When to Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer: Key Factors to Consider

Dog bites can be a traumatic and painful experience. In addition to physical injury, bites can result in emotional distress and mounting financial expenses. While it may not seem like a big deal, dog bite injuries can quickly snowball into something bigger. 

Hence, if you have been a dog bite victim, it is important to understand your legal rights and options. Consult an unprovoked dog bite lawyer to help you negotiate the restitution process. The following are some factors to consider when deciding on your legal options.

The Severity of Your Injury

Injuries caused by dog bites can vary from minor scratches and bruises to severe lacerations requiring surgery and long-term physical therapy. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, getting medical attention as soon as possible is important.

If your injury is severe enough that medical treatment is necessary, consider hiring an attorney specializing in personal injury law. A knowledgeable dog bite lawyer can help you determine the appropriate compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages due to work absences, pain, suffering, disfigurement, or permanent scarring from the attack.

Understanding Liability

Another factor that plays into whether or not you should hire an attorney following a dog bite incident depends on who is at fault for the incident. Several parties could potentially hold some level of responsibility for injuries sustained during an attack, including:

  • The owner/caretaker
  • Landlord of the property where the event happened
  • Veterinarian (in instances where it was evident prior that the animal had violent behavior)
  • Others who were negligently involved with care or control over the animal, such as groomers, handlers, etc, if applicable. 

It’s essential to identify all responsible parties and their liability for dog bite so you can pursue litigation against each one properly. You should also save any evidence supporting your case, like photographs or videos of the injury, reporting the incident to the police, and talking to witnesses who may have witnessed it. If you’re unsure who is liable for your damages, a dog bite lawyer can help investigate to discover their liability.

The Statute of Limitations

Like most personal injury cases, there are strict time limits in which you must file a claim against responsible parties. Most states generally have a two-year statute of limitations from when the dog bit happened. If you wait too long to file a claim or lawsuit, you risk waiving your right to any compensation for damages that occurred due to negligence.

That’s why you must act immediately after suffering a dog bite injury. Hiring an experienced lawyer ensures that all deadlines for filing lawsuits or claims will be appropriately met within the time limit if there is merit in its filing.

Insurance Availability

Another key factor would be whether or not insurance is available such as homeowner’s insurance. Homeowners’ insurance policies typically cover damages resulting from accidents on their insured properties, including dog bites in most cases.

If the dog owner is not covered by homeowner’s insurance, pursuing a legal case might be the only path forward. Even if coverage is present, a competent legal aid can help you sort the paperwork and negotiate with insurance adjusters. 

Hiring a Lawyer vs Settling Out of Court

Those with serious injuries may often see higher hospital bills/ financial burdens. In some instances where the settlement offer is good enough to merit the nuances of the case, lawyers may advise you to settle your case out of court. However, if you reject a settlement, assuming it is low, the case might go to trial, and you will lose money. These factors require an attorney to be present in the equation.

The complexity associated with dog bite cases can vary depending on all mentioned above and individual state laws and regulations concerning said animal attack incidents. Thus, speaking with a personal injury attorney specializing in dog bite-related injuries may prove invaluable when determining what steps should or could be taken moving forward.