While most animals are friendly and non-threatening, others can be downright dangerous.
In the event of a dog bite injury or other animal attack, the medical expenses and pain and suffering can be overwhelming.
At Foster Law Offices, we provide aggressive representation to those injured or maimed as a result of a dog bite injury or animal attack. We know Washington dog bite laws, and we have the knowledge and experience to give you, or your loved one, compassionate and effective legal counsel.
Below we offer some useful information regarding various aspects of a dog bite injury or animal attack case. We hope this will assist you in understanding you or your family member's rights following a dog bite injury or animal attack.
* What To Do After A Dog Bite Injury Or Animal Attack
The first thing you must do following a dog bite injury or animal attack is seek medical attention.
Oftentimes, your trip to the emergency room is merely a starting point to the future medical treatment you require.
Be sure to follow-up with your primary care physician/family doctor who can refer you to the appropriate specialists experienced in providing aftercare to ensure your recovery is handled properly.
It is also important to identify the animal that bit you, because if it is a stray and you cannot identify it, you're facing the possibility of having to submit to treatment for rabies, which can be painful.
* Important Information About a Dog Bite Injury
If you were attacked by a dog or any wild animal being kept by a person, you are likely entitled to receive compensation from the insurance company that insures against the animal attack.
The legal claim resulting from a dog or animal attack is necessary to compensate you for the medical expenses, lost income, pain-and-suffering, and all associated expenses and costs related to a dog bite injury or animal attack.
If you have sustained a puncture wound or laceration, it will likely be necessary to consult a plastic surgeon experienced in dog bite or animal attack injuries.
It is important to consult the plastic surgeon immediately after the dog bite or animal attack.
You may also want to obtain a second and third opinion from a plastic surgeon on the recommended surgeries (if any) and future course of treatment in order to reduce scarring and recover from the injury.
After you have obtained the necessary medical treatment, the next step is to gather information.
The information gathering process should include contacting the dog or animal owner to determine the following information:
- The dog or animal owner's insurance carrier
- Whether the dog owner reported the attack to the insurance company
- If the insurance carrier has been notified you must obtain:
- the claim number
- adjuster's name and
- contact information for the insurance company
- If the animal owner refuses to speak to you, then we can obtain this information for you
If you are successful in obtaining the insurance information, we strongly advise against speaking to the insurance company for any reason.
Insurance companies will attempt to discuss every aspect of the case with you.
If you are confused about a detail or neglect to provide certain information, this will be utilized by the insurance company during settlement negotiations and/or litigation to minimize the amount of money you will receive from the insurance company.
* Washington Dog Bite Laws - The Dog Bite Case
A dog bite injury victim may incur many different kinds of damages and losses, from medical bills, scarring and cosmetic disfigurement to lost wages and emotional damages.
These expenses and losses are called "damages".
Under Washington dog bite laws, a dog bite injury or animal attack victim is entitled to collect damages from the dog or animal owner and his or her insurance company.
In order to do so, the victim must prove that the animal attacked, then prove that the injuries were related to the attack.
While this sounds straightforward, it is anything but a simple process.
Because dog bite and animal attack cases usually result in significant injuries, insurance companies defend these matters vigorously and without regard to the victim's injuries and painful recovery.
Parents have special considerations when their kids are injured.
Dog bite injuries sustained by those under the age of 18 have three years from their 18th birthday to pursue a claim against the dog owner and his or her insurance company. However, it is important to act quickly after the incident in order to protect your child's legal rights.
* Washington Dog Bite Injury Lawyer - The Help You Need
An injured person and his or her family are not emotionally capable of vigorously enforcing their rights. The most important task they face is making sure the victim heals.
In death cases, the family grieves; it does not gather evidence and prepare legal briefs.
In cases short of death, the victim and his or her family must be optimistic, so the tendency is to minimize the suffering, even ignore it as much as possible. Nevertheless, it is there, and it may remain there for a long time - permanently, if wounds turn into ugly scars.
Therefore, a vigorous advocate is a necessity.
A dog bite injury lawyer with expertise in representing people with these injuries brings value to your claim.
He or she has studied the effects of dog bite injuries, how to gather the evidence necessary to completely prove not only what happened in the past but also what the future effects will be, the practices and procedures of insurance companies when handling serious cases like these, and how to properly evaluate these cases to make sure that the victims receive what they deserve.
An attorney with expertise has the ability to objectively evaluate both the strengths and the weaknesses of a claim. They use this expertise along with their complete knowledge of Washington dog bite laws to represent you to the fullest possible extent.
Furthermore, an attorney is the only person who can turn a claim into a lawsuit if you are not being treated fairly.
Without the threat of a lawsuit, you are at the mercy of the insurance company.
And finally, the procedures often followed by animal control departments in "dog court" hearings may unintentionally compromise the victim's rights. A victim and his or her family therefore should not communicate with animal control authorities until their lawyer reviews the city and county ordinances, and obtains the department's commitment as to which laws and procedures they will be following.
* Dog Bite Injury and Cosmetic Surgery
Some people do not realize that future surgery will be considered to be "cosmetic" and therefore will not be covered by their own health insurance.
The only way to get those costs paid is to bring a claim right now against the dog owner or other liable person.
Why should you have to pay for any of these costs out of your own pocket, years from today?
An experienced dog bite injury lawyer knows how to make an insurance company pay for future surgery.
Getting the necessary legal-medical report from a credible plastic surgeon is one of the things that your lawyer will be paying for. The cost of this kind of a report can be from $750 - $2,500, but an insurance company will not pay for future medical treatment without this documentation.
* Washington Dog Bite Injury Lawyer - Contact Information
At Foster Law Offices, we are well-versed and experienced in the latest Washington dog bite laws that protect dog bite injury and animal attack victims. We utilize our experience to obtain the maximum settlement available under the law for victims and their families.
To discuss you or your family member's legal rights related to a dog bite injury or animal attack with an attorney, please contact Foster Law Offices to schedule a free consultation. We encourage you to discuss your case with an experienced dog bite injury lawyer.
We offer free in-home or office appointments. Consultations are always free, there are no up-front fees, and you pay only if we win your case.