What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Laws and Compensation Claims

by Dudley DeBosier | July 18th, 2019

Dogs have lived with people for thousands of years and hold the storied title of “man’s best friend.” Still, as friendly as dogs can be, a dog who feels threatened or is in an unfamiliar or stressful situation may react by biting. Also, some dogs may have a propensity towards biting because they have been abused and/or were never properly socialized. Because any dog can bite, it is important for both dog owners and their neighbors to know the risks.

According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog will require medical attention. Children are at the highest risk for dog bites, and small children should never be allowed to play with dogs unsupervised. Dog bite injuries can puncture the skin causing bleeding and leaving unsightly scars. The initial medical treatment may require shots for rabies and tetanus.

Depending on the severity and location of the wound, the victim may need reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. In addition to the physical pain, many victims report feeling continued stress and emotional trauma following the bite. These feelings may be triggered when the victim sees another dog.

Still, with proper love, training, and supervision, most dog bites can be avoided. Louisiana law establishes that the dog’s owner is liable for the injuries caused by their dog. A dog’s owner has a basic duty to prevent the dog from biting other people.

To prove this case, the victim must show that the defendant owned the dog and that the victim did not provoke the dog. Louisiana courts have also held that the victim must prove the dog presented an unreasonable risk of harm, such as past violent behavior or a failure of the dog’s owner to have the dog contained or on a leash.

Louisiana Civil Code article 2321 establishes that the owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal. However, he or she is answerable for the damage only upon showing that he or she knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his or her animal’s behavior would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he or she failed to exercise such reasonable care. 

Nonetheless, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person’s provocation of the dog.

It sounds like an injury case involving a dog bite should be cut and dry, right? Not always. Things get complicated when the dog’s owner is not the homeowner. In this common scenario, there may be no insurance coverage and the bite victim can only sue the dog’s owner personally. Collecting a personal judgment can be more complicated and time consuming, and you may not be able to collect everything that is due. 

But victims may have another route to recovery in the courtroom. That is because a landlord or property owner may have separate liability to the victim for a dog bite, even though the property owner or landlord did not own the animal. This is a different theory than the strict liability against the dog’s owner.

In order to pursue a claim against a landlord for injuries caused by her tenant’s animal, the victim must show that the landlord knew or should have known that the tenant was harboring an animal with vicious propensities. Additionally, the landlord may be responsible for some defect in the property which allowed the dog to escape, such as a broken fence.

A dog bite victim may benefit from a lawyer who can discover the available insurance coverage and uncover facts revealing additional parties responsible for the injury.  

DUI Boating Accidents in Louisiana: What You Need to Know

by Dudley DeBosier | July 18th, 2018

For some people, a day on the water isn’t complete without a few drinks. But drinking while boating is a serious offense in Louisiana, and for good reason—it’s extremely dangerous.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reports that alcohol is the most significant contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, even outweighing other common causes such as operator distraction and inexperience.

It’s easy to dismiss or downplay both the risks and ramifications of drinking while operating or riding in a boat, but both should never be taken lightly. It’s common knowledge that boat owners and operators who are under the influence of alcohol can be and often are held responsible for accident-related injuries, but even intoxicated boat passengers can also be held liable when others are hurt during boat accidents.

How Can Boat Operators and Passengers Cause Accidents?

Boat operators who are under the influence of alcohol can increase the risk of serious accidents by:

  • Operating a boat in a reckless or dangerous manner
  • Failing to abide by maritime laws
  • Speeding

Intoxicated boat passengers can also increase the risk of serious accidents by:

  • Distracting boat operators
  • Acting recklessly or dangerously

Accidents are unpredictable and can happen at any time and any place, even when all safety precautions are followed. Louisiana boaters can significantly reduce their liability and their risks by never operating their boats after consuming alcohol and by limiting or forbidding alcohol from being consumed on their vessels.

It’s also important to be prepared in the event of an emergency. To comply with Louisiana maritime law, all children 16 years of age or younger must wear USCG-approved personal floatation devices (PFD) while on vessels less than 26 feet in length. In addition, all boats must have at least one wearable PFD per passenger. Boaters should make sure they have a range of PFD sizes to fit different passengers based on their weights and body sizes.

Hurt in a DUI Boating Accident? Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers Is Here to Help.

