Being attacked and bitten by a dog can leave physical, psychological, and financial scars. In an instant, a dog bite can permanently alter your life. If you have suffered a dog bite injury, you likely have many questions about how to move forward.
You deserve to know your options in this type of scenario. You should not be left to pay for an injury that was not your fault. An Elk Grove personal injury lawyer can help so you know which step to take next.
What to Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog in Elk Grove
The first thing you should do is seek the medical care you need for any injuries. Once you do that, there are different steps you should take, such as the following:
Report the Bite to Authorities
Reach out to the Elk Grove Animal Control department and provide details like the location of the incident, a description of the dog, name, and contact info for the owner if known, and whether there were any witnesses. Animal control will start an investigation, follow up to ensure the dog’s rabies vaccinations are current, and determine if the canine is dangerous or aggressive. Request a copy of the animal control bite report for your records.
Document Evidence Regarding the Bite
Take photographs of wounds or injuries from the bite immediately after it happens and regularly during the healing process. Get contact details for anyone who witnessed the bite occur. Thoroughly documenting all aspects of the bite provides critical evidence to support a dog bite claim.
These steps ensure the incident is properly documented, authorities are notified, and evidence is preserved. It also starts a paper trail that your attorney can use to prove liability and damages. Promptly notifying authorities also helps prevent the dog from injuring someone else.
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Types of Damages You May Claim After an Elk Grove Dog Bite
When bitten by someone else’s dog, the injuries and other consequences can significantly impact multiple aspects of your life. There are a variety of damages you can potentially claim:
Make sure you account for emergency room treatment, fees for ambulance services if needed, hospital bills if you are admitted, expenses for follow-up appointments and physical therapy, costs of prescription medications, and any counseling or mental healthcare necessary to address emotional trauma. If the bite causes permanent injuries, you can claim estimated costs of future medical treatment and care. Make sure you keep comprehensive documentation of all medical services received and expenses arising from the dog bite.
Lost or Reduced Income
Those lost wages for time away from your job can be included in a claim. Additionally, if bite trauma causes any long-term or permanent impairment that reduces your future earnings potential, you can seek damages for diminished earning capacity. An example would be a disability or disfigurement that limits your ability to work.
Pain and Suffering
A dog bite claim can sometimes be difficult to calculate. However, compensation for pain, discomfort, emotional distress, trauma, reduced quality of life, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and other such losses is a major component of many dog bite claims. This considers factors like the number and severity of your wounds, required treatments like reconstructive surgery, whether disability or loss of mobility occurred, psychological impacts, and more.
Make sure you keep all receipts, invoices, records, and other documentation related to these costs to support your claim. A lawyer can calculate current and future costs and demand appropriate compensation through insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. Never accept an offer from insurance companies without first consulting an attorney.
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Potential Compensation Sources to Recover Damages
If a dog bites you, you may have multiple potential sources of compensation. You deserve all the types of compensation you can potentially get. Some of the sources to cover the damages are:
Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance Policies
Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies often include liability coverage in incidents like dog bites where the insured’s canine injures someone. This is usually the optimal first step, as insurance claims resolve faster than lawsuits. However, policies have caps on payouts, so you may need to pursue additional compensation if your damages exceed those limits.
Animal Liability Insurance
Some dog owners have separate animal liability policies covering dog bite incidents. If the at-fault owner has this coverage, your attorney will claim with the animal liability insurer. This provides another avenue for compensation in addition to homeowner’s insurance. However, not all owners carry these policies.
Your Health Insurance Company
If you used health insurance to cover any medical bills arising from the bite, your insurer will likely have a right of subrogation, allowing them to seek reimbursement from the responsible party. Your dog bite lawyer in Elk Grove can ensure your insurance company exercises its right of subrogation against the owner while securing additional compensation directly for you. This allows all your losses to be covered beyond just the medical costs paid by health insurance.
Court Award from Lawsuit
If insurance claims do not adequately compensate your losses, your attorney may file a lawsuit against the dog owner seeking damages through the court system. After your lawyer presents evidence and arguments in court, a judge or jury can award you a verdict determining the compensation amount.
Before or even during a trial, it is common for dog-bite lawsuits to reach negotiated settlements between the parties. Your lawyer may be able to secure a fair out-of-court settlement with the owner and their insurer that provides sufficient compensation without having to go through prolonged litigation and courtroom proceedings.
This provides a starting point, but insurance payouts often fall short of fully compensating dog bite victims. An experienced lawyer can potentially pursue additional damages through strong legal advocacy and negotiation tactics. They will fight tirelessly for you to try and get you compensation.
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Benefits of Working with a Dog Bite Attorney in Elk Grove
A lawyer can help protect you against insurance companies and negligent dog owners. Their unique skills and experience can maximize your recovery. Specifically, an Elk Grove dog bite lawyer can help in several of the following ways:
- A lawyer lives and breathes knowing the laws you need help with. Dog bite laws are complex, and a lawyer will know just what you should do next.
- Dog bite cases depend a lot on investigating exactly how the incident happened. A lawyer knows the loopholes and what to look for after having completed thousands of these cases.
- They will not back down from insurance companies. Insurance adjusters often try to lowball victims. Your lawyer has the negotiation skills to get you the maximum settlement.
- An Elk Grove dog bite attorney handles everything so that you can focus on yourself. You have been through enough already. Your lawyer takes care of the whole legal process for you.
Get Help from Triumph Law
Suffering a dog bite injury can greatly impact your life physically, emotionally, and financially. You deserve to recuperate the money you spent on any injuries or missed work and deal with the traumatizing experience. Call us today for a free consultation so we can get started, and you can move on from this experience.