A dog attack is one of the most traumatizing events a person can endure. A dog bite victim can suffer painful and debilitating injuries with even just one bite. In the most severe animal attacks, a person may be killed. This is often the case when the victim is a child.
The Albuquerque dog bite lawyers help victims and families take legal action to seek financial compensation for their devastating losses.
To learn more about how a dog bite claim can help you, contact Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm in Albuquerque.
Our New Mexico personal injury law firm offers free consultations. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost case evaluation with an experienced dog bite attorney on our team.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Dog Bite Claim in New Mexico?
Pursuing a dog bite lawsuit is not something we recommend undertaking on your own. It is a highly complicated legal process that involves a thorough understanding of New Mexico dog bite law, homeowners insurance policies, and personal injury litigation.
More importantly, laboring to uphold your rights on your own is an enormous task when you are also working toward physical and psychological recovery from your injuries.
A skilled dog bite lawyer can handle all legal matters in a prompt and professional manner. You’ll never have to worry that you are missing deadlines, submitting the wrong document, or inadvertently jeopardizing your claim to dog bite compensation.
The dog bite attorneys from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm have been handling complex dog bite cases for many years in Albuquerque, NM and throughout the region. We understand the challenges that can come with dog bite claims, and we are more than prepared to take on those challenges for you.
Why Choose Buckingham Barrera Vega After an Albuquerque Dog Bite Injury?
Choosing an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer is a very personal decision. We are confident that our attorneys have the skill and experience to handle even the most complicated dog bite cases. But we also hope you come to our office for a free consultation, so you can decide for yourself if we are the right fit for your case.
Your Albuquerque dog bite attorney from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm will:
- Provide individualized support, guidance, and first-class legal representation
- Handle all insurance company communications on your behalf
- Utilize a wealth of legal resources to build the strongest case possible
- Seek full and fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages
- Foster a meaningful attorney-client relationship through honest, open communication
- Use our successes in past dog bite lawsuits to the advantage of your personal injury claim
Call or fill out a no-obligation online contact form to reach out to us. We will be in touch soon to schedule your free consultation at our Albuquerque, NM office.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
A dog attack can result in a number of serious and life-threatening injuries. Your dog bite lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can assess your medical records and work with medical experts to fully value the cost of your injuries in your dog bite claim.
A successful claim will compensate the full cost of all current and future medical bills stemming from your dog bite injuries.
A canine attack can lead to physical injuries, psychological injuries, and diseases and infections:
A dog’s teeth are sharp and designed for tearing flesh. Dog bite laws exist because legislative bodies recognize the extreme harm that can come when a canine attacks. The injured party may suffer:
- Facial injuries
- Torn skin and puncture wounds
- Crushed and fractured bones
- Permanent scarring
- Soft tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Degloving injuries (when skin and tissue are torn away from underlying muscle and bone)
- Severed arteries and veins
Psychological and Emotional Injuries
Physical pain is not the only consequence of an animal attack. Dog bite injuries often extend to a person’s mental health and overall emotional wellbeing. It’s very common for victims to be severely scarred, suffering years of fear, anxiety, and sometimes even guilt after the incident.
Dog attacks frequently lead to:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Shame or guilt
- Fear of dogs
- Fear of going outside
- Fear of participating in activities where animals may be present
- Other psychological injuries
Potential Infections From a Dog Bite
One of the main concerns of a dog bite is infection. A dog’s mouth contains germs that can easily enter the wound during an attack.
Dog bite victims have been known to develop the following infections from a dog bite:
- Capnocytophaga bacteria
Always Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Canine Bite Injury
After a dog bite, it’s essential that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some wounds may require a cast, stitches, or reconstructive surgery. You may also need a vaccination to guard against possible infection. Your doctor will be able to give you a treatment plan to get you on the road to recovery.
Seeking medical treatment in a timely fashion will help prevent your injuries from getting worse. But your record of medical treatment is also important evidence in your personal injury case. This is proof that your dog bite injuries required medical care and the extent and cause of those injuries.
New Mexico Dog Owner Laws
In Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico, dog owners have to follow a number of laws to protect both the animal and others.
State law requires a dog owner to:
- Maintain full responsibility for the dog’s care and behavior
- Vaccinate and microchip their pet
- Keep dogs on a leash when on a walk
- Register and follow certain rules for any dog considered dangerous
What Is Angel’s Law?
Under Angel’s Law, owners who do not maintain control of their dogs on their property are liable if the dog causes harm. Dangerous animals threaten the safety of Albuquerque inhabitants and can cause severe harm to those who cannot protect themselves.
If a dog has a history of aggressive behavior or a previous incident of attacking someone, it may be considered a “dangerous dog.” The pet owner will then be required to adhere to additional responsibilities.
