It’s easy to underestimate the damage a dog can cause until you’re attacked. A bite from a larger breed can result in deep lacerations, permanent scarring, and serious infection. Our Los Angeles dog bite attorneys can help you pursue the highest possible compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Discuss Your Claim with a Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer
There are important steps you must take immediately after the attack to give your case the best chance of success. We can help you take those steps and avoid critical mistakes that would harm your claim. Our attorneys have many years of experience representing dog bite victims and their families. We know what it takes to win substantial settlements and verdicts in these cases.
To speak with a member of our team in a free consultation, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or send us a message online.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
The medical bills, lost income, and other damages resulting from a dog bite can add up to a small fortune. As such, you can expect the opposing party to invest considerable time and resources into disputing your claim. Even if the at-fault party has liability insurance, there’s no guarantee that the insurer will step up to the plate and offer a fair settlement; in fact, the claims adjuster will likely perform a thorough investigation to find weaknesses in your case.
To avoid unnecessary disputes, delays, and complications, it’s important that you’re careful about what you say and do over the hours, days, and weeks that follow the attack.
Below are a few steps you should take to protect your health and your claim:
- Visit a Doctor: Hopefully you were able to compile evidence at the scene including eyewitness contact information; photos of the injury, the dog, and the location of the attack; and the contact information of the property owner or occupier. If you haven’t done so already, your top priority after leaving the scene is to visit a doctor for a medical evaluation. Depending on the circumstances, getting prompt treatment may improve your prognosis. For example, treating an infection right away may prevent it from spreading. Also, your physician will document your symptoms and injuries, and this documentation will serve as critical evidence of damages. If you wait too long to get a diagnosis, the insurer might say that something else caused your injuries or that your decision to put off medical care caused them to worsen. If it’s determined that your own negligence contributed to the severity of your injury, you might not be able to recover compensation for 100 percent of your damages.
- Call a Dog Bite Lawyer: Most dog bite attorneys in Los Angeles offer free consultations, so even if you’re not sure whether you’d like to hire one, you should still take advantage of this opportunity. A well-credentialed personal injury lawyer can help you determine the most strategic way to proceed with the claims process. If you do decide to hire a lawyer—which is almost certainly a good idea if your injuries are serious, you’ve missed work, or you anticipate a dispute—you’ll be able to focus on your health while the attorney handles the logistics of your case. Your lawyer can take care of all dialogue with the opposing party, gather evidence, bring in expert witnesses if necessary, handle settlement negotiations, and represent you in court if a settlement cannot be reached.
- Limit Your Online Activity: To protect your claim, it’s a good idea to disable your social media accounts and avoid discussing your injury or case online until the proceedings have concluded. This may prevent the claims adjuster from finding photos of you or other online content that can be used to dispute your claim.
What If the Liable Party Tries to Withhold Evidence?
If there’s an incident report or surveillance footage that implicates the dog owner or the owner of the property where the attack occurred, it’s possible that this evidence will be withheld. If the party in possession of this evidence refuses to relinquish it voluntarily, our Los Angeles dog bite lawyers can file subpoenas to obtain it.
Can Dog Bite Victims Pursue Punitive Damages?
Although punitive damages are not awarded in most dog bite cases, there are circumstances when these damages are warranted. For example, if the dog was ordered to attack you or if the dog was known to be vicious yet the owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect others from being attacked, punitive damages may be available.
Contact Our Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorneys Today at 1-800-GO-HARRIS
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we can evaluate the facts of your case and conduct an investigation to determine the types of damages you may be owed. We won’t let the insurance company take advantage of your vulnerable situation, and we’re not afraid to go to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.