Dog bites are unexpected, traumatic events for animal owners, witnesses, and most of all, victims. According to the CDC, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog each year, and of those, about 1 in 5 require medical attention. Dog bite injuries can be extremely painful and cause permanent scarring and disfigurement, along with emotional trauma.
Dog bite victims may be hesitant to file a dog bite lawsuit due to the complicated emotions involved. They may be friends or neighbors with the dog owner, or the dog owner may plead with them to not file a lawsuit. However, f a dog bite or attack was not your fault (you were not trespassing and you did not provoke the dog), you should not be financially responsible for it. In California, dog owners are liablefor injuries caused by their dogs.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates are aggressive advocates for dog bite victims. We have recovered many six-figure settlements for dog bite victims (see our case results). If you or your child have been bitten by a dog, contact us to discuss your potential dog bite claim. In a free consultation, we can explain your legal rights and give you an experienced-based opinion of the value of your case.
Is It Worth Suing For Dog Bite?
A common question we are asked in a consultation is “how much is my case worth?” It is understandable that dog bite victims want a valuation because they will use it to decide whether to file a lawsuit. Dog bite victims often underestimate the severity of their injuries and do not fully realize the future care needed, such as surgeries, laser treatments for scarring, physical therapy, etc.
If your injuries or your child’s injuries require medical care, you should seek medical care as soon as possible and then speak with a lawyer about your legal rights and how much your claim may be worth.
After a dog bite, or any accident, you should never promise not to sue or agree to not get medical care. Additionally, you should not accept money for a promise not to sue (such as signing a release document). Your injuries may affect you in ways that you do not anticipate, and in the immediate hours and days following a dog bite, your condition and prognosis can change rapidly. If a healing wound becomes infected, additional care may be required.
You may be entitled to damages for medical care expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering for your dog bite injuries. You may recover money you will need for permanent disfigurement, future surgeries, as well as mental and emotional distress you suffered as a result of being bitten.
How Do You Negotiate A Dog Bite Settlement?
If you have an attorney, your lawyer can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. This is a business matter handled by a personal injury attorney and typically, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. Although the actual dog bite is a very traumatic experience, a legal claim allows a victim to focus on healing and recovery. The vast majority of cases do not go to trial and settle outside of court. The victim will not be required to be involved in negotiating, and typically, the dog owner’s insurance company will handle negotiations on their end.
A California personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about the medical care that dog bite victims need can negotiate the maximum compensation available. As a victim, you can maximize your claim by doing four things:
- Obtaining photo and video evidence of the dog bite
- Getting the dog owner’s contact information and home address
- Seeking medical care promptly and completing follow-up care (specialists visits, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy)
- Contacting a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.
Whether or not it is worth it to sue depends on the nature of your injuries and whether they cause you physical, emotional, and financial hardship. It is also necessary to have identified the dog’s owner.
What Is Considered A Serious Dog Bite?
In the aftermath of a bite, it may not be immediately clear that a bite is serious. Generally, a bite is considered serious if it is bleeding uncontrollably or causes damage to underlying tissues, nerves, tendons, muscles, or bones.
What Is A Level 4 Dog Bite?
If a dog latches on to a person and shakes or holds down, a victim may suffer deep punctures Level 4 dog bites may involve nerve damage or even require amputation. Level 4 dog bites typically only occur in highly aggressive dogs.
What Happens If A Dog Owner Doesn’t Have Insurance?
It is typical for dog bite claims to go through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. If the dog owner does not have insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation from another third party, such as a residential or commercial landlord or an employer. You should not self-eliminate a potential lawsuit based on the assumption that you do not have a case. Speak with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer about your legal rights and options.
Contact a Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Do not try to handle your dog bite case alone. Contact the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates to find out how much your dog bite case may be worth. We have offices in Los Angeles, El Segundo, Irvine, Anaheim, Riverside and San Diego and provide a free case evaluation. Under our contingency fee agreement, we are only paid if we recover money for you.