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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

How to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Iowa

Humans can try their very best to control animals, but it is hard to tell when something will go wrong. After all, dog bite victims are not always hurt by strays. It could be a rabid dog that happens to be a domestic animal, though that should never happen.

Like a slip and fall or a car accident, this is a personal injury matter that can leave the victim in very rough shape. After all, dog bites can be fatal under the right circumstances. The question here then is - how are these incidents meant to be handled? How does one go about filing a dog bite lawsuit? Is there a time limit? What forms of compensation are available?

All the necessary details have been compiled below into a very easy-to-follow set of guidelines.

There Is a Strict Liability Iowa Dog Bite Statute in Effect

There Is a Strict Liability Iowa Dog Bite Statute in Effect

A dog owner in Iowa has strict liability. Therefore, if the dog attacks or attempts to bite someone, or if it should hurt or kill a domestic animal, things are handled a little differently than they may be in some other states.

The victim need not prove that the incident was the result of irresponsibility on the part of the owner. There is also no requirement to demonstrate that dog owners know (or should've known) that their animals may be dangerous either. All a victim needs to do is show that dog bite injuries were received, and that the animal belongs to the defendant.

This applies to just about any damages caused by the pet, and the law makes provisions for all of them. In other words, if a pitbull were to bite someone or if it simply scratched them, either would come with a full compensation penalty. For more information, a Des Moines dog bite law firm may be able to help.

Exceptions Under Iowa Law

Hearing about the strictly liable outlook can raise some concerns. For example, are there any circumstances where the matter would not be seen as some kind of unlawful act by the owner? There happen to be two exceptions to the typical rule, and these are circumstances in which:

  1. The dog has rabies - An owner can only be held liable if they knew or should have known about the pet's condition. Additionally, there must have been no steps taken to have the matter addressed. In such a case, the victim must prove the attack was a result of this kind of negligence.

  2. Victim contribution - Recovering any damages is impossible in situations where the injured party contributed to the matter. For example, they may have attacked the dog's owner, or they trespassed on private property, which led to the incident.

How Long Do Victims Have to File a Dog Bite Claim?

Personal injury matters always have what is known as a statute of limitations. This speaks to the timeline the victim has to file a lawsuit before they are no longer legally allowed to seek damages. Since dog bite occurrences fall under this category, the two-year timeline applied to injury matters must be adhered to.

In rare cases, an exception may be made, but victims are advised to begin the filing process in the shortest possible order.

What Kinds of Damages Can a Dog Attack Victim Recoup?

A victim may seek one type or a combination of several areas of compensation, depending on the unique elements of the dog attack. Some of the standard ones include:

  1. Medical bills

  2. Emotional distress

  3. Lost wages

  4. Loss of use

  5. Pain and suffering

  6. Property damage

The importance of a legal professional in properly valuing the case cannot be overstated here. Seek legal counsel as soon as time permits and for more details on how to file a lawsuit for slip and fall in Iowa.

How Should a Victim Proceed After a Dog Bite Injury?

How Should a Victim Proceed After a Dog Bite Injury?

Locate the Dog's Owner

The animal's owner may not always be easy to identify. However, finding the person is essential. One part of the reason is to find out about vaccination records, while the other part is getting contact details. Additionally, who would be better to restrain the animal and prevent any further incidents than the owner?

The Report

Once the owner has been made aware and the appropriate details are collected, the matter must be reported to local animal control. Apart from providing a notification, this will allow documentation to be collected for a lawsuit. There will be coverage of the animal's history of disease or aggression if any exists.

Gathering Evidence

Animal control documentation is one strong form of evidence, but there are others. For example, victims are urged to get as much as they can from the scene of the incident as possible. This will include photos of the area and bite wound, eyewitness testimonies, the locations of any security cameras, recordings by passers-by, etc.

If it's possible that the clothing being worn can be used, save it too. The more evidence present, the better.

Engage a Dog Bite Attorney

Recovering the most compensation possible in the circumstances will require an experienced dog bite lawyer. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in Iowa. The process will start with a case evaluation, and if there is potential present, the attorney will advise the victim of the next steps, after which the case-building process will begin.

The Filing

Filing the claim will be done by the legal professional on behalf of the client. This will be a notification to the other party that will also include what is being demanded as compensation.

Settlement Negotiations

Both the victim's lawyer and the dog owner's legal counsel will enter into a negotiation phase, which will see both sides attempting to secure the most favorable outcome. Many claims will conclude at this stage with an agreement being reached.

The Trial

Negotiations will not always work, which means the last resort is to have the matter settled in court. At this point, the Iowa dog bite attorney will represent the victim in an attempt to have a court order issued for compensation to be paid.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in Iowa!

Injuries caused by dog bites can be very problematic. Even if they are mild, there is no reason someone else's negligence should leave you in any discomfort. Tom Fowler Law is equipped with the passion and expertise necessary to help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. The best in Iowa is here to represent you!

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