When someone gets bitten by a dog or any other animal, it could be a terrible and sometimes long-life scary experience. It is a painful and confusing situation as all of a sudden you have to face discomfort, medical bills, and loss of income due to missed work.
Getting acquainted with the law on dog bites
Certain laws make the liability of dog owners explicit in dog bite cases. Dog owners can be held liable depending on the circumstances of the injury. In some states, if the plaintiff was trespassing when the dog bit him or her, the dog owner is not liable. Let’s have a look at other laws:
Dog bite statute
The law states that the dog owner is liable regardless of whether the injured person was trespassing on the owner’s property or whether the owner was aware that the dog was vicious.
One bite rule
As per this rule that is applicable only in some states of the U.S., the owner is not liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. However, once the pet has demonstrated vicious behavior, the owner is held liable.
Dog owner negligence
The law can hold the dog owner liable if the person failed to control the dog and it resulted in injury to the plaintiff.
Most dog owners cover dog bite liability via insurance policies. Hence, the dog owners or their insurance companies might have to pay for the damages that the plaintiff has suffered.
Bring a claim for a dog bite on time
To bring a claim for a dog bite, it is imperative that you suffered an injury, it was a result of someone else’s fault, and it happened within the last three years. You need to take guidance from an Animal and Dog Bites Lawyer.
A specialized attorney will evaluate your case and if found legit will help you recover the money you deserve. The advocate will be aware of the statute of limitations in your state and how they apply in your particular case.
The laws differ from state to state. For instance, you can sue the dog owner only if the dog bit you and not for other injuries that the dog caused you. However, some states allow you to claim for injuries from an accident caused due to the dog.
The judge will dismiss your case if you file it after the deadline has passed. Even if you are trying to settle your case out of court and you are sure of obtaining a positive outcome, you must leave yourself ample time so that you can file a lawsuit in the worst case scenario.
An experienced lawyer will know the exceptions for deadline and whether they are applicable in your case so that the judge does not reject your lawsuit.
Knowing what dog bite lawyers near me can do
In most cases, the plaintiff has to bring a claim against an insurance company as dog owners usually cover the dog bites liability through them. If you try to take on an insurance company without having a legal advisor by your side, you are most likely to lose money.
An experienced dog bite attorney will help you by sending out invitations to collect evidence. It could include discovering any dangerous habits of the dog and previous instances of attack. The lawyer will also hire experts to prove your case if required.
The attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company or the dog owner. If your case goes to court, the lawyer will also represent you before the judge or jury and try best to win your dog bite claim.
Understanding the factors affecting dog bite settlements
Your Animal and Dog Bites Lawyer will help you in estimating the amount of compensation that you can claim. Many factors affect your dog bite claim.
Your case satisfies the legal requirements of the state
The defendant should have the risk of losing the case due to the circumstances surrounding your dog bite case. Your lawyer can quickly assess the liability of the dog owner if your state has a strict dog bite statute.
However, if your state has a less strict statute or no statute at all, it will depend on how your lawyer can convince the judge or jury about the authenticity of your claim. The attorney will have to prove that the dog owner had the responsibility of care and he or she acted with negligence, or the dog owner was aware of the biting tendency of the dog and did not exercise caution.
If you have a strong case, wherein there is not much scope for the defense lawyer, the dog owner or insurance company will have to pay some amount of compensation to you.
You have faced measurable damages
While it is simpler to put a monetary value on damages such as medical bills and lost wages, it is difficult to fix compensation for the pain and suffering. Your attorney will set a tentative amount based on the result of other comparable cases. Since a jury is responsible for determining the settlement, this decision becomes highly subjective.
Also, the severity of your wounds will play in role in receiving a better settlement. For example, if you have suffered disfigurement as against puncture wounds, you are more likely to get higher compensation.
The jury will also examine how the injury has affected the quality of your life. For example, a dog bites a painter on his wrist, and his painting abilities get negatively impacted.
The track record of your attorney will also matter in determining your chances of obtaining a better compensation. For example, if the dog owner or insurance company knows that your lawyer will accept a lower settlement rather than going to the court of law, the party is most likely to offer the same to you.
It is essential that you do your initial research well and appoint the best-suited lawyer for your case. An experienced and competent Animal and Dog Bites Lawyer will be able to win a higher or at least the deserved settlement for you.
You can go through detailed profiles of the top-rated lawyers across the country on the LawTally website. It also provides search options to locate the most relevant attorney to handle your case.