If you or someone you love gets bitten by a dog, it’s sometimes difficult to know the best thing to do. In most instances, if the dog belongs to someone else, you are entitled to bring a dog bite lawsuit against that individual. However, there are lots of things you’ll need to consider first, and this article should help to point you in the right direction.
There are around 4.5 million dog bites in the US every year, and a significant number of those victims could bring cases against the dog owners. Consulting with an experienced dog bite lawyer is the most essential step in dealing with such an injury. However, if you are still in doubt whether or not contacting lawyers is a wise move, grab a coffee and read the rest of this post.
The Social Implications of Making a Claim
Firstly, you need to decide whether or not making a claim is in your best interests. Maybe the dog that injured you belongs to a friend or family member? If that is the case, you may decide that dragging them through the courts is a terrible idea. It could ruin your relationship and cause hardship to the individual.
However, if you have no ties to the dog owner, you are usually safe to bring compensation cases without having to worry too much. Just use some common sense, and think about all the consequences of your actions before you push ahead. The last thing you want is to upset someone close to you unnecessarily.
The Different Types of Compensation
Before you file a dog bite case, it’s worth researching the different things for which you could be compensated. If you don’t have a rough idea of the potential outcome of your case, it doesn’t make sense to push ahead.
There is no point bringing any legal case against an individual if you will not profit from the endeavor. There are always going to be costs involved in putting your case before a court, so you need to make sure the potential compensation is higher than those expenses.
In most instances, anyone bitten by a dog can claim compensation for:
· The cost of medical bills associated with the incident.
· The cost of repairing or replacing property.
· The cost of losing your wages for a period.
· The cost of hiring someone to do the things you can’t do because of the injury.
· The cost of dealing with permanent disabilities or disfigurements.
· The cost of the emotional distress you suffered.
· Other costs related to the dog bite.
The Cut-Off Date for Making Your Claim
As with all compensation claims, there is often a cut-off date for taking the individual to court. That is called the statute of limitations, and it varies from state to state. With that in mind, you need to take the time to research the information for the area in which you reside.
Still, it always makes sense to start your case as soon as possible. If you wait a couple of years, there is a chance it could work against you. For instance, the judge might want to know why it’s taken you so long to bring the case before his court. Unless you have some valid reasons for taking so long, it’s possible the judge will take your complaint less seriously than others. That could mean you get a lower rate of compensation than you otherwise would have done.
So, find out the cut-off point, and be sure to file your paperwork with lots of time to spare.
Can You Solve the Issue Out of Court?
There are many instances in which you may be able to get the compensation you require and solve the entire problem outside of the courtroom. For that reason, it’s always sensible to consider the option of out of court settlements.
If the dog owner knows you will take them to court, and they know that you’ll probably win, they have an incentive to give you money before things get that far. With that in mind, you should consider speaking to the individual and letting them know your intentions.
At the end of the day, you probably don’t want to make a profit from the case. In most situations, you just want to cover your costs and get reimbursement. So, give the dog owner a list of all the expenses you incurred, and ask them to make an offer. If the dog owner is willing to cover the cost of your lost wages and all those medical bills, you should consider striking a deal outside of the courtroom to save everyone lots of time and money.
Finding the Most Experienced Claim Lawyers
If all else fails, and you can’t solve the issue outside of the courtroom, there is a chance you will need to get in touch with experienced claim lawyers. You need to find professionals with an excellent track record who spend their entire day working on similar cases for their clients.
In some instances, the professionals will require payment upfront. In other instances, they will take their money from the compensation you receive when you win your case. Regardless, you just need to understand how your chosen experts will work before signing on the dotted line.
There are lots of benefits you can expect when dealing with professional compensation claim lawyers, but the most important is that you can relax. They will do all the hard work on your behalf, while you wait around for the compensation to hit your bank account.
You should now have a reasonable idea of all the things you need to consider before filing a dog bite lawsuit in the US. If you need more information, contact experts in the field and pick their brains. You can also find a wealth of info online that should help to answer any questions you have.
When all is said and done, you are entitled to compensation if a dog bites you and causes lots of costs and expenses. So, never feel bad about taking the owner to court. If they didn’t want to end up in that situation, they should have put more effort into controlling their animal.