Why hire Willis, Willis & Rizzi to handle a dog bite or animal attack case
At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have a lot of experience with our local area (we are licensed personal injury attorneys in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania) animal control boards and dog wardens. This is critical when representing personal injury victims of dog bites and animal attacks because as a personal injury attorney you need to know how the local jurisdictions handle dog and animal complaints. An attorney needs to know where all the reports are, and this can be a real challenge because one animal control board will have a certain report that they use, while another animal control board will use a completely different process.
At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we handle dog bite and animal attack cases on a regular basis. You need attorneys who not only understands the applicable laws, but also the nitty gritty details of how local animal boards handle animal complaints.
Dog bite and animal attacks are very emotional injury cases
Dog bites and animal attacks are approached by the law differently than your typical personal injury case. There are a number of legal issues to explore. However, we have found that dog bites and animal attacks are far more emotional injury cases than the other personal injury cases we deal with on a daily basis such as a car accident. There are several reasons for this:
- The personal injuries tend to be more disfiguring types of injuries often to the face, or to the hands.
- The victims of animal attack injuries are often children.
- The dog or animal involved in the attack often belongs to someone close to the family such as a friend or neighbor, and sometimes even the victim’s family.
The result is that the incident has not only caused a personal injury but can also ruin a relationship between folks who were close prior to the animal attack. We’ve had dog bite cases where our client was simply dog sitting the dog for a life-long friend and sustained horrific injuries to the face and hands. We’ve had dog bite cases where children have required massive surgeries to the face at a very young and impressionable age.
Because of the nature of dog bite and animal attacks and the type of injuries sustained, these cases are very emotional.
In animal attack cases, the history of the animal is very important
When we are taking in an animal attack case (and it is typically a dog), the history of the animal is very important. We investigate a wide variety of resources from townships, cities and even state databases looking for any past incidents with the animal.
If that dog or animal has a history, then you are looking at potentially punitive damages in the case. In fact, punitive damages in the animal attack context are quite common. What we find, sadly, is that our client is often not the first person to have an incident with the dog. We often find there is a history with the dog, that the owner was instructed to take some action with the dog such as building an enclosure or keeping the dog inside and failed to do so.
The history of the dog is an important element of the case which needs to be thoroughly investigated because it can change how the insurance company will evaluate the case. In addition to the grievous injuries that the party has sustained oftentimes you have an insurance company having to consider the fact that their insured may also be subject to punitive damages.
Injuries from animal attacks are very visible and require a lot of time for treatment
When dealing with injuries from dog bites and other animal attacks, what we hear from doctors that have to try and reconstruct a hand or a face is that there is a certain amount of time that they need for the body to do what it is going to do; doctors describe it as the scar “maturing”. So, you are dealing with a situation where someone has a very serious and very visible injury to the face or arms and hands and typically there is a waiting period of 4 to 6 months at a minimum for the surgeon to decide how best to approach the problem and do their best to fix it. Ultimately what happens is called a scar revision, where the doctor will decide how to perform a surgery in such a way as to lessen the appearance. But it is very rare that a scar disappears, it is why they are called scars. So, you are dealing with situations where folks will be walking around with permanent disfigurements, and something that everyone they interact with is going to notice.