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Your Portland Dog Bite Attorney

Have you been injured in a dog attack?

If you’ve been attacked or bitten by a dog, it can be difficult to know what to do next. You may not even know if the owner of the animal is liable for your injuries. That’s where Chad Stavley comes in. He has 14 years of experience representing people who have suffered serious injuries from dog attacks and will fight hard on your behalf to get you justice.

You need an experienced lawyer like Chad Stavley on your side when dealing with a dog attack case.  Chad knows how insurance companies work and how they operate behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay out claims quickly or fairly. Insurance company adjusters want their masters – the insurance company – protected at all costs, which means paying out less money than they should and making things more complicated than necessary for those seeking compensation after being attacked by dogs. Don’t let them take advantage of you!  

Let Mr. Stavley handle everything while you focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back into life as usual again as soon as possible. Call (503) 546-8812 today for a free consultation with Oregon's top-rated dog bite lawyer.

Dog Bite Lawyer With a History of Results

Chad Stavley has a long history of getting results for clients who have been injured by dogs. He is passionate about helping these victims get the compensation they deserve, and he has a proven track record of success, including the largest dog bite verdict ever reported in Oregon.

In one recent case, Mr. Stavley represented a child who had been bitten by a dog at a local restaurant. The victim suffered facial injuries, including multiple puncture wounds that became infected and required hospitalization. Mr. Stavley fought hard to get her the compensation she needed to cover her medical expenses and other damages. In the end, her medical bills were paid, and she received a $300,000 "policy limit" settlement from the dog owner's insurance company.

Another of Mr. Stavley's cases involved an attack that occurred in the Portland International Airport when an "emotional support animal" attacked a young girl waiting for a plane with her family. Mr. Stavley filed a lawsuit against the dog owner, the airport, and the air carrier - Alaska Airlines.  The case received worldwide media attention and forced policymakers to address the rampant fraud involved in getting an "emotional support animal" designation.   Shortly after this case was resolved, the United States Department of Transportation revised its rules, and "emotional support animals" are no longer considered service animals and are therefore not allowed on flights.

ABC News article
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Oregon Dog Bite Injury Law

Even many Oregon personal injury lawyers who hold themselves out as dog bite lawyers, don't seem to understand Oregon's dog bite laws.  They often talk about a "one bite rule" that prohibits holding dog owners accountable unless the owner is aware of a prior bite.  There is no such rule.  

Every dog bite personal injury claim in Oregon generally falls into one of three categories. Each of these categories of cases is treated differently under Oregon dog bite law.  It is important that you understand these different types of dog bite cases.

Category One - The dog has a history of aggression

When a dog has a history of aggression, whether that aggression is in the form of a bite, attack, or other aggressive conduct, and the owner or possessor is aware, the owner or possessor is strictly liable.   That means that the victim does not have to prove negligence.  The dog owner or possessor is liable whether they were trying to be cautious or not.  The reason for this is that once a dog has been aggressive, the law presumes it is dangerous and makes the owner responsible to dog bite victims.

We investigate all dog bite injuries to see if the case should fall in this category.  We contact animal control to see if they have previous reports related to the dog.  We have our investigator interview neighbors to get a history of the dog.  We even broke a case one time by interviewing the mailman!

Does the owner have any signs warning about the dog?  The Oregon Court of Appeals has held that a "Beware of Dog" sign was sufficient evidence to show an awareness of prior aggression.  

Category Two - The dog has no history of aggression but is in public and not controlled by the dog owner.

The second category of dog bites involves a dog with no history of aggressive conduct but in a public location. These cases are generally governed by each city or county’s animal control law. Most counties and cities require dog owners to have their animals leashed or otherwise controlled while in public.

If we can prove that the animal's owner violated a city or county animal control law, we can make bring a dog bite claim and hold the owner and their insurance company responsible.  

Category Three - The dog is on the owner's property and has no history of aggression.  

The third category of Oregon dog bite injury cases is the worst category. In this category, the dog has no history of aggressive conduct and the attack happened on private property. Oregon law gives a break to the animal owner in cases in this category. In this category of personal injury cases, the dog owner's strict liability is only for the “economic damages” caused by the attack.

Economic damages include things like medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages suffered by the victims. In these cases, the victim cannot obtain compensation for non-economic losses that people sometimes call “pain and suffering.”

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Featured Dog Attack Cases

Questions About Dog Bites & Attacks

Are dog bite laws the same throughout Oregon?

Not exactly. In cases where a dog with no history of aggressiveness bites someone in a public location, we look to the animal control laws of the county and city where the animal bite occurred.

Can I sue for a dog bite injury in Portland, OR?

That depends on many factors including whether the dog has a history of aggressive conduct, whether the owner was aware the dog had a history, where the attack occurred, and your resulting injuries. Any competent dog bite attorney will want to discuss the dog attack, the animal owner, and your injury before presenting your legal options.  Call for a free case evaluation.

How long does it take for a dog bite case to resolve?

That really depends on the severity of the injuries caused, where the animal attack occurred, and whether the owner and their insurance company want to be fair. Some personal injury cases can resolve in six months while others can take two years.

What should do if I was bitten by a dog?

