Many people question themselves when being bitten by a dog; do I need a dog bite lawyer? The answer is yes! If you have been bitten by someone’s dog you will either be contacted by the dog owner or his insurer to agree on a settlement to compensate you for the injuries you have sustained.
In the United States, at least 4.5 to 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually.
Table showing dog bite statistics in the U.S
Chart showing fatal attacks by dog breeds
Children are at a higher risk of being bitten by a dog because they are small and don’t know how to handle dogs. The reasons why people get bitten by dogs include:
Dogs usually bite when they are protecting something property, toys, people or even food. Guard dogs and heading breeds are the most aggressive but any dog can be possessive.
A dog may also bite out of fear. Maybe it’s unfamiliar with the surrounding or when they can’t see anyone familiar around. They can also bite when they are startled.
No matter how friendly a dog is, it can bite when in pain. The pain could be caused by a medical condition or injury.
A dog that has just given birth can bite regardless of how well it is trained. Handle the puppies carefully and provide them with a warm and safe place to stay.
A dog may chase you when you run or cycle past them. In this case, you need to stop moving or cycling, stand and face the dog. Avoid making eye contact because the dog will think you are trying to challenge it.
When should you contact a dog bite lawyer?
When you are bitten by a dog, you need to hire a dog biter attorney to help you file for a compensation claim. While it’s possible to file a claim on your own, you will not get a fair compensation to cover for your medical bills and the stress you went through.
The dog owner’s insurance company will try to manipulate you to accepting a lower compensation because they understand the law and will even try to say you provoked the dog. A dog bite lawyer who has an extensive experience in this field will make sure that you get a fair compensation.
Types of dog bite injury compensation
Dog bite laws and personal injury laws of every state gives victims the right to get compensation for injuries that have been caused by someone else. Damages are meant to cover you for:
- Past, current and future medical expenses
- Replacement or repair of damaged property. It could be your clothes, glasses or shoes.
- Loss of wage, including time spent going to therapy and doctor’s appointments
- Permanent disability caused by the dog’s bite
- Emotional stress and trauma
- The cost of hiring a househelp to do the chores that you can do on your own because of the injuries you sustained
You can collect your compensation in two ways: out of court or in court.
How compensation for dog bite injury is determined
When you have a dog bite case, you and your dog bite lawyer, plus the dog owner and his insurance company, will negotiate a settlement agreement for the injuries you sustained. The settlement is usually made by either the dog owner or his insurer or both the dog owner and the insurer.
In a court of law, your case is usually presented to a jury or judge who will look at the evidence presented and determine who is at fault. The party that is at fault will be ordered to compensate the party that was injured.
They will also determine how much the at-fault party owes you in damages. However, this amount can be regulated by the jury or the at-fault party can appeal in a move to reduce the damages.
The advantages of settling a case include:
- A verdict is reached more quickly than taking the case to trial
- You will get the compensation you deserve more quickly than if the case was taken to trial
- Your dog bite lawyer’s fee may be lower
- Your settlement agreements will remain confidential
- You will know how much you’ll receive in settlement
- It will be easier for you to move on after the accident
One of the main disadvantages of settling your case out of court is that you will receive a lesser amount that you would have taken the case to trial. There is however no guarantee that the insurance company would have given a higher compensation amount had you gone to trial.
Advantages of going to trial
- You will feel emotionally satisfied if the case is ruled in your favor
- Chances are that you will receive a higher amount than if the case is settled outside the court
- No guarantee that the jury or judge will rule in your favor or receive a higher settlement amount than if settled out of court
- Your lawyer may request a higher fee
- No privacy since the settlement agreement will be known to many
- Preparing and scheduling a trial can take a long time
If you have hired a skilled and professional dog bite lawyer, he should help you evaluate the settlement offer and determine whether it is fair enough or not based on the injuries you have sustained.
Your attorney should highlight the advantages and disadvantages of settling out of court versus going to court. There may be a reason specific to your situation that favors you. Many people who take cases to trial do so because they couldn’t agree out of court in the dog bite case.
It is important that you hire a professional dog bite lawyer to handle your case. You may want to ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have previously hired a dog bite lawyer. Most importantly, you should only hire a lawyer that specializes on dog bite case.
He should have an extensive experience in the field and also provide references of their previous work.