Answers to Your Iowa Dog Bite Legal Questions

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  • Who should pay for my injuries from a dog bite at a vet’s office or other Iowa business?

    The dog owner or the business owner may be responsible if you have been attacked or bitten in a commercial area

    The same rules apply regardless of where your dog bite occurs in Iowa. According to Iowa dog bite laws, the owner of the dog is responsible for paying your damages after you’ve been bitten by a dog at vet’s office, pet groomer, retail store, or other business location in the state of Iowa.

    But It Might Not Be That Simple

    Before you can recover damages, you will need to prove who the owner of the dog was at the time that you were injured and whether anyone else, such as a landlord or business owner, might be liable for your injuries.

    One way to prove who owns a dog is to look at the dog’s registration papers. If the person to whom the dog was registered and with whom the dog lives was present at the time that you were injured, then it is likely that that person will be considered to be the dog owner and it is that person who will need to pay your damages.

    However, that may not be the only way to prove ownership of a dog in Iowa. If you can prove that someone else, such as a vet, groomer, or pet sitter had the dog in his possession at the time of the bite and was keeping it in a manner that an owner typically does, then that person may be considered to be the dog owner for purposes of your dog bite claim.

    Additionally, you may have another cause of action against the property owner or manager if you can prove that the owner or manager knew or should have known that there was a dog on the property that could pose a threat to others.

    You Need to Take Action Against the Right Defendant

    Liability can be complicated, but you need to take action against the right defendant in order to recover damages. To find out more about who may be liable for your dog bite injuries and to get the recovery that you deserve, please contact us via this website at any time. We would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation so that you can make an informed decision about pursuing a fair and just recovery.

  • What should I do if I was bitten by someone’s dog at his or her home in Iowa?

    Look first to the owner for compensation after a dog bite attack on someone else’s property

    There are three things that you should do as soon as you are physically able to do so.

    First, Get Medical Help

    The first thing that you should do is to get medical help. Medical attention can help control your pain, treat your wounds, and prevent infections. Your diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis may also be important to your legal and financial recoveries.

    Next, Learn About Your Rights

    You need to understand the Iowa dog bite law to determine if you can recover damages and what those damages may include.

    The Iowa dog bite statute allows people who have been hurt by other people’s dogs to recover from the dog’s owner in most situations. Iowa is a strict liability state and the statute only provides two exceptions to this general rule. The dog owner may not be liable if you were committing an unlawful act that directly contributed to your injuries or if the dog had hydrophobia (rabies) and the dog’s owner didn’t have reasonable grounds to know it or prevent the injury.

    Assuming that the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries, the statute allows you to recover for “all damages done by the dog…” This includes you past, current, and future:

    • Medical expenses.
    • Lost income.
    • Out-of-pocket costs.
    • Pain and suffering.

    However, before you can collect these damages you must prove their value.

    Finally, Take Action to Protect Your Rights

    You may begin negotiating a settlement with the dog owner, or his insurer, at any time after your dog bite. However, it is important to know two things before you get started:

    • Anything that you say can be used against you.
    • Your right to file a lawsuit is limited by the Iowa Statute of Limitations.

    Accordingly, it is important to take the right action at the right time with the help of an experienced dog bite attorney. Please contact us via this website, to learn more about how a lawyer can help you recover the damages that you deserve after a dog bite anywhere in Iowa, including a dog owner’s home.

  • Do I have the legal right to file a dog bite injury lawsuit in Iowa?

    You may file a dog bite injury lawsuit only if you have standing to sue

    The Iowa dog bite statute gives a person who has been hurt by a dog standing, or the legal right to sue the dog owner for damages. More specifically, the law allows the injured party to recover damages from the dog owner (or his insurer) if the dog is caught in the action of worrying, maiming, or killing a domestic animal or the dog is attacking or attempting to bite a person. This general rule is subject to only two exceptions. You may not recover from the dog owner if you were doing an unlawful act that directly contributed to your injury or if the dog had hydrophobia (rabies) and the owner did not have reasonable grounds to know it and prevent the injury.

    Thus, if you were hurt and those two exceptions do not apply to your case, then you have standing to sue and recover damages.

