Do You Need a Dog Bite Lawyer? No, Here's Why
While the majority of dog bites do not require medical treatment when they first occur, they are prone to serious or even life-threatening bacterial infections and other issues that can result not only in expenses but impacts your quality of life. However, before a dog bite lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your injuries through the pet owner or their homeowner's insurance policy, there are a number of types of evidence that must be produced in order to prove your claim. Two of the most important pieces of evidence you can have include:
- An official report with your local animal control department.
- Documentation that you made your injuries and your demand for a payment known to the pet owner.
Fortunately, DoNotPay can do your lawyer's work through its Animal Control product by sending a demand letter to the pet owner on your behalf, requesting compensation for the expenses you incurred as a result of the bite.
How a Lawyer Seeks Compensation After a Dog Bite
In most states, a pet owner may be held liable (legally responsible) for the expenses incurred if their dog bites someone. This part of the law is known as premises liability, which falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. A personal injury lawyer will generally assist you in seeking compensation from the pet owner (or, more accurately, from their insurance company) by doing the following:
- Gathering evidence to prove your claim
- Valuing your case
- Negotiating a settlement with the pet owner's insurance carrier
- In lieu of a fair settlement offer, providing litigation services in order for the court to determine if you are entitled to a compensatory award
How Filing an Animal Control Report Helps With Your Claim
As noted, one of the major services that a dog bite lawyer provides is gathering the evidence necessary to prove your claim. Filing an animal control report not only provides the police with information that they need to know about in order to protect the public from vicious dogs but also provides documentation that the incident occurred. This documentation is an important piece of evidence when filing a dog bite claim.
How is the report an important piece of evidence? Simply consider the details it provides, such as:
- The exact location, time, and date the incident occurred
- The injuries you suffered and information related to the treatment of those injuries
- The results of an investigation performed by animal control, including identification of the dog's owner and homeowner's or renter's insurance information
There potential defenses someone might use against you in a dog bite case will vary depending on the laws of your state, but some common arguments an opposing dog bite attorney may employ include the following:
|Trespassing||While trespassers are given some legal protections, your state's dog bite statutes may require you to prove that you were bitten while in a place you were legally allowed to be. Under those rules, a person will not be permitted to recover damages for a dog bite that occurs while trespassing.|
|Provocation||Another common defense is that a dog owner is not liable because the injured person provoked the dog before the bite occurred, for example, by teasing or cornering and threatening the dog with an aggressive gesture.|
|Comparative Negligence or Assumption of Risk||In some cases, the dog's owner may argue that you are at least partially responsible for your own injuries. For example, if the owner provided adequate warnings regarding their dog, and you disregarded those warnings, this may reduce or eliminate your ability to recover damages.|
In short: Without an official report of the incident, it will be very difficult for you to prove that it happened where, when, and in the way you said it did.
The Difficulty Faced When Hiring a Lawyer to Help With a Dog Bite Claim
The problem with hiring an attorney to assist you with your dog bite claim is that they will eventually want to be paid for their services. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent-fee basis, meaning you are not responsible for paying for their services until you obtain compensation for your injury. At that point, they receive a percentage of your settlement or award. Because of this, the injuries generally must be pretty serious in order for a lawyer to agree to spend the time working on the claim.
What is considered not very much of a payoff to a lawyer is often extremely important compensation for a person who has acquired minor to moderate injuries that resulted in medical expenses and lost time from work. If your expenses are serious enough to cause a financial concern for you but not enough to be taken seriously by a lawyer, DoNotPay has an easy solution.
How to Seek Compensation Through DoNotPay
DoNotPay's Animal Control product not only files an animal control report with your local government but also can send a demand letter on your behalf, seeking compensation for your expenses from the pet owner. Here are the steps involved in the process:
- Search "animal" on DoNotPay, find the Animal Control product, and select whether you've sustained a physical injury.
- Select whether you would like to report this incident to your local government agency, or demand compensation from the pet owner.
- Tell us more about the incident, including when and where you were injured, a description of the animal that caused the injury, and the contact information for the pet owner (if known).
And that's it. From there, we will file your demand letter or send the animal control report to your local government animal control agency. You can expect these parties to contact you directly to confirm receipt of your document and for further follow-up.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay isn't just a way to submit animal control reports or seek compensation for dog bites. It is a comprehensive set of tools that can help you complete many of life's time-consuming tasks easily and stress-free. Take a look at a few of the other services we provide:
- Compensation for victims of crime
- Small claims court
- Contact government representatives
- Neighbor complaints
Would you like to know more about what DoNotPay can do? Sign in or sign up today.