Many of us are the happy owners of loving dogs; most dogs are not aggressive and pose no threat. Unfortunately, there are some dogs that are not only unfriendly, but are vicious. More unfortunately, there are dog owners that fail to properly control their dogs. Our team of Dog Bite lawyers is one of New Mexico's best known and experienced injury firms. You are here because you may need to talk to a dog bite lawyer, or you simply need to research your options. Either way, we are confident we can help you.Learn About New Mexico Leash Laws
We Take a Tenacious Approach to Dog Bite Cases
Your dog bite has left you or your child with two types of injuries: physical and psychological. Depending on the size and breed of dog, it's possible that the dog bite(s) will leave you with permanent scarring or the need for surgery. Unfortunately, most people settle their dog bite injury claim before consulting with a plastic surgeon and are left with scarring that could have been minimized.
Our first goal as the firm representing you in your dog bite case is to locate the homeowner's insurance for the owner of the dog. This first step is critical to you receiving any compensation. Again, hiring the right lawyer for this type of insurance search can make all the difference. We use several insurance search techniques to ensure every possibility is examined. (Did you know that some insurance companies will not cover certain breeds of dogs on a homeowner's policy, e.g., Pit Bulls, Akitas, Chow-Chows, etc.?)
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The liability in your dog bite claim may be aggressively defended by the insurance company and the owner of the dog. The defendant may imply that you were on their property without permission, that you provoked the dog, or that they didn't own the dog that attacked you! We have heard every defense imaginable. Our over 75 years of experience with these types of cases affords us the experience necessary to secure a settlement for your injuries and your suffering, both in and out of the courtroom.
No matter the size of your claim, once you become our client you will benefit from our years of experience
pursuing these cases, as well as our family-style approach to your individual needs. Many times these cases are emotionally charged, as they leave a small child with traumatic injuries, and our experience with these matters is what ensures you we will do everything possible to make sure you and your family receive the care and compensation they deserve.
Dog Bite Law in New Mexico
New Mexico does not have specific dog bite statutes, but case law allows an experienced dog bite lawyer a pathway to success. New Mexico judges generally give juries the same instructions when asking them to determine a dog owner’s liability. In New Mexico, the owner is liable for a person’s injuries when they knew the dog was vicious or they knew of a previous incident where the dog had demonstrated vicious behavior. For a person to recover damages in New Mexico, the injured party must prove fault. An experienced dog bite lawyer will guide you through this process. When these conditions are met, the dog owner and/or his insurer will be responsible for compensating the injured person.
The “One Bite” Rule in New Mexico
Many states give dog owners a free pass on their dog's first bite. They require that an owner know of at least one past incident where their dog had bitten someone for liability to attach to the owner. New Mexico does not have a traditional one bite rule. Instead, they require that the dog owner know that the dog might cause injury to someone. Additionally, if the dog owner says they did not know that the dog was vicious, the court will assess whether they should have known. If they should have know that the dog might hurt someone, they are just as liable as if they had actually seen the dog exhibit vicious behavior in the past.
How Does New Mexico Treat Vicious Dog Incidents?
In New Mexico, there can be a circumstance where the owner does not have to know that his dog was vicious in order for the victim to be compensated for their injuries. When a dog owner’s negligence is the cause of a victim’s injury, it is n
ot necessary that the owner know that the dog have a vicious demeanor. We all have general knowledge about how dogs behave. For example, when a dog meets someone new they may jump up to greet someone or become excited. These situations can lead to injury. A dog owner has a responsibility to act reasonably in preventing such an injury. An example of a dog owner’s negligence in this area might be where he or she created a situation where they expose an excitable dog to a small child or elderly person and an injury results. All situations are different, and there is almost always a possibility that an owner was negligent in failing to prevent a person’s injury.
Unique New Mexico Dog Bite Laws
In New Mexico, dog owners even owe trespassers a duty of reasonable care. Property owners in New Mexico owe trespassers a duty of care when they know of the trespasser or should have known that someone might trespass on their property. In many cases, a legal doctrine known as “attractive nuisance” can apply to dog bite cases where children are the victims. An attractive nuisance is something that a property owner should know might attract trespassers, especially children. Children are not always able to distinguish between a gentle dog and a vicious dog. If an owner knows of a child in the neighborhood, he may have a duty to prevent the child from trying to get near the dog. If a child is attacked by a dog while trespassing on the owner’s property, it is quite possible that the child and his parents can be compensated for their injuries.
An Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Should Discover All Liable Parties.
In New Mexico, a “dog owner” is not clearly defined because there is not a specific dog bite specific series of laws. However, there are cases that suggest people who are not the owner of the dog might also be liable for a victim’s injuries. In this case, it was determined that a landlord was not liable for a victim’s injuries that were caused by his tenant’s dog. This was because he did not know that the dog was vicious, and there was no reason that he should have known that the dog was vicious. If he had known or should have known that the dog was vicious, he also could have been liable for the victim’s injuries.
What Are Some of the Elements of Compensation in New Mexico?
Victims of dog bites are not only compensated for their medical bills, but can be compensated for psychological trauma and counseling, physical pain and suffering, permanent and temporary disability, loss of wages from injury, physical scarring, and even plastic surgery to correct scarring. At times, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages require a dog owner to pay the victim an amount that goes beyond making up for the actual injuries they caused. Punitive damages are imposed upon the dog owner to punish them for being extraordinarily negligent. This is more likely to occur in a case where a dog owner knows his dog to be particularly dangerous, but does nothing to prevent an attack from occurring.
Talk to An Attorney Today for an Analysis of Your Dog Bite Claim
From our office in downtown Albuquerque we're able to serve the entire state of New Mexico. If you, your child, or a loved one has been attacked and injured by a dog, don't delay. Call us today at 1-800-253-5537 to get help.