Whenever you come across a playful pup, it’s easy to forget that dogs have the potential to cause serious harm. At the end of the day, however, even the friendliest Fido acts on instinct, which means they will attack if they feel threatened. While a minor dog bite may leave little more than a scratch, a major incident can result in devastating injuries.
The latter probably seems unlikely, but it happens far more often than most people realize. More than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Among these victims, nearly 1 out of 5 need medical attention.
While there’s no way to erase such a traumatic event, injured parties are usually entitled to compensation. If you were attacked by someone else’s dog and you’re planning on seeking a payout, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Do Get the Insurer Involved
Most dog bite claims are filed with the pet owner’s insurance carrier. Assuming they have an adequate liability policy and the incident is considered a covered event, their insurer should take care of the damages.
In some scenarios, however, dog owners will try to handle the matter themselves. Since their premiums could increase—or they may no longer be insurable at all—after the claim is processed, they may do whatever they can to get the victim to refrain from involving their carrier. They may even offer to write the injured party a personal check on the spot.
Regardless of what they propose or how reasonable they seem, it’s best to go through official channels to pursue the compensation you deserve. There’s no way to be sure you can trust them, after all, nor that the amount they offer will even cover the damages.
Don’t Accept Any Responsibility for the Dog Bite
People tend to apologize in stressful situations, even when they’re not actually to blame. You might be inclined to say you startled the dog, for example. Since doing so could be considered an admission of guilt, however, it’s imperative that you say nothing of the sort while in the presence of the opposing party.
Do Visit a Doctor Right Away
Even if your injuries are not life-threatening, you should undergo a medical exam as soon as possible. Seeing a doctor immediately will show the insurance adjuster that you were determined to mitigate damages from day one, which will bolster your credibility. It will also prevent serious complications, thereby facilitating your recovery.
Don’t Assume You Can’t Afford Counsel
When recovering from serious injuries, it’s only natural to worry about your financial security. Thankfully, most reputable personal injury firms work for a contingency fee. That means the cost of their services comes out of the payout that results. And if the claim doesn’t yield a payout? The client won’t be responsible for any attorney’s fees.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you’re thinking about filing a dog bite claim, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Attorney Waks is a tenacious and top-rated trial attorney who always goes to bat for his clients. Call (562) 206-1939 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free initial case review with a dog bite lawyer in Long Beach.
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