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With offices across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, and representing clients hurt by slip and fall incidents, car accidents, wrongful deaths, drug and medical device injuries, dog bites, nursing home abuse and motorcycle crashes, we are available where you need us and when you need us.
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Is an Iowa landlord legally responsible for injuries caused when a renter’s dog bites someone?
Iowa’s dog bite statute applies only to dog owners, not the landlords who rent property to dog owners. Thus, it is often easier to seek compensation from the owner of the dog if you’ve been injured on a rental property. However, in some cases—such as when the renter does not have renter’s insurance or significant assets—you may be left without a recovery from the dog’s owner after a dog bite injury.
Landlord Liability May Be Difficult to Establish
Generally, Iowa landlords are not held liable for dog attacks in areas that the landlords do not control. Thus, if the attack occurred inside of a house or apartment that was controlled by the tenant, then the landlord would likely not be liable for the injuries from a dog bite. However, if the dog attack occurred in a common area and the landlord knew or should have known that the dog was vicious or likely to bite, attack, or be aggressive, then it is possible that the landlord could be held responsible for the dog bite injuries.
Get the Help You Deserve After an Iowa Dog Bite
If you’ve been bitten by a dog on an Iowa rental property, then it is important to talk to an experienced dog bite lawyer about your rights and about how to best protect your recovery. Please start a live chat with us now for more information about what you can do to get the recovery that you deserve for your injury.
My child was bitten by an unregistered dog in Iowa, and I’m not sure the dog had received its rabies shots. What should I do?
Iowa cities and towns require that pet dogs be registered with the municipality. Part of the registration process requires proof of a rabies vaccination from the pet’s veterinarian. However, some pet owners fail to comply with these ordinances and, thus, when someone is bitten or hurt by the dog it can be difficult to know whether the dog had received its rabies vaccine.
What Will Happen to Your Child Now?
Your child’s doctor is in the best position to determine what treatment your child may need. If there is no proof that the dog that bit your child had the rabies vaccine, then your child’s doctor may recommend that your child be treated. Rabies treatment is a series of shots that are typically given over a 14-day period. The shots are received in the arm.
While multiple shots—particularly for a child—are often unpleasant, they may be necessary to prevent rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and nervous system and usually results in death. There is currently no way to test for rabies in a live animal. Thus, if there is no proof that the dog that bit your child had the rabies vaccine, then your child may need to undergo treatment.
Of course, if you know who owns the dog that hurt your child, then you may be able to pursue legal damages against that person for the significant harm that has been done to your child. To find out more about your child’s legal rights after an Iowa dog bite, please read our FREE dog bite brochure, Because You Don't Always Get a Warning.
I live in Iowa and I witnessed my child get bitten by a dog. Can I recover damages?
Maybe. In 1981, the Iowa Supreme Court recognized that a bystander to a personal injury accident could recover for his or her emotional damages in some situations.
Specifically, in the case of Barnhill v. Davis, 200 N.W.2d 104 (Iowa 1981), the court found that a person who was not physically injured in an accident might be able to recover damages in a bystander emotional distress claim if:
- The bystander was near the scene. If you saw your child get attacked, then this element of your claim is likely satisfied.
- The bystander’s emotional distress was caused from observing the incident and not because the bystander learned of the incident after it happened. In other words, the court distinguished the emotional distress of seeing an accident happen from learning about the accident, and you would need to prove that your emotional distress was caused by actually witnessing the dog bite your child.
- The bystander and the victim were married or related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. This would include a parent–child relationship.
- The bystander believed, and a reasonable person in the position of the bystander would have believed, that the victim would be seriously injured or killed. You would need to prove that during the attack you believed that your child would be seriously injured or killed, and not merely hurt.
The bystander’s emotional distress must be serious. It is not enough that you are stressed about your child’s recovery or nervous around dogs. Instead, your emotional distress must be significant enough to give rise to a legal claim.
A bystander emotional distress claim is not always easy to prove. However, if you suffer physical symptoms from the horror of watching your child get hurt by a dog, then you could have a legal claim that is worth considering.
How long do I have to file a dog bite lawsuit in Iowa?
If you’ve been bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog in Iowa, then the state limits the amount of time that you have to bring a lawsuit against the dog owner. The reason for the time limitation is not to pressure you or add unnecessary stress to what is already a difficult time. Instead, statutes of limitations exist to promote a fair and timely resolution to your claim so that evidence remains available and both parties have some certainty about the timeline for the claim.
