Getting bitten by a dog can lead to serious physical and emotional trauma. While many dogs love family pets, attacks do occur, often leaving victims with expenses for medical treatment, lost wages from missing work, permanent scarring or disabilities. When you are bitten by a dog, having an experienced dog bite lawyer on your side can make all the difference in getting the compensation you deserve.
Where Do Dog Attacks Happen?
Dog bites and attacks can occur in many settings. Many happen on the dog owner’s property when visitors encounter a territorial dog. Children are often victims of attacks as they may not understand a dog’s boundaries or warning signs. Dog bites also frequently occur in public spaces if pets are not properly leashed and controlled. Even well-trained dogs can attack if they feel threatened or sense weakness in a human. Having an experienced dog bite lawyer allows you to determine liability and seek damages no matter where the incident occurred.
Proving Liability for Dog Bites
In a dog bite or attack case, liability often centers around whether the animal’s owner reasonably could have prevented the incident. Unlike with car accidents, the legal concept of “no fault” does not really apply to dog bites. If the owner failed to properly train, supervise, restrain or control the dog, he or she is likely liable for any injuries and other damages. An attorney experienced in dog attack cases will thoroughly investigate the specifics of your incident to build the strongest liability case possible.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Dog Attack?
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, you may be entitled to various types of significant financial compensation, including:
- Past and future medical bills related to injury treatment
- Costs for psychological counseling or therapy
- Lost income due to missing work during recovery
- Permanent disability or loss of limb functionality
- Pain and emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
A dog bite lawyer understands how to prove and quantify each aspect of damages you sustained. He can fight to recover full and fair compensation.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer Proves Your Case
Proving liability and damages in a dog mauling case involves various investigative and legal tactics. An experienced dog bite lawyer will:
- Interview witnesses to establish exactly how the attack happened
- Review animal control and police reports for statements and details
- Order medical documentation and bills for proof of injuries and treatment
- Obtain veterinary records to reveal past aggression issues if any exists
- Consult medical experts to discuss long-term prognosis and needs
- Present photographic and video evidence of your wounds, scars or disabilities
- Calculate costs for medical care, lost earnings, and other damages
Using legal discovery procedures and court filings, your attorney can compel the animal’s owner to produce necessary documents, invoices, insurance information and other evidence. If a fair settlement cannot be negotiated outside court, he will build a compelling case for trial.
Why Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer?
Trying to handle a dog bite lawsuit without legal experience can undermine the compensation you need and deserve. An dog bite lawyer will:
- Perform an independent investigation of your claim
- Determine all viable grounds for liability against responsible parties
- Aggressively pursue maximum compensation for damages
- Have knowledge of strict time limits for filing dog bite injury claims
- Negotiate vigorously with uncooperative insurance adjusters
- Take the claim to trial if fair compensation cannot be negotiated
Most personal injury attorneys, including dog bite lawyers, represent clients on a contingency fee basis. You pay nothing up front or out-of-pocket for representation. Legal fees are only owed if and when monetary compensation is obtained. This eliminates financial concerns or barriers when seeking counsel after a dog attack that was not your fault.
If you or a loved one suffers a dog bite injury, understanding your legal rights and pursuing experienced legal representation sets the foundation for maximum compensation. Key takeaways include:
- Dog bites often result when owners fail to properly train, restrain or control their pets. This establishes liability for damages.
- Substantial financial compensation can be obtained for medical bills, lost income, disabilities, scarring and emotional trauma after a dog attack.
- Skilled dog bite lawyers use various tactics to build strong cases by determining liability and quantifying all damages suffered.
- Most dog bite attorneys offer contingency fee arrangements so bite victims do not pay for legal services out of pocket.
- Time limits apply for filing dog bite injury claims, so consulting an attorney promptly is important.
- Settling without legal advice often results in not receiving full, fair compensation.
- Dog bite cases can typically be settled out of court, but seasoned lawyers are not afraid to file a lawsuit and go to trial if necessary.
The best chance at obtaining damages lies with retaining an experienced dog bite lawyer. Counsel provides legal knowledge and advocacy needed for the strongest case and best outcome. If you or someone you know suffers an unfortunate dog attack, do not delay contacting an attorney for consultation and guidance. Most offer free initial case reviews and evaluations. You have nothing to lose – and compensation to gain.
How soon after a dog bite should I contact a lawyer?
You should contact a qualified dog bite attorney as soon as possible following an attack, ideally within 1-2 days for several reasons. There are strict statutes of limitation on filing injury claims, prompt incident investigation is key, quick medical treatment documents harm, and insurance adjusters act fast to minimize liability payouts. An experienced lawyer helps navigate each aspect.
What costs will hiring a dog bite lawyer require upfront?
Pursuing fair compensation should not carry upfront legal fees or expenses for dog bite victims. Most personal injury attorneys, including specialized dog attack lawyers, operate on contingency contracts. You only pay legal fees if and when monetary compensation is successfully recovered, typically from 30-40% of the final settlement or award amount. All case costs are also advanced by the attorney.
What if the owner apologizes and promises to pay my medical bills?
While an owner apology may indicate remorse, never take verbal promises of financial responsibility at face value without experienced legal advice. The impacts of dog bites often exceed basic medical expenses, may persist for months or years, and responsibility can shift later on. A dog bite lawyer ensures you receive and protect everything owed.
If I was partly at fault, can I make a claim?
Under legal doctrines like comparative fault or negligence, you may still recover damages after a dog bite even if your actions somewhat contributed to the incident. An attorney thoroughly investigates circumstances to strategically argue degrees of liability and maximize compensation despite split responsibility.
How is dog bite settlement amounts determined?
Many factors account for dog bite settlement calculations by attorneys. Key elements include medical bills now and into the future, lost earnings, pain/suffering levels, permanent disability or disfigurement, emotional distress, impact on quality of life, treatment timeframe, and considered legal merits of the case itself if a trial became necessary.