No two dog attack claims are the same. Therefore, it can be tricky or even impossible to answer the question of how long it takes to settle a dog bite lawsuit. However, in many cases, dog bite claims can be resolved out of court or before going to trial, which can speed up the process and help victims recover compensation faster.
Factors that play into how long your case could take to settle can include:
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- Whether fault for the dog attack is challenging to prove
- Whether you can settle out of court or have to go to trial
- Your state’s laws and the statute of limitations
There is no way to foresee exactly how long it will take to settle a dog bite lawsuit. It will all depend on the specifics of your unique case.
However, a personal injury attorney from our firm can assess your claim and help you fight for compensation. Hiring the right lawyer can greatly impact the time it takes to settle your claim.
Out-of-Court Settlements Can Bring Closure Faster Than Lawsuits
Accepting an out-of-court settlement can potentially be a much quicker, less stressful, and more efficient way of getting your due when compared to a court case. Court cases can potentially drag on for years.
However, an out-of-court settlement can also have some pitfalls. Once a dog bite victim accepts an out-of-court settlement, they typically can no longer recover additional compensation from the same party. Because of this, victims need to ensure that their settlement covers all of their damages, including any future expected losses such as future income loss and future medical bills.
A dedicated attorney from our firm can estimate the value of your damages and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company for you. Your lawyer will also know when it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit.
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Costs Related to a Dog Bite Incident
The financial costs of dog bites can be higher than you think. For example, you may have extensive medical bills depending on the seriousness of the injury. If the dog had rabies, you might have to get rabies shots, which can be costly depending on your insurance.
If your wounds get infected, you will have the costs related to antibiotic treatment. If your injuries are severe enough, you may also have hospital fees or physical therapy fees. Taking all of your expenses into account will be critical in any settlement, either in court or in an out-of-court settlement.
Your Injuries Can Play a Role in Determining How Long It Takes to Settle
While it can be next to impossible to predict how long a dog bite lawsuit will take to settle, the severity of your injuries can play a role. It can be unwise to file a lawsuit asking for damages while you are in the middle of recovery since there may be no way to predict your future expected medical expenses and income losses.
How Serious Are Dog Bites?
Sometimes, you might not realize how serious a dog bite is until later. While some bites might not be severe, other dog bites can lead to infections and pass on diseases. Some dog bites are severe enough to cause disfigurement. In addition, the experience can be emotionally traumatizing.
As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five dog bites requires medical attention. After experiencing a dog bite, make sure to seek proper medical treatment and follow the advice of medical professionals. Take any prescribed antibiotics and follow any restrictions the doctor tells you to follow.
Make sure to follow up about any problems you may have to get the long-term help you need.
After You Have Recovered
Once you have reached full recovery or maximum improvement, your attorney can consult with your doctor in order to determine your future treatment plan and when you might be expected to return to work. However, on the flip side, it can also be dangerous to wait too long with legal action. According to Louisiana Civil Code (CC) §3492, you generally only have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit.
When it comes to the timing of your lawsuit, a personal injury lawyer from our firm can advise you comprehensively and ensure that you are not missing any crucial deadlines that could potentially bar you from recovering compensation.
Proving Fault After a Dog Bite Incident
The laws in each state are a little different regarding dog bites. The specific laws in your state will impact how long it takes you to settle a dog bite incident.
Louisiana has strict laws regarding dog bite incidents. Under La. Civ. Code Art. 2321, the dog owner is responsible for any damages caused by their dog. This includes dog bites. Specifically, dog owners are liable for damages “caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented.”
The main exception is if the dog was provoked, which can shift responsibility. If you provoked the dog, the owner might not be held liable. After a dog bite incident, the dog owner may also claim that you were trespassing or that you are responsible for your injuries because of your actions.
It can be difficult to prove the dog’s owner was at fault for a dog bite incident in some cases. This is related to what exactly happened at the time of the incident. When the facts are unclear, it might take longer to reach a settlement.
A dog bite lawyer can help you gather evidence to support your claim, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
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What You Can Do to Speed Up Your Case
After getting attacked by a dog, the legal fallout might not be the first thing on your mind. But taking specific actions right away can help you with your case later.
First of all, make sure you see a medical provider as soon as possible and receive a medical report detailing all injuries from the dog attack, including any physical and emotional injuries you have suffered. You may also want to:
- Contact the police right away after the attack
- Contact local animal control
- Contact a personal injury lawyer
According to the CDC, anyone bitten by a dog can potentially contract rabies, a deadly disease for which there is no cure. Hence, contacting animal control and the police can be important, especially if a dog seems sick or aggressive. You may need to find out whether the dog that attacked you has a current rabies vaccine record. If not, you may need rabies shots.
Contacting an attorney, once you have seen to your health, can be an excellent idea. Your lawyer can start to gather evidence and work on preserving your legal rights immediately. Getting the process started early can help you settle as soon as possible.
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Can Fight for Your Rights
If you have a case against a negligent dog owner, we can work hard to help you recover compensation via an insurance settlement. However, in cases where an out-of-court settlement may not produce the result you need, we can take your case to trial and fight for adequate and comprehensive compensation on your behalf.
Getting your due from a negligent dog owner can be challenging. However, Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can be by your side every step of the way. We can protect your legal rights, gather the necessary evidence to prove your claim, and fight strongly for what you may deserve.
Dog attacks can be physically, emotionally, and financially challenging for victims. However, you are not powerless. If someone else’s negligence caused your suffering and expenses, they should pay for your damages and we can help you hold them to account.
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Call us today for a free consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start working on your case.