According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), there are millions of dog bites each year, and not all cases are successfully compensated. If you get bit by a dog at no fault of your own, there are certain procedures you should follow to maximize your chances of receiving a settlement.
Most states have strong dog bite laws that protect citizens from aggressive dogs. Winning your case shouldn’t be too difficult, but you should still always strive to get all of your evidence and statements in order to prove fault.
The dog bite attorneys at ASK LLP can help you understand your rights and protections under your state’s laws and help you get started filing your claim. For a free consultation, please call us at (877) 746-4275 or submit a form with your information online.
Dog Owners Are Usually at Fault
Since most dog owners usually get treated by the law as responsible for injuries caused by an unprovoked dog bite, the primary obstacle to recovering maximum compensation is making your side of the damages story known. It is on the dog owner to keep their dog under control. If the dog they own is known to be aggressive and territorial, the duty of care lies with the owner and not others around their dog.
So long as you were not:
- intentionally aggravating the dog;
- trespassing on private property where the dog was; or,
- trying to cause intentional harm to the owner.
then you were most likely not responsible for your dog bite. Still, this doesn’t mean you have your claim in the bag. Remember that most states have comparative fault laws. You will need to establish that you were either blameless or at least less than 50% responsible for what happened to you in order to file a claim for compensation.
What Is the One-Bite Rule?
Certain states follow a one-bite rule:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
If you were bitten by a dog in any of the above states and it was the first time the dog ever bit someone, the owner and the dog essentially get a free pass. While there can be some exceptions to holding the owner liable, most dog bite victims can’t file a claim if the dog had never bitten anyone prior.
This rule used to be very commonplace, but many states have since moved to eliminate it. You may face substantial barriers to your claim if you live in a one-bite rule state.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Win?
If you want to win your dog bite case, you can increase your chances by retaining a skilled lawyer. Without a lawyer, you may face several issues like:
- Disorganization of key evidence.
- Missing deadlines and filing critical paperwork incorrectly.
- Miscalculation of your damages.
- Misunderstanding of your local and state laws regarding your dog bite.
A lawyer can help you prevent all of these issues and ensure that negotiations go smoothly. Any one of these problems can lead to disastrous consequences for your case. Do not let a negligent dog owner get away with paying you nothing for your damages.
When you deal with insurance companies, always keep in mind that they are never on your side. By hiring a lawyer, you can rest knowing that the insurance companies won’t be able to bully or trick you into settling for less or giving up on your claim. You can tip the odds in your favor and get the best settlement possible.
File Your Claim Before the Statute of Limitations
Many states have different rules for their statute of limitations. Dog bites typically fall under personal injury claims and you typically have anywhere between two to four years to file one. Some states have it at one year while others can be as long as six years. Regardless of the amount of time you have, it is best to start building a strong case for your claim as fast as possible.
Call ASK LLP Today
To schedule a free consultation and case review with one of our attorneys, please call us today or submit a contact form online. We are a nationally recognized law firm with over four decades of experience and countless cases successfully settled. With millions recovered, we hope to help you get the settlement you deserve. Call us at (877) 746-4275.