Do You Need a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?
There are approximately 90 million dogs that live in households throughout the United States. Dogs are arguably the most popular pet in the country, but unfortunately, there are times when dog bites cause serious injuries. If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, you may wonder whether or not you need an attorney to help secure the compensation you deserve. Here, we want to discuss why you may or may not need an attorney to handle your case. Whether or not you choose to use a dog attack attorney after sustaining a dog bite injury, the ultimate goal is the same – to secure full compensation for your losses.
Reasons To Hire An Attorney After A Dog Bite?
The single most overriding reason that you should consider hiring an attorney after a dog bite injury is that very few dog bite victims actually receive compensation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 800,000 to 900,000 dog bite victims seek medical treatment in the emergency room each year. However, many dog bite incidents go unreported and uncompensated.
Even when an injury is reported, insurance carriers are notoriously difficult to deal with. In many cases, the insurance carrier is going to offer far less for a settlement than a case is actually worth. An attorney will understand insurance carrier negotiating tactics and will work to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Most people do not have the resources available to thoroughly investigate the dog bite incident that caused their injuries. However, a skilled and experienced dog bite lawyer will be able to:
· Obtain all evidence related to the incident (photo or video surveillance, eyewitness statements, accident reports, and more).
· Work with trusted medical professionals to ensure their client’s well being in to help calculate total expected losses.
Many people shy away from securing an attorney after a dog bite incident because they are afraid they will not be able to afford the legal fees. However, the dog bite injury lawyers at Torgenson Law take these cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients pay no legal fees until after we secure the compensation they deserve through a favorable settlement or verdict.
When You Don’t Need An Attorney
It is important to understand that securing a lawyer for a dog bite case is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit against the dog owner. The vast majority of these cases will be settled out of court through insurance carriers, and an attorney will still be able to help with that process.
However, there are various situations in which you may not need to consider an attorney. This could include dog bite cases that resulted in relatively minor injuries or situations where there is no dispute over fault for the incident, and full compensation has been offered.
However, there is no harm in seeking a free consultation from an Arizona dog bite injury lawyer who has extensive experience handling these cases. An attorney will evaluate the preliminary facts of your case and help guide you towards the best path forward for your situation.
How Do You Sue For A Dog Bite?
In general, strict liability dog bite cases will be handled through a dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. However, it may be the case that the owner has no insurance policy to pay a claim, or the insurance carrier denies the claim. If this happens, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to recover the compensation you need.
First, you need to keep in mind that Arizona has a two-year personal injury statute of limitations in place. This means that victims of a dog bite have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent dog owner.
It is strongly advisable that you seek assistance from an attorney if you think a lawsuit is going to be necessary for your dog bite injury case. An attorney will have a thorough understanding of how these cases work and will be able to tell you the advantages and disadvantages of settling a case versus going to court for your particular situation.
Does A Dog Owner Have To Be Negligent?
In some states throughout the country, it is necessary to prove that a dog’s owner was negligent and that their negligence somehow caused the bite injuries to the victim. However, Arizona operates under what is called a “strict liability” dog bite rule. This means that the victim of a dog bite does not have to prove that a dog owner was negligent to recover compensation for their injuries. In order to recover compensation for these cases, the following must be shown:
· That the injury was caused by a dog bite
· The dog bite happened when the victim was in a public place or lawfully on private property
Some states operate under a “one bite” rule, meaning that the dog owner can only be held liable if the dog has bitten somebody before or has been shown to be aggressive in the past. That is not the case in Arizona. Victims can receive compensation even if the dog has never bitten anybody before.
Types Of Compensation For A Dog Bite Case
If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, there may be various types of compensation available for your claim. While no two dog bite injury cases are exactly alike, the team at Torgenson Law has extensive experience helping injury victims recover the following types of compensation:
- Coverage of all medical expenses related to the dog bite injury
- Compensation for any physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Compensation for any reconstructive surgery necessary
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost income if a victim cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages