Do you need a dog bite lawyer? The thought may not have crossed your mind, but an attorney can help you more than you may realize.
First, they can convey if you have a solid case. Then, they can tell you what type of evidence you’ll need.
The most compelling evidence includes medical reports and photos/videos. However, you’ll need to take additional steps to win an insurance case.
This article will help you avoid the following five mistakes. Let’s explore.
1. Failure to Seek Medical Attention
A dog bite may not seem serious, but you could develop an infection. A dog’s saliva can contain harmful bacteria. Further, the saliva may cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, see a doctor to be on the safe side.
A medical professional will ensure the injury doesn’t worsen over time. Also, a doctor will document the injury, which will be crucial during insurance investigations.
By seeing a doctor immediately, you’re showing the insurance company you did everything possible to mitigate the bite.
Failure to seek medical attention conveys that you didn’t take the necessary steps to minimize the damage. As a result, the insurance company can reduce or reject your claim.
Overall, medical documentation demonstrates the seriousness of the injury. Insurance companies cannot dismiss medical docs so easily. Above all, save your medical bills as further proof of your injuries.
2. Failure to Document the Injury
In addition to medical reports and invoices, you also need visual evidence. To bolster your claim, document your struggles with the injury. You can do so in the following ways even before you see a dog bit lawyer:
- Take pictures. Take photos of the injuries as soon as possible. Take more pictures as you recover to make investigators understand your plight. Photos are also irrefutable evidence.
- Record the injuries. A video diary will document your situation. Showcasing your ongoing turmoil may entitle you to pain-and-suffering damages if you take the matter to court. To increase the likelihood of receiving compensation for pain-and-suffering, you should also record or capture any form of scarring.
Recording video and taking pictures may also entitle you to a higher insurance settlement. To increase your insurance settlement, hire an attorney.
3. Failure to Hire a Dog Bite Attorney
Many victims fail to hire attorneys due to the expense. The cost of not hiring an attorney is more expensive in the long-run. You’ll need a legal professional to guide you through the insurance process.
They can handle your dog bite case so you don’t have to. For instance, they can respond to all communications from the insurance companies.
Additionally, a personal injury lawyer can help you find the necessary evidence for your case and conduct an independent investigation.
Above all, find a lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases. Dog bite attorneys must be familiar with various regulations, such as leash laws or pet rental restrictions.
In some states, the dog bite lawyer must also prove that the pet owner was negligent in some way. Perhaps the owner failed to train the dog properly.
In South Carolina, due to “strict liability” laws, owners can be held liable even if they were not negligent.
Regardless, find an attorney with the following qualities:
- They should have a victorious record.
- They should know the local courts.
- They should have a good reputation in the community.
You can research their reputation by reading online reviews or asking around town. You can also interview the attorney and ask them various questions about his or her legal background.
Look for an attorney who has negotiating experience as well. The insurance company may offer you a settlement. In most cases, these settlement offers are too low. That’s why you need an attorney who can negotiate on your behalf.
Your lawyer can push for a higher settlement. In many cases, insurance carriers will increase the settlement offer if an attorney is involved.
If insurance carriers refuse to budge, your attorney may advise a civil suit, in which case they can represent you in court.
4. Failure to Report the Incident
File a police or animal control report. Reporting the incident shows that you took the matter seriously. The dog owner may have pressured you into not filing a report but you should file one anyway.
Perhaps they promised to cover your injuries in full. However, the word of another person isn’t good enough when it comes to insurance investigations or court cases. You need as much physical evidence as possible to win your case.
An official report will give you more credibility during the investigative process. That said, make sure the report is accurate. The responding officer may have made an error.
If you find errors, contact the department to request a correction. A report that contains errors can work against you during the insurance process.
5. Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
You should avoid talking with an insurance adjuster, even if the adjuster is from your insurance company. Insurance adjusters are trained to use anything you say to minimize or reject your claim. They’ll ask leading questions to get the desired answer.
They’ll also do everything possible to wrap up the case before you seek an attorney, especially if you don’t realize the true extent of your injuries. If you must speak to an adjuster, do so under the guidance of an attorney.
The Importance of a Dog Bite Lawyer
A dog bite lawyer can help you gather evidence, organize your case, and fight on your behalf. A dog bite can be a stressful experience, but an attorney can handle legal/insurance obligations as you recover.
To make your case stronger, you should visit a doctor, report the incident, and document your injury. All of these measures will make it harder for insurance reps and adjusters to minimize your injuries.
Do you need an attorney in South Carolina? Read more about our services.
If you (or a family member) have been seriously injured by a dog bite, please reach out for legal help as soon as possible.