After you suffer a dog bite injury, you may consider filing a claim or lawsuit against the owner or another responsible party. These options give you the chance to seek compensation for any damages experienced due to your dog bite injuries. Your dog bite case could settle out of court or proceed to trial, depending on several factors.
If the liable party is amicable and makes a fair offer, you may settle the case out of court. Usually, the liable party’s insurance will try to settle the case before it reaches trial. However, every case is different, and some go to trial. Whichever way, a lawyer is equipped to handle your case. You can focus on your recovery while a legal advocate does the heavy lifting.
What Is the Process of a Dog Bite Case?
A dog bite is a traumatic event that can reshape a person’s whole life. It is not uncommon to seek compensation for the trauma and expenses a dog bite injury caused you. If you choose to file a personal injury claim related to a dog bite, you should know what your state requires of you.
When filing your claim, you will:
- Notify the dog owner and their insurance company of your intention to file a personal injury claim. Not doing so makes your claim invalid.
- Collect any evidence that will prove the owner’s liability. This will help you prove your right to damages.
- Properly estimate the total value of all your damages from the injury.
- Potentially hire a lawyer to build and present a compelling case for your claim.
- Engage in settlement negotiations or have a lawyer negotiate on your behalf.
- File a personal injury lawsuit if your settlement negotiations fall through.
A lawyer can handle all these steps if you are in no condition to do so. You may also just prefer a legal professional to manage your case for you.
Why You Should Not Take the Initial Settlement Offer from an Insurer
The liable party’s insurance company will reach out to you during the early stages of your claims process. The insurance adjuster will offer you a settlement for the claim to be closed. Even though you may be tempted to take that initial offer, don’t rush to accept it. The initial settlement for any injury claim is often too low to cover all your damages.
It usually comes with a clause that bars you from filing a lawsuit as well. Trials can be expensive for the insurance company, so they are keen to quickly settle every claim out of court.
If the offer comes before you have secured a lawyer, tell the insurance adjuster that you will get back to them after speaking to your lawyer. Do not let them pressure you into rashly taking their offer. A dog bite lawyer can handle settlement talks with the claims adjuster. They understand all the legal jargon and loopholes in the insurance policy.
Advantages of Settling the Case
For the insurance company, the key advantage is that they get to lower their costs by not going to trial. This means that their bottom line is not heavily affected, and they can avoid any bad press if the case becomes too public.
There are some advantages for the victim to settle out of court. For one, a trial can be a lengthy and drawn-out process. It will take up a lot of time and resources. Settling out of court cuts down the time and resources spent, including legal fees.
If you suffered great financial setbacks because of the dog bite injuries, settling out of court will give you faster financial compensation. This can help alleviate the stress of having bills rack up and unpaid loans.
A Lawyer Knows What’s Best for You
Despite all this, the goal of your attorney is to ensure you receive an offer that compensates for all your damages. Your attorney wants to avoid you having to cover any remaining damages and causing yourself undue stress. Your lawyer will help you determine whether the insurance company’s settlement offer is a fair one.
If you decide to settle out of court, you give up the right to a trial. The settlement signals an agreement between the victim and the liable party and an end to the case. You cannot request more money after you agree to the settlement offer. If the offer is far from fair, a lawyer will advise you to take the case to trial.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Can Help
Our attorneys are prepared to handle dog bite injury cases. With more than forty years of experience and over 50,000 cases solved, we are ready to help you seek compensation for damages.
We will file your claim and negotiate on your behalf until a fair settlement is reached. If not, we are more than ready to take your case to trial to get you an adequate court award. Contact us today for a free consultation.