How to Report a Dog Bite: Three Simple Steps
If you have been injured in a dog attack, the chances are good that you might be suffering one or more serious injuries. Dog attacks and dog bites can lead to debilitating and sometimes permanent injuries, including puncture wounds, bite marks, deep cuts, soft tissue injuries, and even broken bones.
If you have suffered one or more of these injuries in a dog bite incident, there are several steps that you should take in order to report the incident. It is also important that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney about the incident as soon as possible to safeguard your legal rights.
An experienced attorney will be able to help you take the next steps in your dog bite case and pursue the monetary compensation and damages that you need for your injuries.
1 – Contact the Dog Owner
If you have been injured in a dog attack or dog bite incident, one of the very first things that you should do is to contact the dog owner as soon as possible and report the incident. The dog owner could then contact his or her homeowner insurance company. In many dog bite cases, the dog owner’s homeowner insurance company provides the necessary monetary coverage for injuries and damages sustained by the victim. If you have your own homeowner insurance policy, it might also be a good idea to call them and notify them of the incident.
2 – Contact the Local Animal Control
Moreover, when it comes to reporting a dog bite incident, it is important that you call your local animal control. They need to be aware of the incident in order to ensure that the dog does not attack, bite, or injure someone else in the future.
3 – Bring a Claim Against the Dog Owner
In terms of seeking monetary compensation for injuries suffered in a dog bite incident, the bite victim will likely need to file an insurance claim with the dog owner’s insurance company. If the insurance company contacts you with an initial offer to settle your case, it is important that you first speak with knowledgeable legal counsel about that offer. Most insurance companies will lowball the first offer in hopes that the bite victim is in a hurry to settle the case. Insurance companies, after all, want to save themselves as much money, time, and aggravation as possible.
A California dog bite lawyer will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf in pursuit of a full, fair, and reasonable settlement offer that truly compensates you for your injuries.
In the event the insurance company refuses to offer you the money damages that you deserve, your lawyer could file a lawsuit against the dog owner on your behalf. Filing a lawsuit ushers in the litigation process, during which time the parties will engage in written and oral discovery. During the oral discovery component, the defense attorney might take your deposition and ask you questions about the incident, your injuries, and the permanent impacts of those injuries.
Even after a lawsuit is filed against the dog owner, your personal injury case could still settle. However, if the case does not settle, you could take your matter to a jury trial. At a jury trial, the jury members will decide all disputed issues in the case, including the amounts and types of damages you might be entitled to receive. As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties could also consider binding arbitration, where a neutral arbitrator decides the outcome of the case.
A knowledgeable California dog bite lawyer in your area will be able to explore all of your legal options with you and help you pick the best option for your dog bite case.