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Did you know that 53% of American households own dogs? Many people consider their dogs to be family, and there’s a good reason why. They are loyal, gentle, and fun to be around.
However, it’s important to remember that dogs are animals. They can be dangerous and cause harm to both other animals and people. Being bit by a dog is unexpecting and frightening, so you need to know how to file a claim.
A dog bite injury can turn into something more serious, and it may require medical attention. Although dog bites are common, few people know the legal consequences involved.
If you’re ready to learn more about what to do after a dog bite and how to file a claim for it, keep reading this guide.
Determine Who Is at Fault
If a dog bites you, you’re entitled to file a legal compensation claim. If it’s another person’s dog that injures you, the owner can be held liable for their dog’s actions.
Be aware that dog bite laws vary per state, so you must study what the law covers in the area you live. The first step to almost every claim, though, is to determine who is at fault. To do this, dog bite liability needs to be established by showing that the dog owner was negligent somehow.
It is considered negligence when the dog owner owed the injured party the responsibility of care but did not fulfill that duty. This can result from not securing the dog properly or not taking the right precautions to ensure that the dog is kept from others, especially if the owner knows they have an aggressive dog.
As you do some research, you may notice that certain states have a “one-bite” rule. This essentially states that liability is based on whether the dog knew that their dog had bitten someone else before or that they have the potential to bite someone. A dog owner can be held liable if they should have known or knew that their pet is dangerous for others to be around.
Some states abide by strict liability; this is when a defendant is liable when they meet a specific condition. It doesn’t matter what they did or didn’t do. They can still be held accountable if their dog bit someone else, even if the injured party didn’t aggravate the dog.
Get Documentation for Your Claim
To help support your claim, you’re going to need some documentation. Dog bites are a simpler personal injury claim to others, but they still help build your case.
After being bitten by a dog, be sure to seek medical attention. Not only is this necessary to prevent the injury from getting worse, but it’s information that is important for a dog bite lawsuit.
The medical professional you see will help prepare an official record of your injuries as well as how much it cost. This will be a big advantage when you fight your claim.
Speaking of costs, you’ll want to be diligent in keeping a record of all your expenses related to your dog bite. Even if you need to take a cab from the hospital because you can’t drive, all of this information is important.
Additionally, be sure to photograph as much as you can from the scene where the injury occurred. This means the injury itself, the dog (to see if it was on a leash or not), the location, etc. This can be used as evidence if the owner tries to fight the claim.
It’s also a good idea to talk to any witnesses who saw the attack take place. Collect their contact information and statement of the accident so that you’ll have everything you need for when you hire a personal injury lawyer.
Talk to a Lawyer
Don’t jump at the opportunity to speak to the dog owner’s insurance. You’ll want to talk to an attorney first. Dealing with insurance companies will be frustrating and complicated, the last thing you need to deal with when you’re healing from an injury.
The right lawyer will work with you to explain more about this. They’ll also help advise you on the next steps you should take, help you establish an estimated value of your claim, and focus on compensation while recovering from your injuries.
Although you may be tempted to take care of this claim on your own, it’ll make your life a lot easier to hire the right personal injury attorney. They have years of experience and can make the process as smooth as it can be.
How Long Will My Claim Take?
Nobody wants to deal with a legal case that is drawn out for weeks on end. The amount of time it will take to fight your claim depends on the circumstances of your case. There’s not necessarily a rough estimate, but there are a few factors to consider:
- Your medical treatment
- How long it takes for you to recover
- If you decide to pursue further legal action
- The severity of your injury or injuries
Your lawyer will have the best idea of a timeline for your case.
Filing a Claim for a Dog Bite Injury
As much as people love dogs, it’s essential to be aware that they’re capable of being a threat, just like any other animal. This is particularly true when it comes to an attack that results in a dog bite injury. If you’re a victim of this, you may be dealing with some serious injuries.
Filing a claim can be intimidating, but it just takes a little bit of research and the right lawyer. You’ll be able to recover quickly while being compensated for your injuries and troubles.
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