    What If You’re Not the One Who Was Hurt?

    In some limited situations, you may have the right to bring a lawsuit on someone else’s behalf even if you were not the one injured by the dog. The three most common examples of this type of situation are if…

    • You are the parent or guardian of a minor child who was hurt by the dog.
    • You are the legal guardian of an adult who was hurt by the dog.
    • You are the representative of the estate of someone who was killed by the dog.

    Whether you need to bring a dog bite lawsuit on behalf of someone who was hurt or for yourself, it is important to learn more about how a dog bite case works in Iowa and to take action.

    You Have a Limited Time to Bring a Case

    Accordingly, it is important to talk to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible about your rights and about how to protect them. To schedule your own free, confidential consultation, please start a live chat with us now or call us directly at 1-800-800-5678.

  • I think I was partly to blame for my dog bite injury. Can I still recover damages?

    You can recover for dog attack injuries if other people were more at fault than you

    If you think that you were partly to blame for your dog bite injuries, then you can expect that the dog owner, his insurer, or his attorney is going to think the same thing and try to prevent you from recovering damages for your injuries.

    Can They Do That?

    According to the Iowa dog bite statute, the owner of a dog is not liable for damages if the person who was hurt by the dog was doing an unlawful act that directly contributed to his own injury. (See Iowa Code Chapter 351, Section 28).

    If the dog owner, his insurer, or his attorney can prove to the insurance company or the court that you were more than 50% responsible for the dog biting or otherwise hurting you, then you will not be able to recover damages.

    However, if you were partly at fault—but not primarily at fault—for your injuries, then Iowa law allows you to recover damages. Your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. For example, the jury could find that you trespassed on the dog owner’s property and the jury could decide that because of your trespassing you were 25% responsible for being bitten by the dog. In this scenario, your damages would be reduced by 25% because it would be unfair to hold the dog owner accountable for your wrongdoing. The dog owner, or his insurer, would still be responsible for paying 75% of your damages.

    Does This Sound Complicated?

    It is complicated. There is no magic formula that determines the percentage of fault. Instead, how fault is attributed during settlement negotiations or in court is going to depend on two things: the quality of evidence that is provided, and the persuasiveness of the arguments that are made.

    Thus, it is important to be prepared and to work with an experienced dog bite lawyer to get the fair recovery that you deserve. To learn more about how a dog bite case works, or to get your specific questions answered, please start a live chat with us now or call us directly at 1-800-800-5678 to schedule a free consultation.

  • Who will pay for my medical expenses after a dog bite injury in Iowa?

    A fair dog attack recovery will cover all your related medical bills

    In Iowa, a dog owner has strict liability for any injuries caused by his pet. People who are bitten by dogs in Iowa may seek compensation for all of their damages—including any medical expenses that resulted from the dog attack—as long as they were not committing an unlawful act that directly led to the bite and as long as the dog was not suffering from rabies. Generally, the dog owner’s insurance company will pay for the dog bite damages unless the dog owner did not have applicable insurance in which case the dog owner will be responsible for paying damages directly.

    How Is the Value of Medical Expenses Determined?

    The value of your medical expenses will generally depend on two things:

    • The evidence that you provide. This may include copies of your medical bills and expert testimony about the projected value of your future medical needs.
    • The quality of your arguments. You have to convince the insurance company or the court about the value of your medical expenses and fight for a fair recovery.

    Of course, before you can recover compensation for medical expenses, you have to ask for it.

    When to Request Medical Damages

    It is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible about the cost of your medical expenses and about all of your dog bite damages. If you wait too long, the statute of limitations may take away your right to recovery. Thus, you might have to take action before you have all of your reconstructive surgeries.

    An experienced dog bite attorney can help estimate the entire cost of your injury, and fight for your fair recovery of damages. To learn more, please contact us directly at 1-800-800-5678. We would be pleased to schedule a free consultation for you so that you can get the answers to your important questions.

  • Can I recover for out-of-pocket damages after a dog bite in Iowa?

    You shouldn’t have to pay for your out-of-pocket expenses caused by an Iowa dog bite

    The short answer is yes.

