How Do I Negotiate a Dog Bite Settlement?

A dog can be a great companion and can add so much to a family’s life. We love dogs and we support responsible dog ownership. But sometimes, an encounter with a dog doesn’t end well…and you need to know what action to take if that happens.

More than 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year in this country and about 20% of those require medical treatment. At least half of dog bite victims are children. Not long ago, an Upstate woman was nearly killed by dogs while simply walking down the street. So, what do you do if you or someone in your life suffers an unprovoked dog attack?

First, get medical attention immediately. A bite could require stitches, tissue repair or hospitalization. A dog’s bite often becomes infected since their mouths are notoriously full of germs. Then, report the incident to law enforcement so you’ll have a legal record of the injury. Police may contact Animal Control to remove the dog, order it to be confined, issue citations to the owner, and have it tested for rabies. They’ll know the local laws on dog bites.

Make sure you take photos and videos of the injury from day one until it’s healed and save any torn clothing or shoes from the incident. If you can safely photograph the site where the dog bite happened, do it. Get statements from anyone who witnessed the attack. Strong evidence is always important for any case and collecting a settlement.
Keep accurate records of all medical expenses from treatment. Include travel costs, prescriptions you pay for, and any long-term therapy needed. If the victim loses time from work because of injury, add up any lost wages.

Be sure to collect all the information you can on the dog’s owner. You’ll need a name and address if you wish to collect payment for your injuries.
So, do you have enough evidence to force the owner to pay you a financial settlement? This is where a dedicated attorney can be very helpful. You may not want to face the dog owner on your own, or say something that might hurt your chances of getting paid. At Trammell & Mills, we have extensive experience handling dog bite cases.

Payment for a dog bite injury usually comes from the homeowner’s insurance policy and their adjuster will want to ask you questions. You need to remember that the insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible, as that is how they make money at the end of the year. They do not care about your injury. We do not advise talking with the insurance adjuster by yourself. Let us guide you through that conversation, so you don’t get tricked out of the money you deserve.

Suffering a dog bite can be a traumatic experience that requires lengthy treatment. Don’t risk losing the money you need to pay your bills. Let an experienced attorney who understands dog bite laws handle your negotiation for a fair settlement.

If you’re a dog bite victim, don’t hesitate to call Trammell & Mills at (864) 485-8585 to get the medical and financial payment you deserve. We offer free consultations and never collect a fee unless you receive a settlement or verdict. And always stay a safe distance from dogs you don’t know.

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