Generally, You Have Two Years to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Iowa…But There Are Exceptions
Iowa law provides you with two years to file a lawsuit in court. The statute of limitations starts running on the date of your injury, unless an exception to the law applies. The statute of limitations may be extended if:
- The person bitten by the dog was a minor at the time of the bite and his or her parents did not bring a claim. In this case, the statute of limitations would typically expire on the victim’s 19th birthday.
- The person bitten by the dog was not mentally competent at the time of the injury. Thus, the victim could not make a competent decision about whether to bring a claim.
- The defendant (typically the dog owner) files bankruptcy. In this case the statute of limitations may be put on hold while the bankruptcy case is proceeding.
Whether or not these exceptions apply, there may be benefits to filing a claim sooner rather than later.
Don’t Wait—Take Action Today
There is no reason to wait until you are close to the time that the statute of limitations may expire. Instead, there are two important benefits to taking action quickly after you are hurt. First, the sooner you file a claim the sooner you may be able to recover damages, and second, more evidence may be available if you pursue a claim quickly.
What’s going to happen to my child if her facial scar revision surgery is not successful after a dog bite?
Facial scar revision surgery sounds promising. It sounds like your child may not have to show the physical scars of her dog bite for the rest of her life.
Unfortunately, facial scar revision surgery is not the same as eliminating scarring. The plastic surgeon may be able to revise the scars. The doctor may be able to:
- Make the scar smaller.
- Make the scar blend in with the skin a bit better.
- Move the scar to the shadow of your child’s face or to her hairline.
Yet the scar will still remain. It not usually possible to make a scar disappear completely. In addition, the area that the dog bit may have been so large that a satisfactory revision may be impossible.
Furthermore, the surgery may be traumatic itself. It may be painful and it may be scary for your child, and your child may have to continue to live with the uncomfortable acts and prejudice assumptions that some people make when they see a person with a facial deformity.
We are not trying to discourage you from consenting to a facial scar revision surgery for your child. Instead, we are trying to encourage you to do two things. First, we recommend having an honest conversation with your child’s doctor and seeking a second opinion, if appropriate. Make sure that you have the knowledge that you need to make an informed decision on your child’s behalf. Second, we recommend learning about your child’s legal rights. Know what you can do to protect your child’s future.
Please read our free dog bite brochure for more information on how to help your child.
I was bitten by a dog in Cedar Rapids. It is not a serious bite, but I have diabetes and I know I have special risks. Why are dog bites so dangerous to those with diabetes?
Diabetes affects one’s ability to fight infection and heal after an injury.
The mouths of dogs are home to hundreds of different types of bacteria and viruses. Some of these are very dangerous to humans. When a dog bite contains small levels of a dangerous bacterium, a healthy person will be able to fight off an infection. A person who has diabetes may not.
Any diabetic person who is bitten by a dog in Iowa should see a doctor immediately and watch for signs of infection. These include:
- Red streaks
- Discharge from the wound
- Swollen lymph glands
A dog bite can cause more than infection. The stress of recovering after an Iowa dog bite can affect blood sugar and put the dog bite victim at risk of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or diabetic shock.
Diabetic dog bite victims should take all diabetes medications and insulin according to their regular schedule. They should test their blood glucose every four hours and weigh themselves every day. They should not skip meals.
See a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms of infection or diabetic emergency:
- You have lost five pounds or more.
- You have a fever over 101 degrees.
- You feel too sick to eat normally.
- You are unable to keep food down.
- You have difficulty breathing or chest pain.
- You feel sleepy or lethargic.
- You are unable to think clearly.
- There is a moderate to high amount of ketones in your urine.
- Your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or higher than 300 mg/dL.
Iowa dog bite victims have a right to expect compensations for any dog bite-related medical bills. This can include diabetic treatment. To learn more about your rights, contact Hupy and Abraham at 888-807-2752 and ask to schedule a free consultation with a Cedar Rapids dog bite attorney.
The dog that bit me left an open and painful wound. As I was getting treatment I got a call that the dog that bit me had rabies. Could that affect my Iowa dog bite recovery?
