As you take a stroll one day, you can’t help but smile; after all, life is good. But then your life takes a sudden turn as a dog comes seemingly out of nowhere and sinks his teeth into you. You have just become the victim of an injury-causing dog attack.
Research shows that about 4.5 million bites by dogs occur each year in the United States. That means a canine bites one in 72 people.
Fortunately, if you’re a dog attack victim, you have the right to seek justice. Here’s a rundown of why it’s so important to consult an attorney to get the care and compensation you need.
Let’s get started.
Injured in a Dog Attack? Protect Your Rights
Although millions of Americans suffer dog bites each year, many of these bites end up not being reported or compensated.
Part of the reason for this is that the victims did not secure attorneys to help them in their fights with the insurance companies of the dog owners.
And that’s a big mistake. Here’s why:
An insurance company will often offer a dog bite victim a small percentage of what it would offer a victim who has an attorney. So, if you don’t have an attorney, you may be shorting yourself financially in the long run.
Knowledge and Experience
One of the top reasons to consult an attorney following a dog attack is that an attorney offers the knowledge and experience you need to navigate such a complex situation.
Louisiana’s laws governing dog bites are not the same as those of other states. In light of this, a qualified Louisiana attorney understands and knows how to accurately interpret Louisiana law so that you obtain a fair recovery.
In addition, if you’re like most people, you’re not exactly a pro at negotiating with an insurance company. And you might not have filed many personal injury lawsuits in your day.
Fortunately, choosing a lawyer who has extensive experience with handling dog bites will increase your chances of acquiring the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Liability in Louisiana
As we said earlier, Louisiana’s dog bite law is not like other states’ laws.
Most states assign fault to the owner of a dog that has bit and injured someone. This is true even if the dog owner was exercising caution or did not realize that the animal was dangerous. Victims don’t have to prove anything.
This is known as the doctrine of strict liability.
But in Louisiana, the opposite is true. A dog owner is financially responsible for damage resulting from a dog bite only if he or she realized, or should have realized, that the dog’s behavior could cause damage.
In other words, you as the victim must prove that the animal that bit you posed a risk of harm that was unreasonable.
Most cases involving bodily injury end with out-of-court settlements. If you have an attorney, you immediately increase your chances of reaching one of these types of settlements, which is more efficient than going to trial.
Of course, going to trial is sometimes inevitable. In this case, an attorney will fight aggressively for you in court.
Either way, starting out, your attorney will evaluate your claim and help you to take the necessary steps to protect your best interests. For example, if your dog attack injuries have kept you from working, an attorney can obtain proof of lost income from your employer for you.
Sure, you could try to get this information yourself. But the reality is that you may not know exactly what you need.
An attorney can find out basic details about how many days or hours you lost due to your injury. On top of that, the attorney can collect essential evidence related to work reviews, causation and fringe benefits.
In addition, a qualified attorney can help you to prove a loss in earning capacity if your injuries are so severe that you can no longer work. This will likely be the biggest part of your loss in the years ahead, so it’s critical that you have a skilled attorney handle this.
All about the Benjamins
When you hire the right attorney to help you, you don’t have to worry about coughing up money at the outset.
Instead, your attorney will use his or her own cash to do everything that needs to be done on your behalf. These tasks include the following:
- Obtaining reliable, official copies of your medical bills and evidence
- Hiring a photographer to capture photographs of you
- Hiring a reputable private investigator who can unveil the attacking canine’s history
- Retaining a nurse consultant who can review and then summarize all of your medical evidence
With a qualified attorney, you don’t have to cover these costs until and unless he or she settles your dog attack case or wins the case at trial.
The Sooner the Better
Getting a lawyer involved in your dog attack case early on may lead to a better compensation amount for you. Why? Because an experienced attorney can provide the insurance company with key evidence and guides that will ultimately favor you.
Meanwhile, if you try to work with the insurance company on your own, you may end up providing the insurance adjuster with incorrect information and inadequate evidence. This will, unfortunately, make the process much more difficult, longer and error-prone for you.
If you’re successful in your dog attack case, you may receive an award of monetary damages that may help you to cover your related expenses. For instance, you can use the award to address your hospital bills and the loss of your wages.
Monetary compensation may also help you to address pain and suffering that your canine attack caused you.
How We Can Help
If a dog attack has caused you to suffer injuries, it’s critical that you obtain the right information right away to protect yourself financially.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help you to obtain the compensation you’re entitled to following your life-altering dog bite.