    The Iowa dog bite law allows people who have been hurt by other people’s dogs to recover for “all damages.” This includes, but it is not limited to, anything that you have to pay out-of-pocket because of your dog bite injuries.

    What Could Be Included?

    Your out-of-pocket expenses are likely not the biggest financial losses that you will suffer because of your dog bite injury. Things such as your lost income and your medical expenses may take a greater financial toll on you and your family. However, your other out-of-pocket or miscellaneous expenses are still deserving of compensation.

    These types of expenses could include, but are not limited to:

    • Household help that you need, such as cleaning help.
    • Transportation costs.
    • Child care costs.

    Of course, these must be costs or expenses that you incur as a direct result of your dog bite injury. If you paid for daycare prior to your dog bite, for example, and you are still paying for day care because you are still working, then your child’s day care expenses will not be reimbursable in an Iowa dog bite lawsuit. However, if you need daycare because you are physically unable to care for your child because of your dog bite injury, then that expense may be included in your dog bite recovery.

    How Do I Get Compensated for These Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

    As with other types of Iowa dog bite damages, you are going to have to advocate for your full and fair recovery. You can begin the process by talking to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer and making sure that you mention all of your costs and expenses to your attorney so that your attorney can include them in settlement negotiations. You should save receipts when possible to help prove the value of the expense.

    For more information about how to protect your full and fair recovery of damages, please start a live chat with us now.

  • Can I recover for my lost income if I was hurt by a dog in Iowa?

    You should demand fair compensation for lost income after a dog bite

    You may be able to recover for your lost income after a dog bite or other dog-related injury. However, in order to recover lost income in Iowa you are going to have to convince an insurance company or a court that:

    • Your absence from work was reasonable and necessary because of the particular injuries that you suffered from the dog bite or attack.
    • You lost (or will lose) a specific amount of income because of your injuries.

    This will require evidence.

    What Kind of Evidence Will You Need?

    You will evidence that includes:

    • Medical records to prove the extent of your injuries.
    • Your job description and duties to prove how your injuries prevent you from doing your job.
    • Information about your past income to prove what you were unable to earn. This could include your tax returns and pay stubs, for example.
    • Information about your likely future income to prove what you may be unable to earn in the future. This could include expert testimony.

    With this evidence and any other relevant evidence, you may be able to recover fair damages for your lost income.

    What Should be Included in Compensation for Lost Income?

    Your compensation for lost income after a dog bite should include your past, current, and future:

    • Wages.
    • Bonuses or other incentives.
    • Benefits.
    • Income from being self-employed.

    Proving the value of these damages can be difficult, but it is important to do so. Otherwise, you risk losing the income. Your quality of life might suffer because someone else’s dog hurt you.

    That doesn’t have to be your fate, however. Instead, you can fight for the full and fair recovery of damages from your Iowa dog bite by understanding your rights and by contacting an experienced dog bite lawyer to advocate on your behalf. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please start a live chat with us now or call us anytime—24/7—at 1-800-800-5678.

  • Will my financial compensation for a dog bite injury include money for my physical pain and emotional suffering?

    Compensation for pain and suffering may be part of your fair recovery after a dog attack

    Iowa’s dog bite law allows an injured person to recover for “all damages” done by the dog. This means that you can recover for the full amount of your damages if you are injured by a dog and you have a right to recover damages pursuant to the Iowa dog bite law.

    This Includes Damages for Pain and Suffering

    Often, some of the most significant damages suffered in a dog bite injury case are physical pain and emotional suffering. These are known as non-economic damages because you can’t simply submit a bill as to their value. Instead, the value of your pain and suffering damages is more subjective and requires evidence including, but not limited to:

    • Your own testimony about the value of your physical pain and emotional suffering. This should include specific examples about how the injury has changed your life.
    • Expert testimony, such as from a medical doctor or psychologist, about how the injury has impacted life and about how it is expected to impact your life in the future.
    • Other evidence that proves your emotional suffering or the extent of your physical pain.

