The dog bite claims process is very complicated, and should be approached carefully, preferably by an experienced attorney. The process is explained in general, below. Keep in mind, when you start the claims process, you are not actually suing, just protecting your rights and asking for reasonable compensation. I take the worry and stress of the proceedings from you, so you can concentrate on healing.
We Will Get You the Right Insurance Coverage
Without coverage, it is difficult if not impossible to pursue a claim for damages against the dog owner. An experienced attorney will know how to uncover any applicable insurance policies. It is rare that the dog owner will voluntarily provide this information.
Steps to Setting Up Your Claim
The first thing that happens after your attorney gets the homeowner’s or renter’s carrier information following a dog attack is to set-up a claim. This involves having an adjuster assigned to the claim, and providing the initial information to the adjuster so he or she can start the claim investigation, and get a claim number. The adjuster will then contact the insured dog owner, typically take a recorded statement to hear what the dog owner’s side of the story is, and request that the dog bite injury victim give a recorded statement as well. As your attorney, I personally do not typically allow such statements, but I do make that decision on a case-by-case basis. If it is a “he said-she said” situation, the insurance company will deny the claim, unless there is an independent witness who substantiates our side.
Proper Documentation of the Claim
This is done by collecting medical bills, reports and treatment notes from any and all medical providers resulting from the dog attack. It also includes dog bite attorneys lost wages calculations and any other “out-of-pocket losses” (e.g., prescriptions, co-pays, etc.). I always send my clients to a plastic surgeon, who will examine any scarring and write a report detailing the bite injury and the appropriate treatment, and the cost for same. This cost will become part of the value of the dog bite claim. All of the above will be compiled, packaged and ultimately sent to the claims adjuster with a demand for dog bite settlement.
Dog Bite Attorney Negotiations
Once the “demand package” is sent to the claims adjuster, it will be reviewed and typically an offer will be made within 30 days on average. The amount of the offer will initially be low, especially if you are handling the claim by yourself. Even if a lawyer has been hired to make the claim, the initial offer from the insurance company is never the amount that the case will end up settling for. This is especially true if the claim is a valuable one. Insurance companies do not easily part with their money, and often times make us jump through hoops to get it – meaning a dog bite lawsuit and lengthy negotiations. The insurance companies always hope that the attorney is scared of taking the case to trial and that such attorneys will settle for less. That will not happen with Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. I negotiate hard, and if the offer is unfair, I will sue and go to trial if they maintain their unfair stance.
Establishing a Claim Resolution
Whether we settle by way of a fair negotiation that we can all live with, or if the insurance company is unfair and makes us try the case in a courtroom, the case will ultimately resolve in our favor. This will happen either before trial, at trial or as a result of a favorable jury verdict. Once the resolution happens, the insurance adjuster or defense attorneys will have the plaintiff sign a release in exchange for the payment.
I can be reached 24/7 at 1-800Injury Law (1-800-465-8795), 365 days a year! Call now to preserve your rights. You may also use our accident case form to initiate the process.