Dogs have been regarded as “man’s best friend” for ages because of the obvious bond forged between person and pet. As society has progressed, it seems that bond has only grown in strength. Dogs are not just “man’s best friend,” they’re family. Commonly referred to as “fur babies,” many dog owners feel their pup is the perfect way to complete their family.
It’s hard to look at a dog and think about anything other than a lovable, four-legged family member, but the cold hard truth is that they are still animals. Dogs have been personified to such an extreme that it has become easy to let down our guards when we’re around them. Dogs are animals that are still hard-wired with survival instincts, which can sometimes lead them to act overly loyal, territorial, or aggressive.
So what happens when we love dogs, but they don’t love us back? So many people own dogs–approximately 85 million families–so it should not come as a surprise that there are a reported 4.7 million dog bites per year. If you’ve been involved in an incident with a dog, whether it is a full out attack or a quick nip to your hand, it is important to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer immediately to help you file your insurance claim. You are entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any permanent bodily damage.
Experiencing a dog bite or attack is terrifying and likely a complete shock. Thinking clearly about what to do next is difficult in the moment. Depending on your specific situation, these steps might occur in a different order, but it’s important to make sure they have happened to make the claims process go smoothly.
Once the dog has been restrained and is a safe distance away, exchange information with the dog owner if you don’t already know them.
Exchanging names and digits might not feel like your first priority at the time, but don’t skip this step; it is extremely important that you can easily get in contact with the owner of the dog in the future. If the bite or attack has been especially severe, call 911 so both the police and first responders will show up to the scene. The police will complete this step for you when they.
If the wound is bleeding extensively or if it is life-threatening, visit the emergency room to get medical attention immediately.
Open puncture wounds require care right away. They need to be cleaned, stitched, and bandaged properly to ensure the least amount of permanent scarring possible. Every bite has the potential to become infectious, so if the bite has broken the skin it’s best to see a doctor. Each year there are an average of sixteen fatalities caused by dog bites–sure, it’s a relatively low number compared to the huge number of annual dog bites, but it is still important to take this incident seriously due to its potentially fatal consequences.
Document the incident with authorities.
If you receive medical attention immediately, the attending physician has to alert the animal control authority about the incident; if you did not go to the hospital right away, this step is your responsibility, and it’s extremely important. Animal control will determine what steps need to be taken with regard to the dog. Likely it will need to be quarantined for a period after the incident. However, if it was a particularly aggressive attack or if this wasn’t the dog’s first bite, animal control may determine the dog to be dangerous, or potentially dangerous. This determination has some serious repercussions for the owner, if they choose to keep the dog.
Keep records of all your medical bills.
You will need to keep personal documentation of your medical bills, an estimate for future medical bills, and any lost wages. Dog bites leave lasting scars that are not only physical. Many dog bite victims suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder–particularly if the victim is young, and you should not have to pay for ongoing therapy to cope with the trauma.
The most important thing to do after you receive medical care is to seek legal representation.
Settlements are not always easy to reach if you choose to go it alone. It is likely more difficult than you might expect to receive fair compensation without legal representation. The experienced dog bite lawyers at Westin Law Office will work hard to guide you through the claims process and to get you the settlement you deserve.
Your dog bite lawyer will assist you in holding the insurance company accountable for all costs associated with the dog bite. You will receive compensation for all medical bills and future medical bills. This is relatively easy to quantify if you have kept proper records or can access all your bills online. Any dollar amount you have spent or potentially will spend in the future should be paid out to you in full. Additionally, if your injuries have caused you to miss work, you should receive compensation for lost wages. Finally, you should receive compensation for any trauma that you have experienced due to the incident. This is a harder number to determine; without a dog bite lawyer on your side, you may have a hard time putting a dollar amount on your emotional suffering. Without a lawyer, you will probably leave money on the table.
Perhaps filing an insurance claim for a dog bite seems straightforward, especially considering that there is a Minnesota state law that is clearly favorable to victims of dog bites. As long as you can show that you were acting peaceably and the bite happened where you were legally allowed to be, the law is on your side. Homeowners insurance covers the medical cost of a dog bite even if the homeowner isn’t at home. Seems like filing an insurance claim should be easy, right? Not always.
This is because insurance companies are notoriously tricky, and they are set up to be complex and confusing in order to stay profitable. A team of specialized attorneys and adjusters are constantly ready to hit the front lines for the insurance company. The insurance company will work hard to prove that you were not acting peaceably. They will try to show that you provoked the dog in some way, voluntarily put yourself at risk of getting hurt by the dog, or that you were somehow contributed to the injury by being careless–they will work hard to show you are responsible for the attack. This is why you need to have a lawyer help you with your dog bite claim. They will take your side through the entire process and ensure that you are fully compensated.
Lastly, filing an insurance claim can feel like an act of betrayal if you were bitten by a friend or family member’s dog. There might be pressure to settle out of court, without insurance, and to keep the incident off record with the animal control authorities. Here’s the deal–it’s irresponsible to settle without having gone through the proper channels. First of all, it is likely you will receive a fraction of the settlement award if a claim hasn’t been filed. Additionally, this is a matter of safety. Animal control authorities will know the best course of action to take for the dog and whether or not it’s a threat to the general public; it’s important to have a record of a bite in case it happens again. Choosing to seek legal representation, as opposed to settling out of pocket and without a formal insurance claim, will allow you to move forward with your friendship, rather than muddying it with business. Leave the financial aspect of this incident to the professionals.
If your dog bit someone, it is extremely important to hire a personal injury lawyer that has experience with dog bites. Typically, dog owners are held responsible for the actions of their dog; however, your exact liability is up for debate, depending on the scenario. If the victim’s actions provoked the dog in any way, such as teasing the dog, it is possible a dog bite lawyer can determine they were not acting in a way that the law would interpret as peaceably, and therefore should assume part of the responsibility.
If you’ve suffered a dog bite, make sure to call Weston Law Office today. Dog bites are scary, but the claims process doesn’t have to be. An experienced dog bite lawyer will fight to get you fairly compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, permanent scarring or disability, and experienced trauma. Conversely, if your dog bit someone, a lawyer will help determine your best method of defense. A free consultation and payment only on contingency mean zero financial risk to you.
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When you are injured in a car accident, typical protocol is to file a claim with the insurance company of the person who caused the collision. Usually, if you caused the collision, you are mostly on your own to pay for rehabilitation.
In Minnesota however, when you are injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can file a claim with the other person’s insurance company AND your own. And if you caused the collision? State law requires your insurance company to pay YOU benefits for care.
This free guide helps shed light on Minnesota’s no-fault insurance law and how after a car accident, you can get enough benefits to cover chiropractic, medical or disability expenses.