    Some states have caps, or limits, on the amount of non-economic damages that you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. However, Iowa is not one of those states. Instead, state law allows you to recover for the full amount of your pain and suffering damages, as long as you can prove the value of those damages to the court.

    Start Protecting Your Recovery Right Away

    Your journey toward a fair recovery starts immediately after you are injured. It is important that you don’t do anything that could inadvertently harm your case. For example, it is important for you to gather and protect evidence, to see the doctors who might help you recover, and to refrain from speaking with the insurance company.

    It is also important to speak to an experienced dog bite lawyer who can help you get the full amount of damages that you deserve after a dog bite injury. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please start a live chat with us now or call us directly at 1-800-800-5678.

  • I was bitten by a dog on a sidewalk. The dog appeared to have escaped from a fenced-in yard. Can I still recover damages?

    A dog’s owner is liable for the animal’s actions on Iowa streets and sidewalks

    Yes, you may still be able to recover damages if the dog that hurt you was in a fenced-in yard and escaped the boundaries of the fence.

    Fences are important and may prevent some dog bite injuries. However, they are not foolproof (or even dog proof). Thus, if a dog owner is going to rely on a fence to keep his or her dog away from other people, then the owner has the responsibility to make sure that the fence is well maintained and that it is not in need of repair.

    Iowa Is a Strict Liability Dog Bite State

    In Iowa, the owner of a dog may be responsible for dog bite injuries even if the owner thought that the dog was contained in the yard. Damages may include compensation for medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and other costs incurred because of the accident.

    In order to recover damages, you will need to prove:

    • Which dog hurt you.
    • The value of your damages.

    Additionally, you should be prepared for the dog owner, or his insurer, to argue that you contributed to the accident by provoking the animal or acting in an unlawful manner. If the dog is found to have rabies, then that may also impact your potential recovery.

    However, in most cases, if you are found to have been acting lawfully on a sidewalk then it is the dog owner, or his insurer, that will pay for your damages.

    But First You Have to Take Action

    Damages are not automatic. Instead, you will need to request damages from the insurance company and negotiate a settlement, or you will need to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.

    For more information about protecting your rights after a dog bite injury in Iowa, we encourage you to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer today at 1-800-800-5678 or via our website. We also invite you to read our FREE dog bite brochure to learn more about your rights and possible recovery.

  • A dog bit me at an Iowa park. The dog had a yellow ribbon on it. What does that mean and will it impact my recovery?

    A dog's owner is not absolved of liability if the animal wears a warning yellow ribbon

    A yellow ribbon is a symbol that a dog should be approached with caution. These dogs aren’t always aggressive, but they may need space because they are sick, injured, nervous, or undergoing training. It may also mean that the dog is uncomfortable around children.

    The yellow ribbon is part of the Yellow Dog Project. The program was started in Canada in September 2012 and spread to 45 countries, mostly through Facebook posts. If you don’t know what a yellow ribbon means, you are not alone. The Facebook page has only 120,068 fans worldwide as of October 2016.

    A Yellow Ribbon Is Not a Waiver of Responsibility

    A dog wears a yellow ribbon to signify that it needs space, but this does not mean it is okay to take the dog to a highly populated area. It certainly doesn’t give an owner permission to take a potentially dangerous dog to an Iowa park or playground without fear of being found liable for any injuries caused by the dog.

    A yellow ribbon does not make a dog bite victim responsible for the dog’s behavior. Preventing dog bites is a dog owner’s responsibility regardless of where in Iowa a dog bite occurs or what color ribbon the dog is wearing.

    However, a yellow ribbon does mean that the owner is aware of the dog’s problems. When a dog owner puts his nervous pet in a potentially stressful situation, he is knowingly putting others at risk and is responsible for the consequences.

    But You Still Need to Take Action to Get the Damages You Deserve

    In Iowa, the dog owner is liable for dog bite injuries. However, it can be hard to get a dog owner to take responsibility for his pet’s actions. Hupy and Abraham can help. We can negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance company or attorney, we can make sure that your lawsuit is filed correctly before the statute of limitations expires, and we can make sure that all of your legal rights are protected. Call us at 1-800-800-5678 to schedule your free consultation.