Dog Bites and Attacks
Dog bites can be dangerous. We'll fight for the compensation you need
Being bitten by a dog can be an intensely traumatic and painful experience. Dog bites can cause lacerations, puncture wounds, broken bones and disfigurement. The likelihood of infection is high, leading to other complications. Children are among the most common victims of dog bites, and the stress of the experience can lead to serious psychological trauma.
In New Mexico, recovering damages (the legal term for financial compensation) after a dog bite can be a difficult process. At the Szantho Law Firm, our legal knowledge, discipline and aggressive approach can help you get the compensation you deserve after your dog bite.
New Mexico's dog bite laws are complicated. We can make sense of them
The state of New Mexico does not have a specific statute governing dog bites. Rather, these cases are handled using a combination of case law, local laws and general premises liability, a term that refers to the legal responsibilities of property owners. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- A dog owner who knew or should have known that the dog was vicious is liable to the victim. This is where we can apply the so-called "One Bite Rule." This means if the dog has bitten someone in the past, the dog owner can be held liable. However, even if the dog had never bitten anyone before, the owner may still be liable if the dog had previously behaved aggressively toward humans or if the dog is a dangerous breed.
- Owners are expected to act in a reasonable manner to prevent bites. For instance, people who use guard dogs are required to post appropriate warning signs. When dog attacks happen at a home or business, the owner may be liable under his or her general obligation to keep the premises safe.
- Even if you were trespassing on the dog owner's property, the owner may be held responsible. This is especially true when the victim is a child, under the legal doctrine of "attractive nuisance."
- In Albuquerque, a city ordinance called Angel's Law holds dog owners liable if they allow dangerous dogs to run loose in the community or fail to safely and humanely restrain them on their property.
Depending on the circumstances of your dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, psychological trauma, pain and suffering, disability, loss of wages and even plastic surgery to correct scarring or disfigurement. In many cases, the long-term impact of a dog bite can be reduced if you consult with an attorney and a medical professional to see if plastic surgery is an option. If the bite was a result of extraordinary negligence on the owner's part, you may also be awarded punitive damages.