A dog bite can cause numerous injuries and a lifetime of pain and suffering. In many situations, individuals face not just the intensity of the dog bite attack but the long-term emotional trauma that comes with it. It should seem simple, though, to file an insurance claim for the losses you have after a dog attack like this, but that is rarely the case.
With nearly 4.5 million people becoming a victim of a dog attack in the U.S. every year, this is a real problem, as noted by the World Animal Foundation. Many times that damage is long-lasting with multiple implications.
Insurance companies work to minimize how much they are willing to pay to victims. That’s why it is so important to work closely with a dog bite attorney who can help you file your claim, negotiate the settlement, or go to court when necessary. Here’s what you need to know.
How to File a Dog Bite Claim
If you have suffered a dog bite, it’s up to you to take action to receive compensation for what you’ve lost. If you have not done so, get to the doctor to document your injuries. Then, file a police report as well. These first steps help to ensure that there’s evidence of what occurred preserved that you can use later.
Determine What You’ve Lost
One of the first steps you must take after a dog bite is estimating your loss. That is, what has this incident caused you? The losses are numerous for many people and go far beyond just a few scratches. Some potential financial losses you may have incurred include:
- Emergency medical care
- Ambulance trips
- Surgical procedures
- In-hospital care
- Medication and treatment costs
- Rehabilitation for long-term recovery
- Infection control and treatment
- Lost time at work
- Inability to work due to your injury
For some people, there is also the implication of pain and suffering. You’ve struggled intensely after a dog bite with pain and perhaps even lost the ability to do things you enjoy doing. On top of that, there’s a level of trauma associated with a dog bite. It may be hard for you to be near other dogs, or you may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience.
Your dog bite attorney will gather information about your losses based on any evidence available such as the cost of your medical care, therapy sessions, and other financial losses. This, along with case law, helps to determine what your financial compensation may be.
Working with Insurance Companies
Once you know what you are likely owed for your losses, the next step is filing a claim with the insurance company. This is often the dog owner’s home insurance company. While it is possible for you to contact them yourself, we highly recommend not doing so. These are well-trained professionals who want to work to settle the case fast and without paying what they are owed.
Even if you have lots of documentation, they may get you to admit that you antagonized the dog or that you in some way caused the injuries you have. Instead, let our attorney handle the process for you. We will work with you throughout the process, including:
- Determining what your losses are
- Providing a claim to the insurance company
- Handling all communication between you and the insurance company (so you can worry about healing instead!)
- Negotiate a settlement that fits what’s occurred
- Work with you to pursue further legal action if it is necessary to do so
There is often some back-and-forth about the claim after a dog bite occurs. That’s because the insurance company will need to verify every detail of the process and the claim. That is what puts you at risk for making a small mistake that could have long-term financial implications.
What About Future Losses?
Another factor to consider is your long-term losses from such instances. For example, you may want to settle your dog bite claim fast, but if you still need to work to recover from the injury, need rehabilitation, need more surgery, or have ongoing pain, you may not know how much further losses are going to cost you.
Our attorneys work closely with you to better estimate these losses based on our ongoing experience. We can also work with our clients closely to ensure you understand all implications for your future.
Will You Have to Go to Court for a Dog Bite Attack?
Every situation is very different, but our goal is to help you settle your claim as quickly as possible for a fair amount. We work to protect your right to compensation. While going to court may be necessary, in many situations, it does not go that far.
A dog owner is liable for the actions of that dog in South Carolina. As a result of that, you have the right to compensation for the losses that the dog causes you. Let our legal team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm guide you in that process:
- Set up a free consultation with Shelly and the team to learn more about our services.
- Let us learn more about your dog attack and what’s happened to you.
- Our compassionate attorneys work closely with you to ease the burden on you.
- We fight aggressively to help you get the compensation owed to you after such a devastating and frightful situation.
- You can count on us to be there to guide you.
Reach out to us today for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.
Let the Shelly Leeke Law Firm Guide You
While you can file a claim for a dog bite with an insurance company, to protect your right to compensation, work with a trusted personal injury attorney. At Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we provide clients with one-on-one support throughout the process, ensuring you fully learn what your rights are. Call our office or submit our contact form now to learn more about how we can help you after suffering an injury in a dog bite attack.