If you think that a personal injury attorney helps people affected with injuries caused by vehicles and crashes, then you might be lacking in understanding the role of a personal injury attorney.
A personal injury attorney can help you in every situation where an act of negligence harms you resulting in an injury or property damage. This means it also applies to the situations where your neighbor’s dog bites your kid while playing. While filing a lawsuit for such a case where it seemed to be no one at fault can be intimidating, hiring a dog bite attorney to compensate your financial losses is always better in most cases.
No matter what state you live in, having a dog bite attorney at your back will aid you in recovering from financial and emotional stress as much as possible.
What options do you have if you are injured by a dog?
If you are seeking options after being bitten by a dog, then you have multiple of them. Beginning with the insurance claim, you can pursue a monetary damage claim with the insurance company of the dog’s owner. Many insurance companies cover the dog bites claim that happens inside the property of the insurer. Along with this, many policies cover the dog bite incidents outside the property where the dogs are kept on the insured property. This is why a dog bite attorney will help deal with such kinds of issues where insurance policies are involved. Using their prior knowledge and experience in mitigating the losses for the clients, dog bite attorneys can negotiate for fair and acceptable financial compensation.
Apart from pursuing the claim with the insurance provider, you can also avail yourself of the option of filing a lawsuit against the dog owner. Many times, there are unusual injuries related to dogs. Some state statutes allow these types of lawsuits to cover the victim’s damages and injuries.
When it comes to state statutes, a dog bite attorney can play a crucial role in the dog bite lawsuits as they have the understanding of the state applicable laws. Plus, the experience of representing and using the evidence efficiently while calculating the damages.
Proving a dog bite case in your state
Whether you can put someone under the liability of a lawsuit or not depends on the state laws and the severity of the damages. Litigation named ‘one-bite’ rule is used in many states that automatically levy the liability on the dog owner for the reason that they know their dog can be dangerous. For instance, if someone in the past was bitten by their dog.
Almost twenty to twenty-five states have strict liabilities for the owner that needs only one evidence that their dog injured the victim when they were on their legal property.
Also, some states have set a time limit where someone can file a claim after a canine attack. For example, in California, you can file a claim against the dog owner within two years of a dog attack. During the time when you are planning to file a claim, you need to prove that your claim is valid and you would be compensated for your rightful compensation. Sometimes, you would need to prove that you were in a public place.
In some cases, you may need to prove that you were in the place rightfully, even if you are in the dog owner’s place. This would be something that can be proved via CCTV footage, witnesses, or photos when the owner may want to prove that you were a trespasser.
Compensation after a dog attack
Whether you are suffering from emotional trauma or recovering from financial loss, dealing with the dog bite lawsuit has never been easy. It is also important to identify your damages and compensation amount for your claim so your dog bite attorney can help you name the damages in your claim.
If you are seeking compensation, the following are some of the damages you can ask for;
- Future and current medical expenses
- Future and current lost wages
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Economic and non-economic damages
However, the compensation amount that you would receive will depend on the extent and the nature of the injuries and all of the connected damages mentioned above.
The compensation prediction can also be based on the aggressive history of the dog, how offensive or frightening the incident’s facts were, the limit of the insurance policy of the owner, the jury’s predisposition to grant compensation, and of course the arguments of your dog bite attorney.
Due to the high complexity of the case in determining the value of the compensation, a private dog bite attorney must be retained by the injured person.
Considerations in a dog bite claim
Canine attack always entails a number of significant considerations that a victim must consider to add to its claim. One of them is an animal bite that can put you at risk of infection. Plus, the saliva of such animals can expose you to a disease called rabies. If something like this happens, this means that you have to go through a series of treatments in order to treat this additional disease after an injury.
In addition to that, the furious canine attacks affect the mental health of the children, which often leaves the affected child in permanent trauma for the whole life. A dog bite attorney ensures that your family will gain the maximum compensation that would be enough for the treatment for your child until complete recovery. If the child gets a permanent disability after the animal attack, then the financial security must be claimed to cover future medical needs. And that would totally depend on the skills of a dog bite attorney.
Significant defenses in a dog bite claim
Now when you know what should be covered and factorize in your claim, it is equally important to know your defense strategies if you are sued in cases where you are the owner.
The range of potential defenses you can use varies across state statutes. But an opposing dog bite attorney can use the following defenses:
- Trespassing: Although trespassers are given a range of legal protections, but when it comes to trespassing, you have to prove that you were in a place where you were legally allowed to be when the dog attacked. Under trespassing rules, a person cannot be compensated for the damages he incurred when he illegally trespassed the property.
- Provocation – A common defense that most defendants use in their litigations is that the owner is not liable for any compensation as the person provoked the dog before the animal could actually react. For instance, teased or cornered the dog with an aggressive gesture.
- Risk Assumptions or comparative negligence – Sometimes, the dog owner can prove that everybody is responsible for their security and injuries. For instance, they may argue that they already have warned you about certain reactions from the dog but you disregarded it. If the defendant proved it to be true, your chances of getting compensated can be entirely eliminated.
However, an experienced dog bite attorney does know the defenses that are used in the court during the trial so he would have all the knowledge on how to refute them.
Reasons to hire a dog bite attorney
Unless you are a dog trainer or know how to handle dogs, a dog attack can be daunting and can be a lifetime event. You may not have thought about pursuing a lawsuit against a dog bite, but you have all the right to know about your state laws and how you can be covered to mitigate your damages – either financial or physical.
Just like you hire an attorney for your divorce or to file a criminal activity for your loss, hiring a dog bite attorney is equally important.
Understands your legal rights
It is very easy to make mistakes when it comes to arguing or fighting for your legal rights. Also, when the state statute varies, it becomes even more important to retain a local attorney who would help you understand state laws even better.
Skilled negotiator – keeps your relationship with the owner
Dog bite attorneys have experience in dealing with insurance providers. Oftentimes dog owner’s insurance companies deny to pay the asked compensation or deny the claim entirely, your attorney will review and help you convey the seriousness of the incident and try to convince the insurance companies to agree on an agreeable settlement.
The dog owner may be your neighbor, your relative, or maybe your daughter’s best friend’s father with whom you don’t want to cut the strings due to the settlement. However, hiring a dog bite attorney will lessen the chances of arguing directly with the dog owner and his insurance company for the recovery.
Help in recovering your loss
Once you hire a dog bite attorney, you can receive the monetary settlement for the damages you incurred after the injury. This will include current, past, and future medical bills, lost income, economic and non-economic damages, and others depending on your case. As mentioned above, the compensation is dependent on many other factors but only if the injuries are severe or permanent.
If you or your loved one were injured because of the negligence of the dog’s owner, it is necessary to have legal representation. Look for the local dog bite attorney so your legal rights will be protected according to your state laws.
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