Is a dog bite case worth pursuing?
I get this question a lot. Often somebody who has been injured by a dog bite or dog attack calls our office and asks this question. Usually, the dog bite victim is concerned about the costs of pursuing the claim, how long will it take and the financial impact on the dog owner.
I want to address some of these concerns.
First off, I would never advocate somebody filing a claim against a dog owner unless there were real injuries sustained by the dog bite victim. However, dog bite injuries present themselves in various ways. A dog bite attack can result in physical pain and injury – think torn muscles and fractured bones. More often, dog bite attacks result in permanent scarring, whether it is to the leg or face. Permanent scarring can have a devastating effect on a person, and the medical costs can be extremely expensive. Surgeries to lessen or remove scarring can run into the thousands of dollars. In addition, these traumatic events can lead to severe anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
As for the cost of pursuing a dog bite claim, the answer is simple. For our Michigan dog bite attorneys, there is no fee unless there is a recovery. This means you don’t get paid unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.
The time it takes to pursue a claim will vary. Now remember, just because you are opening a “claim” against a dog owner does not mean you are filing a lawsuit in court against the dog owner. A claim is very different than a lawsuit. A claim is merely an investigation between your attorney and an insurance adjuster working for the insurance company of the dog owner. It is not a formal civil action in a court.
Usually, most dog bite claims are settled at the claims stage. This means they are settled without having to go to court. Assuming this occurs, a dog bite claim can settle sometimes within six months of the dog attack. However, if a lawsuit is necessary, this will lengthen the time period – although even dog bite lawsuits can be resolved fairly quickly and smoothly.
Last, a concern I hear quite often from dog bite victims is the financial impact their claim will have on a dog owner. I can say our firm almost never takes a case unless the dog bite owner has homeowners insurance. Dog bite accidents are covered under homeowner’s insurance policies. If a settlement or verdict is obtained on behalf of our client, the money will come from the insurance company.
That way, you are not putting a dog owner in financial peril because of an honest mistake.