Yes. That news could affect both your physical and legal recoveries. You should speak to your doctor immediately about the treatments that you might require if you have been exposed to rabies.
When you are physically and emotionally ready to consider your legal and financial recovery, it is also important to talk to your Cedar Rapids dog attack lawyer about how the rabies may affect your legal recovery. Generally, Iowa law allows you to recover full damages even if the dog was suffering from a rabies attack at the time of your bite if:
- The dog owner had reasonable grounds to know that the dog was sick; and
- The dog owner could have prevented your injury with reasonable effort.
If the dog owner could not reasonably have known that his or her dog had rabies or prevented your dog bite or dog attack injury, then the dog owner—and his or her insurer—may not be liable.
Thus, it is important that you contact an experienced Cedar Rapids dog bite lawyer if you know, or suspect, that the dog that bit you had rabies. It could affect the outcome of your case. We encourage you to contact our Cedar Rapids dog bite attorneys today at 1-800-800-5678 and to read our FREE dog bites brochure to learn more about your rights and possible recovery.
My daughter was bitten by a dog in Cedar Rapids. Her injuries have healed, but she has a significant amount of scarring. How are dog bite scars treated?
Dog bites do more than cut tear skin. They may destroy layers of fat and tissue. They may even crush bone. Because the damage is irregular, even minor dog bites can cause serious scarring. Once a scar forms, it is permanent.
Scars affect more than appearance. They can impact the way the skin moves and the way it functions. In some cases, scar damage to the skin also affects the movement of the muscles and tendons below the injury.
There are two major types of scars that result from Iowa dog bites:
- Keloid scars: Keloid scars are produced when the skin makes too much collagen in response to an injury. The extra collagen produces a skin growth on the injury site.
- Hypertrophic scars: A hypertrophic scar can be recognized as a flat, thick, raised texture at the site of the injury.
Dog bites may also affect the underlying fat, bone, and muscle. This can cause a change in the shape of the face.
Reconstructive plastic surgeons use a variety of treatments to minimize or disguise scars. Some options for Iowa dog bite scar treatment include:
- Skin flaps. Scar tissue is surgically removed from the dog bite injury. The area is then covered with skin flap made of healthy, unscarred skin.
- Skin grafts. Scar tissue is surgically removed. The tissue is replaced with healthy tissue from another part of the patient’s body.
- Fat grafting. Fat grafting is used to fill in indentations in the tissue underlying a dog bite scar.
- Z-plasty. The dog bite scar is surgically moved to a less conspicuous area of the body.
- Dermabrasion, laser treatment, and chemical peels. The upper layers of the skin are removed to lighten a scar or make a scar less prominent.
- Steroid injections. Steroid injections may help reduce the size of both keloid and hypertrophic scars.
Scar removal can be expensive, but as an Iowa dog bite victim, you should not have to pay this expense. Our Cedar Rapids dog bite lawyers fight to hold dog owners responsible for the injuries caused by their dog. To schedule a free consultation, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. Just for calling, we will send you a FREE copy of our new dog bites brochure, without obligation.
My neighbor’s small white yappy dog jumped up and bit my toddler on the face. I’m not sure about the specific breed of the dog, but I know it wasn’t a Pit Bull or Rottweiler. Does the breed matter? Should I contact a Cedar Rapids dog bite lawyer?
We are so sorry to hear that your toddler was hurt. It can be incredibly frightening to see your child in so much pain. As you know all too well, any breed of dog can bite and cause injury to a child. Danger is, unfortunately, not limited to the breeds of dog that most often make the news for being dangerous.
Accordingly, the law makes no distinctions between dog breeds. Whether your child has been hurt by a Toy Poodle or a Pit Bull, a Bichon Frise or a Rottie, your child has the same legal rights to recovery. Those rights may include compensation for past and future medical costs, pain, suffering, out of pocket costs and other damages. The specific amount of damages that your child may recover depends on many factors including:
- The child’s specific injuries.
- Whether the dog was violent prior to the child’s injury.
- The state in which the child was injured.
Do not let the fact that your child was bit by a cute little dog prevent him from recovering the same damages that he would recover if a breed that is known to be more aggressive hurt him. Instead, contact an experienced Cedar Rapids dog bite lawyer today to find out more about your rights. You can reach one of our personal injury lawyers today via this website or by calling 1-800-800-5678.