If you are suffering from injuries sustained by an unprovoked dog bite and the owner is refusing to admit fault in the matter, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney like Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd as soon as possible. Depending on the laws of your state, the owner could be liable for damages that include medical bills, missed time from work and damage to personal property. In most states, dog owners are held liable for the actions of their pets, but certain states may allow for exceptions to the liability laws. For example, in the District of Columbia, dog liability statutes only apply to dogs that are at large, while in New York, dog owners are only liable for the victims' medical costs. Whatever the case may be, a personal injury attorney can assist you in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to by conducting a thorough investigation and filing a claim on your behalf.
The first step in filing your claim is meeting with an attorney for an initial consultation. During your consultation, the attorney will conduct an interview and advise you on the specific liability laws in your state. During this time, you will also want to provide your attorney with documents such as medical bills and photos of your injuries, as well as contact information of the dog owner and any witnesses who are willing to make a statement on the incident. If your injuries have caused you to be absent from work, additional helpful information can include paycheck stubs or copies of work schedules that depict your loss of hours and pay. If the attorney believes they can assist you in obtaining damages for your pain and suffering, they will provide you with a legal agreement and advise on the next steps of the process.
Dog Bite Investigation
Prior to filing an injury claim, your attorney may need to conduct an investigation if they feel that additional evidence is required in order to prove that the dog owner was negligent. Depending on the type of evidence needed, your attorney may interview your witnesses or request additional medical documentation. They may also visit the accident scene to investigate the conditions that may have led to the dog bite. For example, if you were jogging through your neighborhood and were attacked when a dog escaped from a broken fence, this type of information is imperative when it comes to proving fault. Once the attorney has obtained a sufficient amount of evidence, they will calculate the potential damages owed to you and draw up a complaint. The complaint will be served upon the dog owner, who will be given a specific amount of time to respond.
Out of Court Negotiations
If the dog owner decides to cooperate following the official service of the complaint, there is a good chance that your case can be settled before it enters the courtroom, as dog bites are often covered through the dog owner's homeowners insurance policies. If both parties agree to an out-of-court settlement, your attorney will negotiate a settlement with the dog owner's insurance company. If a fair and reasonable settlement cannot be agreed upon or the dog owner refuses to admit they were negligent, the next step is to move forward with your lawsuit. If the case does go to court, both parties will be given the opportunity to present their version of events to a small claims judge, who will make a final decision based on the evidence provided.
Fight for Your Rights
Dog owners have a serious responsibility when it comes to keeping the public safe from their pets, and should be held liable in the event of an unprovoked attack. An experienced personal injury attorney will fight for your rights and work hard to help you obtain a fair amount of compensation for your troubles.