Alcohol-related boat accidents can and often do lead to serious and disabling injuries. At Dudley DeBosier, our Louisiana boat accident attorneys know how to build strong claims for victims that get results. Get in touch with our legal team today—call us at 225-224-8465.

You’re injured and just hired a lawyer. What happens next?

by Dudley DeBosier | July 4th, 2018

If you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you know you need a lawyer to help you file a claim for compensation. But what happens after an attorney has agreed to help you?

At Dudley DeBosier, we know that victims like you may feel anxious and uncertain after accidents, even after you get legal advocates on your side. Knowing what to expect during the days, weeks, and months after you call a lawyer can give you the peace of mind you deserve during this difficult time.

It’s our goal to make the post-accident recovery period as stress-free as possible for victims. We do that by fulfilling these responsibilities:

  • We’ll handle all correspondence with the insurance company. You won’t have to worry about phone calls or letters from adjusters after we take over your claim. All communication will be directed towards our attorneys instead.
  • We’ll prove the accident wasn’t your fault. Our investigators will track down all evidence related to your accident, including witness statements, accident scene debris, security camera footage, and even expert testimony to help prove you weren’t at fault.
  • We’ll negotiate to get you full compensation. Insurance companies make billions of dollars every year by reducing or denying payments to victims. We won’t let that happen. We’ll calculate how much the accident has cost you, and we’ll make sure the insurance company knows how much you’re owed for what you’ve gone through.

Ready to take the next step? Call our Louisiana personal injury lawyers today.

You shouldn’t have to worry about calls from the insurance company, collecting evidence, or negotiating how much money you deserve after your accident. Let us handle that while you focus on getting better and spending time with your family.

Call our legal team today at (866) 897-8495 to find out how we can put our years of experience to work for you.

What To Do After A Dog Bite

by Madison King | July 28th, 2017

Big or small, furry, cuddly, and cute – dogs are not nicknamed “man’s best friend” for no reason. However, even the sweetest pet can bite if provoked. Each year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; and at least half of them are children, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Fortunately, Louisiana has a dog bite statute that holds the owner of the dog responsible. When you suffer from a dog bite injury, it should be taken seriously.

Follow this list of steps to help protect those that have been bitten:

  • Identify and obtain contact information from any witnesses.
  • Keep records of any injuries that have been sustained: cuts, bruises, or any other type of injury received from the attack.
  • Obtain insurance and contact information from the owner of the dog.
  • Take pictures of the scene where the bite occurred.
  • Write down all of this information and specific facts of how the attack occurred.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

We want to protect your legal right and get you the help you need. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, don’t wait to take action – call us at 866.897.8495 or contact us online to get started.

Boating Under The Influence

by Madison King | May 24th, 2017

Memorial Day is always a popular time for boating, however it is important to practice safety when on the water. Boating under the influence is a dangerous thing that, unfortunately, happens way too often.

Boating under the influence is similar to driving under the influence however, alcohol is more dangerous when consumed on the water than on land, according to the US Coast Guard.

Operating a watercraft under the influence increases boating fatalities by 34 percent and is hazardous to everyone on the boat. Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgement, balance and vision greatly. Exposure to sun, wind, noise, vibration, ocean’s glare and motion may intensify the effects of alcohol.

Your ability to respond to an emergency quickly could also be impaired while boating under the influence. This is especially important on holidays when more people are boating. Passengers who are consuming alcohol should be careful since it can cause slips, falls overboard, and other dangerous accidents.

Not to mention, the consequences of boating under the influence are very serious. Some of the consequences include:

  • Losing your boating license
  • Gaining a criminal record
  • Death or serious injury to you and/or those on the watercraft

Take extra precaution this Memorial Day weekend to prevent boating fatalities and to keep your family safe. Never drive a boat under the influence.

Officials Issue Bacteria Warnings for Gulf Coast Beaches

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | July 1st, 2016

While many of us are excited to hit the beach this hot 4th of July holiday weekend, travelers should be aware of potential water contaminants in some locations. Officials in several Gulf Coast states have issued warnings on beaches due to the presence of harmful Enterococcus bacteria.

Twelve beaches here in Louisiana are under watch. This includes Grand Isle, Holly Beach, Lake Charles, Fountainebleau State Park, and Long, Martin, and Rutherford Beaches.

