Getting bitten by a dog can be a frightening experience. The damages can be serious, both physically and psychologically. At Beall & Thies, we love dogs—on any given day, there might be three of them right here in our Baton Rouge office. But as dog lovers, we also take our responsibilities for the safety of others seriously. When our fellow dog owners don’t do that, there needs to be accountability, and state law in Louisiana provides those who have been bitten a path to compensation.
The Baton Rouge dog bite lawyers at Beall & Thies have deep experience in handling dog bite cases and getting fair settlements for victims. Call today at (225) 577-6223 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
Strict Liability & Louisiana’s One-Bite Rule
If there is reason to believe a dog is dangerous, then the state of Louisiana applies strict liability to owners. This separates dog bite cases from others in the personal injury sphere. In a standard personal injury case—let’s say a car accident—the defendant can argue that they were acting responsibility, obeying the rules of the road, and that the accident was really no one’s fault. To put it in legal terms, the defendant can argue they did not breach their duty of care.
When strict liability kicks in though, the defendant’s care, or lack thereof is no longer relevant. The mere fact that there was a dog bite, and the victim was damaged is sufficient grounds for a lawsuit and financial recovery.
The key though, is that for strict liability to apply the dog must be considered dangerous. There are several criteria used in determining when that threshold is crossed, but it is most commonly called “the one bite rule”. That is, on the first bite, a dog owner is allowed to defend themselves on the grounds they exercised a reasonable duty of care. But after that, the dog is considered a potential danger and strict liability applies to any future bites.
One important defense that dog owners can still turn to is provocation. If a dog was provoked in any way—and this can include something as basic as an uninvited attempt to pet the dog—then that can be a defense against strict liability. If a dog bite happens in the presence of witnesses, the victim is well-advised to get their contact information, so our Baton Rouge dog bites attorney can follow up and investigate whether the provocation defense will be used and how it might be defeated in court.
Dog Bite Damages & the Severity of the Bite
The victim of a bite can collect damages based on how severe the damages are, both financially and mentally. The financial damages start with the costs of treating the wound, along with any follow-up. It’s also possible that the experience may require some therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. That cost of that psychiatric care can and should be a part of any fair settlement.
Mental trauma goes beyond the costs of care. Let’s say a dog bite happened along a victim’s favorite walking trail, and they are now terrified of going back there. That constitutes a loss of quality of life. What if the victim feels real fear in the presence of their neighbor’s dog?
All of these forms of depression and anxiety, to the extent that they can be substantiated by witness testimony, can be factored into a dog bite settlement. It’s the job of our Baton Rouge dog bites lawyer to develop that evidence and testimony in a way that helps a court understand how deeply the experience impacted the victim’s life.
Beall & Thies has been in business as a firm for over 20 years. Individually, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience. Even with all that success under our belt, we’re still fresh and ready to take on the next challenge. If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, we’re ready to hear from you.
"Never expected to be in a predicament where I would need to hire an attorney but, I wouldn’t recommend anyone but, B&T. They helped my father in his predicament and they’ve helped me in mine. Continuous support throughout the entire process"Den'a Wells
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Russell W. Beall
"Russell W. Beall is a founding partner in the Baton Rouge law firm of Beall & Thies LLC. His main emphasis of practice is on Civil Litigation including Torts, Products Liability, and Premises Liability. Russell is a frequent guest speaker at Louisiana State University Law School where he participates in the Appellate Advocacy Program and the Professionalism Orientation. He earned his B.A. degree at Louisiana State University (1998) and his J.D Louisiana State University Law School (2001). Russell is an active member of the Louisiana Association for Justice and is frequently invited to be a guest speaker at continuing legal education seminars."Read Full Bio
William W. Thies
"William W. Thies was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1974 moving with his family to Slidell, Louisiana at seven years of age. Mr. Thies graduated from Slidell High School in 1992. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and political science from Louisiana State University in 1996 and his Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center in 2001. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May 2002. He is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, American Bar Associations, and the Louisiana Association of Justice. He is admitted to practice in all state courts, the United States District Court for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Louisiana, as well as the United States Supreme Court."Read Full Bio
"Jacob H. Thomas is originally from the Piney Hills of North Louisiana, known for producing great litigators such as Huey P. Long as well as several other notable statesmen on the both the federal and state levels.Read Full Bio
Jake is a graduate of Jonesboro-Hodge High School and Northwestern State University where he was a member of the Theta Mu chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the NSU Presidential Leadership Program, and the Inter-Fraternity Council serving as Vice President."
"Aaron Humphreys joined Beall & Thies, LLC as an associate attorney in the fall of 2016. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May of 2016. Aaron is also a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and the Louisiana Association of Justice."Read Full Bio
"George G. Caballero practices general civil law and focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury, wills, and successions. George joined Beall & Thies as of counsel in 2017 after starting Caballero Law Firm in 1993. Mr. Caballero has over thirty years of experience as an attorney and has served clients in various matters ranging from business and tort litigation, business, family law, and successions.Read Full Bio
Mr. Caballero is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Mississippi College School of Law. Upon graduation, he immediately went into the private practice of law, practicing in both Louisiana and Mississippi."
Jewel “Trae” E. Welch, III
"Trae is a lifelong resident of the Baker-Zachary area. Trae is the son of The Honorable Judge Duke Welch, currently presiding on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, and former East Baton Rouge Councilwoman, Roxson Welch. Trae is married to the former Lynn Caldwell of Tallulah, Louisiana. Together Trae and Lynn are raising their two children Quade and Vivian."Read Full Bio