Dog bite accidents come with a surge of emotions and questions about what to do next. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite attack, you should speak with a dog bite accident lawyer about your legal rights before too much time passes. Dog bite cases do not remain open or pending forever. They must either settle or taken to court for a decision.
After a Dog Attack in Alexandria
Some victims hold off on getting treatment. Fearing for the well-being of the dog, they do not want to report the attack to a healthcare provider and risk notifying authorities. If the dog owner is a friend, neighbor, or family member, victims may fear the relationship will suffer. However, it is crucial to seek medical treatment if necessary and to create evidence of the attack if you do decide to file a claim later.
If you are unsure how to proceed, a consultation with an attorney may provide some clarity and direction. Meetings at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC are confidential. No one will know that you are exploring your legal options.
Handling the Dog Owner’s Insurance Company
The owner of the animal may have reported the incident to his/her insurance company. If so, an insurance adjuster may have already reached out to you. The fact that an adjuster is calling you does not necessarily mean that the company is prepared to offer you any compensation, however.
Be wary of providing information or statements to an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies use several ways to try to trick or trap you. Although you may believe you are sharing only information favorable to your claim, you could be surprised to hear statements come back to haunt you later.
Having an attorney on your side is so important when it comes to dog bite claims. Talk to an attorney before speaking with an insurance company representative or signing any documents so you can make an informed decision.
Alexandria Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 571-229-1800
Common Dog Bite Defenses
There are a variety of defenses that dog owners could use to try and deter you from perusing compensation. However, with the right legal support from a personal injury lawyer, you may counter these defenses. Here are a few examples of common arguments:
It Was Not My Dog
Anyone who was exercising custody or control over the dog could be liable for the dog’s actions. The absence of documentation concerning ownership does not mean that there is no claim.
The Victim Was Trespassing
Because property owners owe less of a legal duty to a trespasser than they do to a guest, they may argue that the victim was on the owner’s property without permission.
The Victim Was Teasing/Tormenting the Dog
Most common when the victim is a child, the argument is that the victim provoked the otherwise docile animal into behaving the way it did at the time of the attack in question.
The Victim’s Medical Treatment Is Unnecessary
This defense comes into play in cases where there is not a good faith dispute about who owned or controlled the dog or whether there was trespassing, teasing, or tormenting involved. The owner or the insurance company state that the victim sought unnecessary medical intervention that is not reimbursable.
The Victim Had Pre-Existing Conditions
An insurance company may argue that certain injuries of which the victim complains pre-dated the dog bite accident.
If you are the victim of a dog bite or a dog attack, a free consultation with our legal team can help you decide whether or not to pursue legal action. We can discuss the details of the case and the defense that is being used to explain the options available to you.
Claimable Dog Bite Damages
Every case is different. Here are some of the types of damages we have helped our clients recover:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Physical therapy
- Occupational or vocational therapy
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring or physical disfigurement
If the actions of the dog’s owner, keeper, or custodian were particularly reckless, wanton, or willful, a court could also consider whether to award punitive damages. In this case, the wrongdoer pays not to compensate the victim but to punish the wrongdoer.
The Importance of Expert Witnesses
Concerning the facts and circumstances of the actual bite, eyewitness testimony from anyone who observed the event will be necessary. The extent and expenses associated with the actual damages, however, may require an expert witness.
An expert witness such as a healthcare provider would help explain the effects, both short-term and long-term, that the accident has had on the victim’s body and mind.
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The Legal Team at Parish Law Firm Can Help
You don’t have to go through your dog bite claim alone. We want to help you move forward with your legal case and life as a whole. Schedule your free claim review today by calling the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at 1-571-229-1800.