Enterococcus is a bacteria that can be a sign of fecal pollution. There are several different reasons water could contain this bacterial contamination, including shoreline developments, septic tanks, treatment facilities, runoff and human waste left behind by boaters. The Enterococcus  bacteria can cause disease, infection or rashes. People who have open wounds, cuts, scrapes and burns should especially avoid gulf waters while this advisory is in place.

For those traveling, please take note of these water monitoring websites:

We hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July weekend. If you or someone you know is traveling to a beach this weekend, please share this post on Facebook to help spread the word.

The Do’s and Don’ts of ATV Riding

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | June 29th, 2016

Since they first hit the market in the early 1960’s, all terrain vehicles (ATVs) have become very popular for recreational activities as well as occupational endeavors. As the popularity of ATVs grows, so does the increase in accidents and injuries.

ATV accidents have many causes; however, most result from the ATV being overturned because of its soft tires and high center of gravity. Many people do not realize ATVs are only designed for off-road use and do not handle well on paved surfaces. Furthermore, riding on unknown or new terrains puts a rider at a large risk for accidents.

“Injuries caused by an ATV can include cuts, burns, fractures, broken bones, spinal injuries, internal organ injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.”

Many accidents involving ATVs are also due to mishandling. For example, riding on an ATV that is not the right size or riding with two passengers on an ATV designed for only one rider can lead to dangerous situations. Also, most ATVs are not designed for dangerous stunts and maneuvers, so attempting these could have serious consequences.

Injuries sustained from ATV accidents range from minor injuries to fatalities. Injuries caused by an ATV can include cuts, burns, fractures, broken bones, spinal injuries, internal organ injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.  Children under the age of sixteen make up 25% of accidents involving ATVs, children twelve and under make up 43% of this 25%.  Injuries from these vehicles can be very serious, so it is extremely important to take precautions to keep yourself and others around you safe.

As listed in the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, these tips can help riders stay safe and help prevent accidents:

  • Always wear a helmet and protective gear such as boots, gloves, long-sleeves, and eye protection while on an ATV.
  • Avoid riding on paved roads.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not allow a child under 16 to drive or ride an adult ATV
  • Never ride a youth ATV or a single-rider ATV with a passenger.
  • Only have passengers on tandem ATVs and make sure passengers are at least twelve years old.
  • Always ride the correct size ATV.

If you own an ATV, we hope you will consider the tips above and take every precaution to minimize your risk of injury. Please talk to your children to make them aware of these tips before riding with a friend. If you found this blog helpful, please share it on Facebook!

Seven Summer Boating Safety Tips

by Alyssa Perot-Heltz | June 8th, 2016

As the Louisiana summer heat starts beating down, more and more people are escaping to their recreational boats to enjoy their leisurely time. However, as people enjoy their time out on the water, safety can sometimes take a back seat to the fun being had. This is especially true for recent years; in 2015, the number of boating accidents increased 2.3% and the number of deaths increased by 2.6% compared to 2014. Overall, the Coast Guard counted approximately $42 million of damage to property result of recreational boating accidents.

The number one cause of death from boating accidents is drowning followed by trauma. The importance of lifejackets can not be stressed enough: After an accident, people are six times less likely to die from drowning if you are wearing one. Of the 562 deaths from boating accidents in 2015, 424 victims were not wearing a lifejacket.

Boating safety is important all the time; however, it is extremely important during these hot summer months. As the temperature rises in the summer, so does the number of boats in the water. With the increase of boaters, the number of accidents greatly rises. It is extremely important to always be aware of your surroundings while boating, and be conscious of the boats around you.

We advise the following seven safety tips while boating:

  1. Wear a lifejacket at all times and insist that your guests do the same.
  2. Limit alcohol use while boating. Alcohol is one of the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
  3. Take a boating safety course. Only 12% of boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had received a boating safety certificate. You can view classes here.
  4. Don’t boat and text. Just like on our roads: talking,
  5. texting and other use of smartphones while operating a vehicle is highly dangerous.
  6. Operate at a safe speed and always
  7. maintain a proper lookout. Take note of visibility, boating traffic density, and hazards such as shoals, rocks, or floating objects.
  8. Always tell a friend or family before leaving on any boat trip.
  9. Have your vessel checked for safety for free! The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offer vessel safety checks free of cost.

Whether you are boating on False River, Lake Pontchartrain, or anywhere else in Louisiana, we hope these tips help keep you and your family safe on the water this summer. For more summer safety tips, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow our Facebook page!