These may include attending dog obedience training courses, using a muzzle when walking, and notifying the animal control authority if the dog escapes or attacks. If a known dangerous canine bites and injures another person, the owner may be subject to stricter legal penalties.
A person has the legal right to report a potentially dangerous dog. There will be an investigation of the owner’s property where the dog lives. If the authorities determine the dog is dangerous, the City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department will give the dog owner a written notice.
When a dog is considered dangerous, it cannot:
- Go to dog parks or be off the property without a leash
- Be on a property without a secure fence or secure facility
- Be in a vehicle where it can get out and attack another person or animal
The owner of a dangerous dog needs to have an insurance policy with a minimum of $500,000 for injury to any person or property.
There are many more requirements for owners of dangerous dogs under Angel’s Law. Our lawyers will be able to discover if the dog’s owner failed to meet any of the mandatory requirements.
Does New Mexico Have a Dog Bite Law?
The state of New Mexico does not have a specific dog bite law. Instead, there are generally two legal doctrines under which an attack victim may pursue civil legal action:
- The one-bite rule
- Dog owner negligence
The One-Bite Rule
The one-bite rule means that an animal has previously bitten someone at least once before. If that is the case, the dog’s owner should be aware and take reasonable care to properly control and prevent their pet from attacking another person.
New Mexico is what’s sometimes referred to as a “one-bite state.” This means that if the pet has never bitten someone before, it may be difficult to hold the owner liable, as they did not know there was a risk of attack.
In this way, dogs in Albuquerque often get a “free pass” for a first-time bite. But if the owner knew (or should have been aware) of their pet’s tendency toward aggressive behavior, they may be held liable for damages in the event of an attack.
Pet Owner Negligence
Negligence, in legal terms, means that a person or party failed to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others.
Using the concept of negligence in a dog bite case, your lawyer will work to show that the dog’s owner failed in some way to protect others from injury, even if their dog did not previously attack someone.
For example, taking a dog for a walk in downtown Albuquerque without a leash—or allowing it to run free through a park where children are playing—could be seen as negligence. You will need to work with an experienced dog bite lawyer who can analyze the facts of your case to determine in owner negligence was a factor.
Who Is Liable for Dog Bites in Albuquerque, NM?
In most New Mexico dog bite lawsuits, the dog’s owner will be the party liable for damages caused by a canine attack. As a pet is viewed in the eyes of the law as the owner’s property, pet owners are responsible for any harm that ensues if the dog attacks another person.
However, less commonly, another party could be named as the defendant in a dog bite case. Other potentially liable parties include:
- A landlord or property owner of the location where the bite occurred
- A person or persons who provoked a dog attack
- Another third-party entity
It’s relatively rare for someone other than the dog’s owner to be liable for dog bites. A landlord may only be liable if they created or failed to prevent dangerous conditions, such as if they allowed a known dangerous animal to live in an apartment building with many other residents.
Your dog bite lawyer will need to examine the actions of all involved parties, including anyone who may have provoked the attack, to accurately determine liability. While this takes time and thorough investigation, it is the best way to achieve justice and be sure the right party is held legally responsible for the wrongdoing that resulted in your dog bite injury.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
Homeowners insurance in New Mexico covers the policyholder’s pets, in addition to other property. Therefore, it is most common for the pet owner’s homeowners insurance company to compensate the victim of a dog bite injury.
New Mexico law can become complicated in this area if the animal’s owner is covered by renter’s insurance or a policy that excludes pet attacks. Your Albuquerque dog bite attorney can help review the insurance policies of involved parties and advise the best avenue by which to seek compensation.
Compensation for Victims of Dog Attacks in New Mexico
The costs associated with an animal bite can be shockingly high. A successful personal injury lawsuit will ensure those costs are not your financial burden to bear.
Your dog bite injury claim should pursue financial compensation in the form of both economic and non-economic damages:
- Cost of medical care and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Repair or replacement of any valuable property damaged in the attack
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Psychological injury
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished quality of life
Wrongful Death Benefits
If your loved one lost their life in a fatal attack, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
This can help your family recover damages such as:
- Lost wages that supported the family
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills incurred before the deceased’s death
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
Your dog bite injury should not amount to your financial devastation. Your Albuquerque dog bite lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm will protect and defend your rights at every step of the legal process.
Seek Help From a Top-Rated Albuquerque Dog Bite Lawyer
Deciding to bring a claim forward can be a difficult decision. But when someone else’s negligence leads to your injuries, you should seek compensation to afford the care you need, pay off medical expenses, and recover your lost wages.
At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, we do everything we can to provide you with financial stability and peace of mind.
It’s important to start your case as soon as possible so we can recover evidence and speak to eyewitnesses.
Don’t wait. Contact us soon to take advantage of your free consultation.