisiana, the injury lawyers at Rice & Kendig understand how to use this doctrine when it applies, as well as other legal principles such as negligence and strict liability.
Is a Leash Law Violation Evidence of Negligence?
If a dog bite occurs while the animal is unlawfully off-leash, this fact can be used as evidence that the owner was negligent in handling and supervising the dog. According to the leash law in Caddo Parish, a dog found outside the home or yard while unleashed is considered to be an at-large stray. Also, a dangerous dog is not allowed off the owner’s premises unless the dog is appropriately muzzled and leashed.
Get Dedicated Legal Help After a Dog Bite Injury in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana
If a dog bite has severely injured you or a loved one in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana, get help from a team of dedicated and successful injury lawyers who will work to see that you are taken care of and fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Call Rice & Kendig for a free consultation at 318-222-2772.