In 2023, about 90.5 million American households own at least one dog.
As much as you may love dogs, they can be a little protective of their territory. When a dog sees you as a potential threat, it may attack.
While dogs that don’t belong to their owners run away, a dog with an owner may attack if they spot another person they view as a threat. It is how dog attacks usually begin.
If a dog has ever attacked you, you know how frightening it can be. Luckily, with some precaution, you can avoid getting hurt.
Here are some dog bite claim mistakes to avoid making when filing for a compensation.
1. Not Getting Medical Attention
Failing to seek medical attention to treat a dog bite can be detrimental to the case of the victim. Without medical documentation of the injury, it is much harder to prove a dog bit the victim and assess the injury in a claim.
An injury resulting from a bite can sometimes worsen or be re-infected if not treated immediately. Therefore, it is essential to see a doctor or healthcare professional if a person has suffered a bite from a dog. It can help to document the injury and its severity while getting the necessary medical attention and care the victim needs.
Not seeking medical attention could result in denying a claim or a lower settlement. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the proper steps are taken regarding medical attention in a dog bite case.
2. Not Documenting the Injuries
Make sure to keep a record of medical bills and doctor’s visits related to the attack, and take photos of the injuries and save them for the future. If possible, document witnesses, the breed of dog, and information about the animal’s prior behavior. Additionally, it is helpful to write down all necessary information about the attack, such as the incident’s date, time, and place.
Properly document an emotional or physical injury to make it easier to receive compensation from the insurance company. The best way to overcome this issue is to prepare properly and be organized. Keep a journal and follow up with your healthcare provider and the insurance company.
3. Not Getting Dog Owner’s Details
With it, the claimant will be able to make a legal claim, as the process requires being able to track down the dog owner. It means asking for the dog owner’s name, home address and contact information when the injury occurs.
Additionally, try to get the dog’s vaccination records, as this helps establish proof of ownership. If not obtaining this information, it’s wise to take photos and document everything, as well as any eyewitness testimonies. It can help when attempting to track down the dog owner, as well as provide evidence in the event of a lawsuit.
It is essential to be thorough in gathering information about the dog’s owner, even if it seems relatively unimportant. Every detail counts and could be critical for your claim.
4. Not Hiring an Attorney
When seeking compensation for damages after a dog bite, the right attorney can provide valuable advice and help with the legal language and paperwork. Not seeking legal counsel can lead to mistakes that can void the claim altogether.
Although not required to engage an attorney, there are risks in handling a claim without legal representation. It is essential to understand the applicable law and the claim filing deadline. Mistakes in understanding these complex issues can result in a claim rejection or a much lower award.
It is also essential to be familiar with the available dog bite claim documents, such as medical bills, photographs, and witness accounts, that may help support the claim. An experienced dog bite attorney is well-versed in these areas and is familiar with the legal procedures to help ensure the best outcome possible.
5. Speaking to Insurance Companies Without Legal Counsel
Without proper guidance, a person could waive their right to receive compensation or risk losing their entire claim due to a negligent statement or admission of guilt. Even if it seems that the insurance company is acting in the claimant’s best interest, they are looking out for their financial interests.
Those filing a dog bite claim should discuss their case with an experienced legal advisor before they speak to an insurance company. Doing this will provide the claimant with an accurate assessment of the situation and help prevent any mishaps that may arise during the claim.
6. Not Calling Animal Control
Animal control can help to determine the dog’s history, the extent of the injuries, and the safety of the public and other animals in the area. If it is a reoccurring problem, animal control can work to ensure that future incidents are prevented.
Animal control can provide critical evidence, such as whether the animal had rabies shots, if the animal had a prior history of biting, or if the animal had a known owner. Knowing this information and details, such as the environmental conditions when the attack occurred, will help prove the incident occurred and that the bite victim has a claim.
7. Not Filing a Police Report
Failing to file a police report can have serious consequences, leading to an incomplete or inaccurate claim or, worse, being denied altogether. To avoid this mistake, it is important to immediately report all incidents of dog bites to the police as soon as possible.
A police report serves as evidence and can prove the victim was attacked by a dog, establishing negligence and liability from the owner. Without a record of the incident, it can be difficult for the victim to make a convincing case for the claim.
Avoid Dog Bite Claim Mistakes to Ensure Proper Compensation
It is essential to be aware of the common dog bite claim mistakes that can cause issues with your claims. Be sure to have proper legal documentation, obey laws and duties to report, and take pictures and witness statements.
Taking the time to understand more about dog bite claims can help victims much more quickly and effectively. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.
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