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Should I Sue For a Dog Bite Injury

Posted on: June 20th, 2019

Helpful Tips for Dog Bite Victims

If a dog attacks you and breaks the skin you are now exposed to a host of health issues that need to get addressed immediately. Does that necessarily mean that you should make an insurance claim or immediately file suit against the dog owner?

No.

As dog bite attorneys, we receive phone calls from many people who have been attacked, have legitimate questions about how to handle the matter, but have not been seriously injured to the extent that a lawyers involvement is necessary. If there isn’t any functional impairment, scarring, and the victim will recover quickly with no disfigurement it may not be a good use of their time to pursue a damages claim. However, we appreciate all calls and questions so that people who have been attacked can get some good advice and make an educated decision for themselves about how they want to proceed. Here are some things you should consider before filing suit.

Factors To Determine if You Should Sue for a Dog Bite Injury

  1. The history of the animal relative to the negligence of the dog owner. How many times has this dog attacked before? What did the dog owner do (or not do) to protect you from injury?
  2. What is the extent of your injuries? Will you live with permanent disfigurement or functional limitations from the bite? We take scarring and disfigurement to victims very seriously and these cases almost always should be pursued.
  3. Did your wound get infected? We have had many clients end up in the Intensive Care Unit for minor wounds which then get seriously infected. The medical bills in this type of situation will be monumental and the long-term consequences of the infection can be serious.
  4. Will subsequent attacks occur if I don’t do something about this situation? It is incredibly important to make a claim, file an animal control report, and be certain there is a record of what happened to you. We have many clients who are the fourth and fifth victim of the same animal because the owner is incredibly irresponsible. It truly assists others by making your attack known and documented so the legal system can make the owner accountable for their dangerous decisions.
  5. Will the dog put down if I make a claim? Not usually. While this decision is largely made by the owner of the dog, most jurisdictions have a 10-day quarantine requirement to monitor for rabies and other diseases. Most dogs do not get euthanized as a result of the victim making a claim or filing a lawsuit. Remember, most dog attacks occur due to irresponsible and careless owners rather than inherently vicious dogs.

While not all dog bites rise to the level of making a claim against the owner of the dog, it is important that you make this decision knowing all the facts. We talk to people on a daily basis and let them know whether their injuries rise to the level of making a claim. We love these calls and provide our honest opinion about what should be done. For free. There is no risk in asking us our thoughts about your questions and concerns. I once had a client call and ask whether it was worth it to make a claim. She had lost 8 ounces of flesh from her dominant arm and had multiple rounds of plastic surgery. After a policy limits settlement with the dog owner, I asked why she hesitated and she said she just didn’t know. We want you to be in a position to make an educated decision that is right for you and we are here to answer any questions you may have.

If you have questions about dog bite cases, download our free guide.

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