Make sure you report the case to animal control in your county. Sometimes the hospital staff will do this. Nonetheless, you should call and make sure the case was reported. It is important for your potential dog bite lawsuit, but it is also important that animal control deal with the dog especially if there is a serious injury. It is also important that they file the case so that if the dog bites again, the second victim can find out the dog’s history and hold the owner strictly liable. The prior report will show the owner's knowledge of their dog's former viciousness.

Can I get my medical bills paid while this case is getting sorted out?

Sometimes you can get bills paid through the “med-pay” portion of the dog owner’s homeowner’s policy even before the case resolves. Usually, no legal action is necessary to make this happen.  Get in touch for a free case evaluation to discuss how we can protect you.

Is my case even worth pursuing if my only long-term damage is scarring?

I have taken a case to trial and received over $300,000 where the only permanent injury was scarring. Fortunately, most dog bites do not result in severe injuries.  Nonetheless, we are happy to discuss your injuries and legal rights.  If the injury seems too small to warrant our involvement, we refer such cases to other lawyers who may be willing to help.

You are in Portland and I am far away, should I contact you or get a dog bite attorney near me?

Mr. Stavley handles cases throughout Oregon and Washington.  If the dog bite occurred in another state he is happy to discuss your options.  

The dog bite case I want to discuss involves my child. Do you handle dog bite cases for children?

Yes.  A high percentage of all animal attacks involve child victims.  There are factual and legal challenges to representing a child in a personal injury case.  Factually, sometimes when a child is a victim of a dog attack, they may not be able to explain what happened.  Legally, there are a few things we must do before resolving a case.  This includes setting up a conservatorship and getting court approval of any settlement.  

The owner of the dog is a family member. I want the insurance company held responsible, but I do not want my family member to suffer any financial hardship. Is that possible?

Yes.  You are the person who decides how your case is resolved.  Dog bite lawyers normally deal with the homeowner's insurance company for the dog owners.   The insurance policy will have coverage limits.  If the dog bite injuries are severe enough that the policy might not be enough, you would decide how you want to proceed.  In other words, if the dog owner does not have enough insurance to cover the severity of the injuries from the dog bite attack, then the victim decides whether to refuse the policy limits offer and proceed to trial to try to get additional money from the owner.  

My experience is that most dog owners I see don't have significant money outside of their insurance policy.  So victims of dog bites usually do not want to proceed beyond the insurance policy because it is not worth their time, especially when there is some risk involved in a trial.  

I am looking for a dog bite lawyer to get a settlement. I do not want to file a lawsuit or go to a trial. Can you do that?

Yes.  As I mentioned in the previous question, the decision on how you proceed is yours to make.  Dog attacks are generally covered by the dog owner's homeowner's insurance or renters insurance policy.  Insurance companies will generally negotiate claims without the need to file a dog bite lawsuit or go to trial, but they can be stingy.  

You need to understand that sometimes the only way to force a good offer is to file a lawsuit and prepare for trial.  And you still might not get a good offer.  In that case, any good dog bite lawyer will recommend going to trial.  

What kind of evidence is important in an animal attack case?

The first thing we do when we get a new animal attack case is collect evidence.  We start with the police reports and animal control reports.  We want to see what investigation was done.  If there are witnesses, we want to see their interviews.  If they weren't interviewed, we send our investigators to interview them.  Dog bites are sometimes captured on video.  We try to find any video that might be available.  Our investigator interviews neighbors to learn if they know anything about prior dog bites or victims of dog attacks.  

Most dogs have periodic veterinary appointments.  We gather those records.  Sometimes veterinary records indicate that the owner is aware their dog is aggressive.  If the owner fails to take any precautions after having that information, that can add value to the case.  

We obviously need to establish our injury case too, so we order medical records and speak with doctors and experts if necessary.  

I have reached out to other dog bite lawyers and they have not been interested in my case. Why am I having such a hard time finding a dog bite lawyer?

There can be several reasons why a dog bite lawyer may not want your case.  

First, they might not understand that these cases can be strict liability cases if the dog has an aggressive history.  

Second, the injuries caused in the attack may be minor, and therefore the case value might not be enough to justify the lawyer's time.  

Lastly, the lawyer may believe there will be no coverage.  For instance, if the dog owner is a renter, they may not have renter's insurance. In such cases, there is often no insurance policy or money to collect.  Also, sometimes the lawyers don't understand the case.  

What are common injuries you have seen from animal bites?

First, the victims of dog bites are often children.  In those cases, I frequently see bites to the face that can cause significant wounds and scarring.  I have handled cases for adults where some or all of the injuries are the result of falls trying to get away from the dogs or trying to protect children from dogs.  Those injuries have included nerve damage, ligament tears, bite wounds, and infections.  We have a long history of making sure owners are held liable when their animal attacks.

What if I was injured by a dog but I was not bitten?

It is not necessary that your injuries are due to a bite.  I have handled cases where a dog knocked over a person jogging in a park, and another where a dog ran into a person on their bicycle causing them to crash.  

In 2015 I tried a case to a jury in Multnomah County where a represented a person who was chased by a dog and fell off a retaining wall trying to get away.  The dog never touched her.  The owner was held responsible by the jury and the verdict was the largest dog bite verdict ever reported in Oregon. It is with noting that we took that case after the client was fired by another law firm who said the case was not winnable.  The client was left looking for a new lawyer and was rejected by another law firm before we took the case.  

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