When Should You Sue Over Dog Bite Injuries?
After being bitten by someone else’s dog, you’ll probably be contacted by the dog owner, or his or her insurance company, to discuss a settlement to compensate you for your dog bite injuries. This article discusses when you should sue and when you should accept a settlement.
Type of Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
State personal injury laws and state dog bite laws give accident victims-including those who have suffered dog bite injuries-the right to collect damages, or compensation, for injuries that are someone else’s fault.
Damages are designed to compensate you for:
- Past, present, and future medical bills for treatment related to your dog bite injuries
- The repair or replacement of any property (such as glasses or clothing) that was damaged or destroyed when you were bitten
- Lost wages for time off from work (including time spent going to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy)
- The cost of hiring someone to do household chores that you’re unable to do because of your injury
- Permanent disability and disfigurement stemming from the dog bite
- Emotional distress stemming from the dog bite
- Any other costs you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries
There are two ways in which you can collect this compensation: in an out-of-court settlement or in a court judgment.
How Dog Bite Injury Compensation Is Determined
When you settle a case, you and the dog owner, plus the dog owner’s insurance company and your dog bite attorneys, privately negotiate an agreement to compensate you for your injuries. The money is paid by either the dog owner, his or her insurance company, or both the owner and insurance company.
In a court judgment, your case is presented to a judge or jury who listen to the evidence, decide who is to blame, and can order the party at fault to compensate the injured party. They will also decide how much you are owed in damages though this amount can be adjusted by the judge or the losing party can appeal the case in an effort to have the damages reduced.
Settling a case offers several advantages:
- It resolves your case more quickly than if you went to trial
- You receive money more quickly than if you went to trial, and you can use that to pay injury-related bills
- You can get emotional closure and start to move on after the accident
- Your attorney’s fees and expenses may be lower
- You have the certainty of knowing how much money you’ll receive
- Settlement agreements can remain confidential
The primary disadvantage to settling your case is that you may ultimately receive less money than if you’d gone to trial. However, there’s no guarantee you would have received more had you gone to court.
The advantages to going to trial include:
- You may feel a greater emotional satisfaction if you win the case
- There’s a chance you’ll receive a larger award than if you settled the case
Going to trial, however, has its disadvantages:
- There is no guarantee that you’ll win your case or receive a larger award than if you settled
- Your attorney’s fees and expenses may be higher than if you settled
- The verdict and judgment will be publicly available
- It can take a long time to schedule and prepare for a trial
Timely Action Can Protect an Injured Party
Your willingness to take action quickly not only protects your legal rights to maximum recovery of compensation but it also gives you the best possible chance to avoid infection and other complications typically associated with dog bites. For this reason, you need to take any dog bite seriously even if you do not yet believe that you have sustained critical injuries as a result of a dog’s attack.
Keep all evidence associated with the accident and record pictures and videos of the injuries. Get a copy of your medical records after visiting with your physician to identify the implications of the dog bite attack. If there are any complications that develop as a result of the injuries from your dog bite, you need to keep track of these as well.
Many people may be particularly susceptible to infection because of a dog bite. You need to monitor the wound very carefully as advised by your doctor.
You may need to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury claim directly against the person who is responsible for the dog. This can be a very delicate and difficult situation if the owner is a family member or a friend. However, as the victim, you should not be responsible for paying your medical bills because of a sudden dog attack.
How To Protect Yourself As A Dog Owner?
There are a few things that you should keep in mind if you’re a dog owner. It will prevent you from the unnecessary trouble of defending yourself if a personal injury case is brought against you, the dog owner.
- As a dog owner make sure there are visible display signs about the presence of a dog/ dogs at your place.
- While you’re out, remember to keep a leash on your dog.
- Ensure the fencing is tall enough so that the dog can’t jump over and sturdy.
- Talk with your insurance provider regarding a dog bite insurance and sign up for one. It will help you tackle any contingencies that may arise in the future.
If someone files a charge against you, the insurance company will cover for it. They also hire dog bite attorney to defend your case.
The Advocates Dog Bite Claim Process
Step 1: Investigate the Accident
The first steps The Advocates will take is to investigate your accident. Our attorneys do this by requesting a police report about your accident, examining any videos or photographs of the crash scene, and by contacting any relevant witnesses to the accident. Once we have firmly established liability, we will begin to hard work of building your injury claim.
Step 2: Build Your Claim
Building your car accident injury claim is one of the most time-consuming steps in the entire process. Our staff must wait until you are finished treatment for your injuries before we can compile a comprehensive medical record of the injuries you have suffered from your accident. This is a timely process so be patient.
Step 3: Negotiate a Settlement
Once you are finished treating your injuries and your medical records have been gathered, your attorney will send out a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance. Afterwards, negotiations with your attorney will begin. If we are unable to negotiate a fair offer, then you will have the option to file a lawsuit.
Step 4: Litigate If Necessary
Time wise, litigation is the longest step in the claim process, possibly extending the life of your claim one or, even, two years. If you do decide to file a lawsuit, be prepared to potentially appear before a judge and jury.
Questions To Ask A Dog Bite Lawyer
What Kind Of Settlement Can I Expect If I Hire A Dog Bite Lawyer?
Many factors determine the amount of compensation a victim receives. These include the severity of the injuries and whether there is permanent scarring or other lasting damage. Because a dog attack is a traumatic experience, the psychological damage is also taken into consideration.
Who Are The Most Common Victims Of Dog Bites?
Children are bitten more often than individuals in other age groups. In addition, children are more likely to sustain serious injuries. The next most common victims are senior citizens, followed by postal carriers.
Should My Children Take Precautions Around Familiar Dogs?
Yes. Statistics show that most children are bitten by a dog they know, including family pets and those belonging to neighbors.
What Should I Do If A Dog Bites Me Or My Child?
In the event of a severe attack, you should call an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency room. Then wash the wound(s) with soap and warm water. If possible, take photos of the injuries and the area where the attack occurred.
What Are The Advantages Of Hiring A Dog Bite Lawyer?
Statistics show that plaintiffs who hire personal injury attorneys achieve better financial outcomes than those who represent themselves. Victims must provide extensive medical records and other documentation according to stringent filing deadlines. A knowledgeable lawyer will obtain and submit the necessary information in keeping with the legal requirements and timelines.