There is no way of knowing early on if your dog bite case will settle out of court because litigation has too many variables to be predictable. Sometimes these claims settle out of court, and sometimes they must go to trial. A legal claim can still settle after a lawsuit gets filed. You are not locked into a trial because you file a legal action.
Dog bites can be serious, causing significant injuries and disfiguration that can last for the rest of the victim’s life and add up to massive medical bills. Insurance companies tend to defend against these claims aggressively, and some policies deny coverage for dog bites. Let’s explore some of the factors that can go into the resolution of these cases.
Does the Amount of My Dog Bite Injury Claim Affect the Likelihood of a Settlement?
Yes. When there is a lot of money on the line, many insurance companies try to delay settling to hang onto the money as long as possible, which can prompt a lawsuit. In cases that involve small to medium dollar amounts and there is clear liability, the claim might settle in a matter of months. Other cases could take much longer.
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Can I Settle My Dog Bite Claim Before I Complete My Medical Treatment?
The law does not force you to wait until your doctor releases you from treatment before you settle your dog bite claim, but you might want to consider doing so. When you settle a lawsuit, you must sign multiple documents, including a waiver of all future claims against the defendant and his insurance company for the dog bite incident.
If you settle too early, you might not get as much compensation as you deserve. If you find out later that you need additional medical procedures, like surgery, to treat your wounds, the defendant and insurer will not pay those bills. Also, be careful that you do not wait too long to take legal action if your case does not settle because the statute of limitations could destroy your entire claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit if My Dog Bite Claim Does Not Settle?
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 gives you only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for the harm you suffered from a dog bite or a wrongful death if your close relative died from a dog attack. This time can pass quickly when you are dealing with your injuries or the death of a loved one.
Negotiating with the defendant or insurance company does not extend the time limit. You must file a lawsuit in court before the two-year limit expires. You do not want to risk losing your ability to file by not taking timely action.
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What Kinds of Money Damages Can I Pursue for Dog Bite Injuries?
Every dog bite case is different, so the damages you pursue will depend on the facts of your case. You might be able to seek money damages for:
- Medical expenses to treat your wounds. Your initial emergency treatment can be a part of your injury claim, as well as any necessary follow-up medical care like plastic surgery and skin grafts.
- Pain management and physical therapy can be ongoing treatments that a person needs after getting attacked by a dog.
- Dog bites can be painful and terrifying. People often seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress they endured in the form of pain and suffering damages.
- Disfigurement from the extensive and jagged scars a dog attack can cause can be a part of the injury claim.
- Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after getting mauled by an animal. They might be too afraid to enjoy public spaces like parks or beaches or to experience the joy of owning a pet of their own.
We might be able to pursue additional compensation for the legal beneficiaries if your close relative died from a dog bite attack.
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What Do I Have to Prove to Hold Someone Liable for My Dog Bite Injuries?
Texas does not have a specific dog bite statute that defines a dog owner’s liability when their animal bites or injures someone else. Our courts usually follow the “one bite” rule, which means that the owner generally is only liable to the injured party if at least one of these things is true:
- The injury happened because the dog owner did not use reasonable care to prevent the attack or control the animal,
- The dog had bitten someone in the past, or
- The owner had reason to believe that the dog was aggressive or dangerous.
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins Today for a Free Consultation with a Team Member
You do not have to deal with the defendant or his insurance company on your own. You can call in the Strong Arm of Loncar Lyon Jenkins to handle your case. We can also help injured parties or loved ones who’ve lost someone.
You can call us today at (800) 777-7777 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.