Speak to Our Dog Bite Attorney in Los Angeles Today
Dogs can be man's best friend and, in some cases, a threat to the well-being of others. Dog bites happen for a variety of reasons and having a dog attack dispute lawyer in Los Angeles assist with your case can be the difference between a reasonable settlement and not getting compensation at all. Understanding the factors that determine your case can help you decide if accepting an offer is the right course of action.
Factors That Impact Compensation Amounts
Any experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles can give you a reasonable idea of what you can expect to receive in compensation for the case that you have. In many cases, this is determined based on several factors, including:
- If the dog was aggressive and the owner knew it.
- If the injuries are long-term or disfiguring.
- The age of the dog bite.
What Is a Settlement?
Most dog bite cases in the state of California end in a settlement. A settlement is an agreed-upon resolution between the plaintiff (victim) and defendant (dog owner) regarding a compensation amount. In most cases where the dog's owner has a pre-existing homeowner's insurance policy, their insurance company will oversee settling and paying.
When the opposing counsel agrees to a settlement price, legal professionals will draw up documents for the plaintiff to sign to ensure their validity. When the injured party is compensated, they drop the case against the owner of the dog. At Gutierrez Law, we try to reach a quick and fair settlement before going to trial.
What Type of Compensation Can a Victim Get?
An attorney that is well-versed in cases pertaining to unforeseen puncture wounds will make it clear to you that compensation is meant to make you whole again. It's an estimate of the number of financial damages that would put you back into the position you were in before the dog bite occurred. Some of the most common types include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills (both future and past)
- Health insurance deductibles
You should always enlist the help of a skilled lawyer for settlement disputes. In cases where victims don't have legal counsel, insurance adjusters offer low and inadequate settlements to protect their company from paying you what you're owed. Once you accept, that'll be the end of the lawsuit. If you didn't get enough financial compensation to pay for medical bills, you wouldn't be able to go after the owner of the dog post-settlement.
How Does a Settlement Get Underway?
The settlement process is best defined as a series of discussions between you and the owner of the dog's legal counsel. It usually happens shortly after the case is filed. You may find that litigation will continue the days leading up to the jury deciding a verdict. Because each circumstance is different per client, the time it'll take before reaching an agreeable amount will vary.
Initial Settlement Offer
In many cases, the dog's owner will have homeowner's insurance. The insurance company will provide you with an initial settlement offer for your injuries, pain and suffering. Make sure to have it reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that it's in your best interests. Try not to get caught up in the allure of having instant money to pay for medical bills. You'll likely find yourself short-changed later on down the road.
Demand Letter Issuance
If you refuse the initial settlement offer, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company. It is essentially a letter of intent letting them know that you plan on filing a lawsuit. In most cases, the insurance company will provide another settlement offer at a more reasonable amount. You can choose to accept this or proceed with your case.
Filing A Lawsuit
A lot goes into filing a successful lawsuit. After sending a demand letter, our firm will begin collecting more evidence and engaging in subsequent discussions. The insurance company or dog owner may offer you a larger settlement amount depending on what we find out. It could take multiple offers from the insurer before you agree upon an adequate compensation amount.
Tips For Getting a High Compensation Amount
You'll want to ensure that you maximize the number of damages that you can get from your settlement. To do this, there are two main actions you'll want to take.
- Always visit a doctor immediately after you've been injured. Medical records serve as official documentation of the losses and suffering you have undergone. Without medical documents, everything you bring to the case is speculation about your injuries.
- Second, you'll want to hire a well-respected lawyer that is familiar with the law, and knows how to go about getting you a high settlement amount.
To start your claim, contact our office for a free consultation at 323-999-3500 or email us at email@example.com.