Dog Bite Injury Settlements: How Do They Work?
When a dangerous dog bites a human being, the person can suffer extremely serious injuries, consequences, and damages. Bite victims typically have to seek medical treatment for their injuries, and the person might have to go to the hospital to receive stitches, undergo surgery, or rabies vaccination. All of these treatments can be expensive and time-consuming.
Many homeowner insurance policies provide coverage when a dog injures a victim. However, when it comes to offering monetary compensation to settle the dog bite case, the insurance company is not going to do you any favors. Instead, it is going to try and lowball the offer on your case and keep as much of its money in-house as possible.
Therefore, if you have been injured in a dog bite attack, it is important that you have legal representation on your side negotiating with the insurance company’s adjuster. A California dog bite lawyer near you can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, protect your legal interests, and pursue the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Step One – Submitting a Demand
The first step in the dog bite case settlement process usually involves submitting a demand package to the insurance company. The demand package will include all pieces of relevant documentation that the insurance company adjuster needs to evaluate the case. This documentation will typically include a copy of any incident report that was prepared, along with the bite victim’s medical records, medical bills, injury photographs, and impact statements.
Once the insurance company receives this demand for settlement, an adjuster will read through and evaluate everything. He or she may then make an initial offer to settle the case. Since these initial offers are typically very low, a lawyer will need to negotiate with the adjuster and see if the offer can be raised.
Step 2 – Litigating the Case
In some dog bite cases, the victim’s lawyer and the insurance company reach an impasse. This often happens when the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation for the victim’s injuries. In that instance, the dog bite victim might elect to file a lawsuit against the dog owner in the California court system.
Even after a lawsuit has been filed, the case can still settle at any point along the way. In fact, after the parties complete some discovery, including depositions, the insurance company might be more inclined to offer additional compensation on the case.
Potential compensation that a dog bite victim could receive by way of settlement or litigation includes recovery for all related medical bills, lost earnings, and loss of earning capacity if the bite victim has to switch jobs or can no longer work in the same occupation due to his or her injuries. In addition, the bite victim could pursue non-economic damages, including compensation for inconvenience, emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of the ability to use a body part in the event of a permanent injury.
An experienced Orange County attorney could assist with litigating your dog bite case and pursuing a favorable settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries.