Your Dog Bite Lawsuit Questions, Answered
Believe it or not, every day, there are around 1,000 dog bites that require emergency medical attention. And almost 10,000 citizens are actually hospitalized annually because of dog bites.
In 2018, there were 36 fatalities from dog bites. And unfortunately, 72% of these were pit bull bites. Only 6% of these fatalities resulted in criminal charges because of a dog bite lawsuit.
It’s a tough debate because dogs can be a man or woman’s best friend. They are great companions, have been known to save lives, and can be easily trained to make amazing pets.
That being said, nothing could be worse than suffering a dog bite, let alone a deadly one. And we should be able to expect people with dogs to take active responsibility for their furry friends. The right dog harness or muzzle can prevent any incidents so you can walk your dog carefree.
What if you did suffer a bite? When can you sue because of a dog bite?
Keep reading to uncover answers to all of your dog bite lawsuit questions.
Many Bites Are Settled Out of Court
A large portion of dog bites, especially one that is a minor dog bite, are settled out of court.
Going to court can take time and cost you money, so depending on how bad the might, it may be a good idea to settle with the owner or their insurance company. A lot of homeowner’s insurance policies may cover the cost of a bite, so be sure to mention that to the dog owner, in case they don’t realize that may be an option.
Either way, as soon as it happens and you have a pen, you should write everything down from beginning to end, including an exchange you may have had with the dog owner. Make a list of any and all expenses and be sure to look up any state dog bite laws.
Make sure you report it as well. The sooner you do so, the better. That way, the police can write a report and help determine if the dog has bitten anyone else in the past. They can also check to make sure a dog is up to date on all its vaccinations. If it isn’t, and especially if there have been other bites in the past, those facts could all help your case should you decide to sue.
Give them a deadline to give you the money by. If any issues arise in the process, it may be time to go to small claims court and hire a lawyer.
Don’t Settle Too Quickly
If you do decide to settle with the dog owner, be careful not to jump the gun. While an offer for a few hundred dollars might seem like a lot at the moment, it might not be enough to cover your costs.
Was any of your attire damaged? Do you have health insurance? Will you need a rabies shot? Dog bite costs can add up quickly, not to mention the stress and anxiety that often accompanies a bite.
What Are Rabies Symptoms?
An immediate worry that people tend to have after a bite is rabies. Some signs you can look for are itching, discomfort, or the feeling of pins and needles around the dog bite.
The person who was bitten may also experience headaches, fever, or fatigue. Anxiety, difficulty swallowing, delirium, and convulsions are all more serious symptoms that may occur.
It’s essential that you seek medical attention even if it’s a minor dog bite.
What Will a Lawyer Do?
If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer, make sure they are professional like this law firm.
What they’ll do first is gather all the evidence. Then, based on your injuries and expenses, they’ll draft a demand letter to send to the dog owner. In this letter, they’ll detail all of your expenses, what happened, and that you intend to file a lawsuit.
In this same letter, your lawyer will present an amount that you are seeking in order to avoid going to court. They may agree right away or present a counteroffer. Either way, don’t agree to anything without the help of your lawyer.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Deciding whether or not you should hire a lawyer after a dog bite is really up to you. There are many things to think about. For example, even though your bite may seem minor, maybe it has inhibited from going on your favorite walk anymore or running your regular route.
Getting bitten by a dog can instill fear and anxiety that can follow you for a very long time. Plus, the medical bills and scar you may have can leave a serious impact on your pockets and your self-esteem.
The dog who bit you may have bitten before, and it can be all due to a neglectful owner. Either way, it may be in your best interest to hire someone who knows the state’s dog bite laws in and out and can fight for you to get the compensation that you deserve.
A Dog Bite Lawsuit Doesn’t Have to Take Too Long or Break the Bank
Chances are, both parties will want to settle after a dog bite. A dog bite lawsuit and going to court for months on end is the last thing that most people want to deal with, or pay for.
But hiring a lawyer doesn’t mean you’ll have to endure all that. It simply means that you’ll have a lawyer to help you ask for what you deserve, and make sure that you get it.
So don’t hesitate if you or someone you love has been bitten. Most lawyers offer free consultations, so you’ve got nothing to lose just to give one a call!