Were you or a loved one bitten by a dog? If there is significant scarring, disfigurement, infection, loss of feeling, or other results from the dog bite, you may be entitled to make a recovery. A personal injury lawyer specializing in dog bite law can help you negotiate a settlement that adequately covers your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the insurance company will not settle, a lawyer may need to file a lawsuit on your behalf and prepare for a jury trial.
Finding the Best Angle in a Dog Bite Case
A personal injury lawyer will look for an applicable angle to help the victim recover damages after being bitten by a dog. If you want to sue the dog’s owner as your defendant, then this dog owner must have applicable insurance or assets from which you will seek to make a recovery. In this case, the dog must have bitten you when you were in public or when you were on private property and had a right to be in that location. If you were trespassing, then you wouldn’t have a claim. Also, some dog owners can be held liable, but not under the regular dog bite statute, if they were keeping a dog with violent tendencies and they failed to protect you from the dog. A third angle is that the dog owner has no insurance or assets, but the attorney will attempt to show that another person was liable for the dog’s actions. By this, we mean that the defendant has insurance or assets and is not the actual owner of the canine.
How to Establish Liability
When a personal injury attorney takes a dog bite case, there has to be a significant injury. A dog bite is like any other personal injury claim where we are looking for a permanent injury and medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. All of these damages, we will argue, could have been prevented if the defendant was not acting in a negligent manner. Examples of potential effects of dog bites are as follows:
- loss of a bodily function
- paralysis or nerve damage
- nightmares, terrors, post-traumatic stress disorder
- emotional pain and suffering
If you are serious about pursuing your dog bite case, we must be able to prove through medical records and expert testimony that the dog bite was a substantial factor that caused your injuries. A personal injury lawyer should sit down and review the facts of your case before determining if you have a viable claim. In some cases, there is a good claim because the defendant’s dog was clearly responsible for your injuries and the owners knew about the dog’s tendencies, but we cannot find anywhere from which to seek a recovery. The dog bite law is clear about the different ways you can seek a claim against the defendant for these injuries. We understand that you want justice for yourself and your family. For more information, please contact us for free information and get your case evaluated at no charge by a dog bite lawyer. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we are passionate about fighting for victims’ rights and winning the highest level of compensation that your claim deserves.
Who Else Needs a Dog Bite Lawyer
Another side of the law that may require the assistance of a dog bite lawyer is when your dog bit another person. You have homeowner’s insurance and you want them to pay because you are being sued, or at least the plaintiff has contacted your insurance company. There are also ways to ensure that your dog gets to be quarantined and euthanized, if needed, according to state law. You don’t want to face repercussions from the plaintiff, or dog bite victim, in this matter. Some people may respond very badly due to high emotions after a dog bite case, especially if the permanent damage was to their small child who will have a lifetime of scarring or disfigurement due to your negligence as the dog owner.
The Steps in a Personal Injury Case
Typically, there are multiple steps involved in preparing a personal injury matter. These can vary in each case. It depends on whether the claim is a dog bite, a slip-and-fall, a car accident, a workplace injury, or another type. At first, you must see how you were impacted by the dog bite and then decide whether to speak with an attorney who has handled similar cases in California.
Here are seven steps to expect in a dog bite case with clear liability and applicable insurance benefits:
1. Consultation with an experienced attorney. It’s important to ask the personal injury attorney about other dog bite cases he or she has handled. If an attorney does not take cases to trial, look for a better one who does. His or her firm must have the financial resources to prepare the case. The insurance company has much greater resources and can fight this claim in court.
2. Investigate the case. This includes getting a copy of any law enforcement reports and talking to witnesses. You need to maintain physical documentation of your injuries, including taking pictures of the dog bite marks when they are fresh and as they become scars. If you need cosmetic surgery to address the scarring or disfigurement, this must also be documented and it will become part of the claim.
3. Prepare a demand package. In this stage, a personal injury attorney collects all the medical records and bills and summarizes how the dog bite impacted your health and finances. If you missed time from work, this might become part of the claim.
4. File a lawsuit. If the demand letter does not urge the insurance company to make a reasonable settlement offer, your attorney needs to file this paperwork in the appropriate court.
5. Discovery. Both sides — plaintiff and defendant — share information about the accident and the damages that you and your spouse have incurred. The investigation that your attorney performed in the early stages will be important for helping the insurance company see how serious you are about pursuing damages for this claim.
6. Participate in a mediation. This stage is when the plaintiff and the defendant and their insurance lawyers sit down and discuss how to resolve the case without a jury trial. A judge presiding over the lawsuit may order the mediation first before setting a trial date.
7. Go to a jury trial. If you cannot reach an agreement with the defense, which means the insurance company, you may go to trial. This is an expensive proceeding that both sides should try to avoid. You could lose this trial if the jury finds that the defendant was less negligent than you or not liable at all. You will need to have compelling evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries and could have been prevented.
At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we have extensive experience in reviewing personal injury claims and dog bite claims. We do not hesitate to spend whatever is necessary to investigate dog bite claims car accidents, product liability cases, slip-and-falls, and other injuries. If there is a defendant in your case with insurance benefits or assets, we’re not afraid to take the case all the way to trial. We welcome the opportunity to review your potential claim and determine if we can fight the insurance company and get the type of settlement award that your injuries deserve. You should not have to pay these medical bills, and we want you to seek justice. Keep in mind that the legal process takes time, and there are no guarantees that you will win. Contact our dog bite attorney today to see if we can help.
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