Top Questions to Ask a Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite attacks can be traumatic events. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries, you most likely have a variety of questions regarding your legal rights and whether you have a valid dog bite lawsuit. In addition, choosing the right dog bite attorney can be an overwhelming process. When interviewing prospective attorneys, asking the following questions will help you to better understand your rights and determine whether the lawyer is the right person to handle your case.
Questions to Ask About Your Case
One of the most important aspects of a consultation with a dog bite lawyer is learning about your legal rights and options. The following questions will help you to better understand how to proceed with a potential lawsuit.
Can I Recover Compensation if the Dog Didn’t Have a History of Aggression?
Colorado has strict liability laws for dog bite cases. This means that the dog’s owner is liable for any damages you suffer, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or whether the dog has a history of aggression. Even if the owner took all necessary precautions and this is the first time the dog has ever bitten someone, you will be entitled to recover compensation for your damages.
What if the Dog’s Owner Says I Provoked the Dog?
There are a few exceptions to Colorado’s strict liability laws in dog bite cases. One of the most common is when the victim provokes the dog in some way. If you taunted, teased or provoked the dog in any way, you may not be able to recover compensation for your damages. For this reason, it’s common for dog owners to claim their dog was provoked. It’s important to be able to document the fact that you didn’t knowingly provoke the dog. The most effective way to provide this documentation is through statements by witnesses who observed the attack.
Other instances where you may not be able to recover compensation include dog bites:
- By a police dog performing its duties (however there may be other claims available)
- While trespassing on the owner’s property
- By a hunting or herding dog performing its duties
- While working with the dog in a professional capacity, such as a vet, dog groomer, dog handler, humane society worker, or dog trainer
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases?
In Colorado, you have two years from the date of the attack to file your lawsuit. If you miss this filing deadline, you may not be eligible to recover compensation for your damages. For this reason, it’s always best to consult an attorney immediately following the dog bite attack.
What Kind of Settlement Can I Expect from My Dog Bite Lawsuit?
It’s impossible to predict the kind of settlement you may be able to expect without knowing the specifics of your case. There are a variety of factors which impact the amount of money you may be able to recover, including:
- The cost of any medical bills associated with the attack
- Lost wages from time missed at work while you recover
- Any psychological trauma experienced and associated counseling you needed to recover from this trauma
- Any property damage you experienced
- The severity of your injuries and whether there is any permanent scarring
Why Do I Need to Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer?
If you’re uncertain as to whether you should work with an attorney, this is an important question to ask since it will help you understand the advantages of hiring a lawyer. In general, dog bite victims who hire an attorney achieve better financial outcomes than individuals who choose to represent themselves. There are several reasons for this. Dog bite attorneys:
- Have a sophisticated understanding of the laws governing these cases and can help you identify the best legal strategy to achieve your desired outcome
- Know how to accurately estimate the value of your damages, increasing the likelihood that you’ll maximize your compensation
- Can ensure you provide the proper documentation, including all medical records, to clearly demonstrate the extent of your damages
- Will investigate the details of the attack to build a strong case
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, increasing the likelihood that you’ll receive a fair settlement offer
- Can advise you as to when it’s in your best interest to take your case to trial rather than settle with the insurance company
Questions to Ask About the Lawyer’s Experience
You should also ask a dog bite lawyer questions about their experience. The following questions will help you determine whether that lawyer is the right person to handle your case.
Are Dog Bite Cases a Primary Area of Focus?
Some personal injury lawyers handle a wide range of cases, while others choose to specialize in a few specific areas. While you can still achieve a successful outcome working with a lawyer who takes on a wide range of cases, it’s typically best to work with someone who has made dog bite lawsuits a primary focus of their practice. These attorneys will have a more sophisticated understanding of the laws and issues associated with your case. This increases the likelihood that they’ll be able to build a strong case on your behalf, assess the extent of your damages accurately, and help you achieve the best possible outcome.
What Is Your Track Record in Dog Bite Cases Similar to Mine?
Every case is unique and while past results are not an indicator of future success, learning about an attorney’s track record on cases similar to yours is still important. Has this attorney achieved lucrative verdicts for past clients? Has this attorney struggled to win these cases? This information may help you to better understand the attorney’s skill level and the likelihood that they can help you achieve your desired outcome.
How Will You Approach My Dog Bite Case?
This question refers to the legal strategy the attorney recommends for your case. It’s important that you and your attorney are aligned on the proposed strategy. If you don’t feel comfortable with the lawyer’s approach, it’s a sign that this isn’t the right person to handle your case.
Will You Be Willing to Take My Case to Trial if Necessary?
Most dog bite cases settle before trial. However, there may be certain instances when a settlement isn’t in your best interest. It’s important to make sure your lawyer has the skills and experience necessary to pursue your compensation in court if necessary.
Who Is the Primary Person Handling My Case?
Will the attorney you’re speaking with at the consultation be the primary attorney handling your case or will it be passed off to a less experienced associate? If someone else will be the primary attorney handling your case, it’s important to vet the background and experience of this attorney.
How Will We Communicate Throughout the Case?
You will want to make sure the attorney’s communication style is a good fit for your needs. For example, if you like to speak with someone personally, a lawyer who is willing to communicate via phone call may be a better fit than someone who only provides status updates and answers questions over email. In addition, you should ask how promptly the attorney typically responds to questions. An attorney who prioritizes a reasonably prompt turnaround time on communications is likely to provide high levels of personalized attention in other areas as well.
What Are Your Fees?
Most personal injury attorneys, including Mr. Pushchak, work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they take a percentage of your settlement if you win. If you don’t recover any money, the lawyer will not charge a fee.
It’s important to agree upon the percentage of the attorney’s contingency fee upfront before you hire them. Also, be wary of a dog bite lawyer that charges an hourly fee. It’s best to keep searching for an attorney who will work on a contingency fee basis, as this is standard in personal injury cases and shifts the risks from you to the law firm.
Pushchak Law Can Help After a Dog Bite Attack
If you’ve been injured in a dog bite attack in the Denver area, Pushchak Law can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Brian Pushchak has made dog bite cases a primary area of focus. He has witnessed firsthand the devastating injuries that occur in a dog bite, and he understands the complex laws governing these cases. This level of expertise and specialization will give you the edge you need to maximize the value of your compensation.
When you work with Pushchak Law, you’ll benefit from our unique Informed Decisions™ Approach focused on helping you achieve the best possible outcome to your case. This approach keeps you in control of the entire process. Mr. Pushchak will talk with you at length to understand your goals for the outcome of your case, and he’ll answer any questions you have regarding your legal rights and options. He’ll recommend the best strategy to achieve your desired outcome, but you will always have the final say on how the case is handled. This ensures Mr. Pushchak remains aligned with your goals throughout the process.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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