Two Reasons Why You Should File a Dog Bite Lawsuit
When a dog bites a human being, serious injuries can result and lead to serious losses. There is no disputing that some injuries resulting from a dog bite can last a lifetime. Even if a dog bite injury is not permanent, it could require a significant amount of medical treatment, including stitches, hospitalization, surgery, and physical therapy.
In many dog bite cases, the dog owner’s homeowner insurance company is involved. While some insurance companies are more willing to fully and fairly compensate dog bite victims than others, it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to ensure that you are justly compensated. At other times, the insurance company might allege that the dog bite victim did something to entice the dog to bite and, therefore, the victim is not entitled to recover compensation.
An experienced Orange County dog bite attorney in your area can help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer from an insurance company or file a lawsuit and litigate the case in the California court system.
1 – The Insurance Company Doesn’t Offer Enough to Settle
In dog bite cases where victims suffer severe injuries, insurance companies will oftentimes lowball the value of the case. An initial offer might not even cover the medical bills which the dog bite victim incurred following the incident. If it becomes clear that the insurance company is undervaluing a dog bite case, a California dog bite attorney could negotiate with the insurance company in an attempt to get them to increase their offer.
If that does not happen, however, the dog bite victim has the option of filing a lawsuit against the dog owner in civil court. Filing a lawsuit begins the litigation process. After some discovery, the court might schedule a settlement conference to bring the parties together and see if they can resolve the case. If the case cannot be resolved favorably, a jury might be called upon to decide the disputed issues, including what if any damages the bite victim is entitled to receive.
An experienced California dog bite attorney in your area can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer or risk taking the case to trial before a jury.
2 – The Insurance Company Asserts a Defense
When it comes to dog bite cases, the State of California is a strict liability state. This means that a dog victim does not have to prove fault on the part of the dog owner for the bite. Rather, dog owners are automatically liable when their dog bites a human being. However, the insurance company may assert one or more legal defenses to strict liability. For example, the dog owner and his or her insurance company might allege that the bite victim provoked the attack or did something to entice the dog to bite him or her.
If that is the case, the bite victim might have to file a lawsuit in the court system. If the case goes to trial, a jury will be called upon to decide any liability and/or damage issues.
If your case has to be litigated, a California dog bite lawyer near you can represent all of your legal interests in court and work to pursue the monetary compensation and damages that you deserve for your dog bite injuries.