Articles Posted in Dog Bite

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a case discussing under what circumstances a landlord can be responsible for injuries caused by her tenants’ dogs. The case is important for New Mexico personal injury plaintiffs because it discusses the issue of third-party liability, which can be very important in New Mexico personal injury cases.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the defendant landlord rented a home to a family (“the tenants”) who had three dogs. The landlord had rented the home to the tenants for several years, and knew the tenants’ dogs. One day, the tenants arranged to have friends over for dinner (“the guests”). The tenants told the guests that they left the side door unlocked, and that the guests should wait inside the home in the event the guests arrived at the house before the tenants.

Evidently, the guests arrived at the home before the tenants and entered through the unlocked side door. As the guests opened the door, the tenants’ three dogs bolted out the door. The dogs attacked the plaintiff, who was walking his dog in the neighborhood.

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Dog bites and attacks can be truly traumatizing. The long-term effects of a New Mexico dog attack can include psychological, physical, and emotional damage. Managing oneself after a dog bite can be difficult because the victim may need to deal with severe physical damage, including scarring and surgery, and psychological issues. In addition, a victim may need therapy or psychiatric treatment for the trauma sustained. This can consume a large amount of time, money, and energy. Insurance companies may willingly cover some medical bills, but that is not guaranteed, and initial insurance settlements rarely cover the extent of the damages that a victim sustained.

State Supreme Court Finds that Strict Liability Should be Imposed in Dog Bite Cases

Recently, a court issued an opinion in a personal injury case that illustrates an issue that commonly arises in New Mexico dog bite cases. In 2009, a woman and her boyfriend were squirrel hunting on a property owned by the woman’s boyfriend. The woman decided to leave early and proceeded to walk to her car through a tract of property owned by the defendant.

As she was walking, she was attacked by several dogs owned by the defendant. She suffered a series of substantial injuries, including severe bites and bruises. Luckily, a motorist saw the attack as he was driving by and was able to help the plaintiff. She did, however, suffer serious injuries as a result of the attack.

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Earlier this month in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 35-year-old man was the victim of a severe dog bite in his groin when he was bitten by a pit bull that was attacking his eight-year-old daughter. According to an article from Reuters, the 90-pound dog bit the man’s daughter in the face and lacerated her cheek. The man intervened to rescue the girl and was attacked by the dog, which latched onto his groin. The man was rushed to a nearby hospital and treated for severe lacerations and partial detachment of his genitals. The eight-year-old girl was treated at the scene for minor injuries and released.

The Dangers of Dog Attacks
Dog attacks are common in New Mexico, and they are the cause of many hospitalizations every year. The dog involved in this attack had belonged to the man’s grandfather, who had recently passed away. The man was not familiar with this dog, and the family is lucky that the eight-year-old child was not more severely injured in the attack. People should always use caution when they are around dogs that they are not familiar with, especially larger dogs and potentially dangerous breeds like pit bulls.

Small children should never be allowed near dogs that are not known to be safe, and they should be supervised when playing around any animals. Dog bites are extremely painful and more prone to infection than other types of cuts, due to the bacteria present in the animals’ mouths. The scars and permanent injuries that are caused by dog bites can be debilitating and disfiguring to the unfortunate victims of an attack.
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