Five Mistakes To Avoid Being a Dog Bite Victim
Anyone who is a victim of a dog bite attack has a legal right to receive recover compensation if liability can be imposed against the owner who is responsible for the dog. The majority of people who file claims are very much surprised to discover how far the insurance company will go to avoid paying a fair settlement. Approaching the insurance companies with frivolous or unfounded claims can create devastating consequences in the legal claim and can significantly reduce the amount of compensation that the insurance company is required to pay; and the insurance company will go to extraordinary lengths to defeat the claim. No matter how minor or significant, committing one or more mistakes during this process can leave you in a predicament that results in an unreasonable amount of compensation or you paying out of your own pocket.
To help you out, here are five mistakes to avoid when filing a claim for a dog bite attack:
#1 – Failing To Take Photographs Of Your Injuries
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is extremely important, you should take multiple photographs over the period of time since the incident; from the initial moment after the attack and during the course of time it takes for the injury to heal. Often times the value of a dog bite injury is truly dependent on the appearance of the initial injury, alongside the appearance of the subsequent disfigurement and significant scarring that develops over time. Insurance companies will often push for a large and consistent amount of photographs, especially if the injury is significant with any prominent scars or disfigurement that are severe.
#2 – Failing To Seek Medical Treatment
Most insurance companies may refuse to believe that the injury is serious unless medical attention has been received, so cleaning and wrapping up your own injury would be a setback when filing your claim. If the injury is serious enough to warrant medical attention, then you need to immediately consult with a doctor, or go to your local emergency room. Keep in mind; a visit to the doctor will result in the creation of a chart that follows the history of your injury from the initial visit to the emergency room or consulting with your doctor, to check up visits on the status of your injury. This will be documented permanently in your medical records.
#3 – Failing To Notify The Proper Authorities
If you have been bitten, the proper authorities should be immediately notified.
This may include the police or the local animal control agency. An investigation by the authorities can produce information and witness statements that may be critical in helping you establish liability against the animal’s owner.
#4 – Failing To Document Everything
You should immediately write a statement about the attack while everything is still fresh in your mind; reason being is your claim may take months, or even years to resolve, and your memory will not be as credible as the immediate statement. You should keep a file of records, documents, and photographs related to the claim such as medical records, information about the dog, names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses and the dog owner involved in the incident. If the dog owner has insurance, they will request recorded statement for their insurance company. Do not give a statement; insurance companies will use your statement to search for any holes in your story about the incident. If you decide to hire a lawyer, your file of records and documents can provide enormous assistance to the attorney and their staff in representing you.
#5 – Failing To Hire a Lawyer
If your injuries are serious or permanent, then it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer to help resolve your claim. The dog bite victim should immediately hire and have counsel act on their behalf to ensure that no mistakes are made, and that everything is handled professionally so the chances of recovering a settlement is maximized. Also, by attempting to settle your case on your own you take the risk that you might do or say something that would permanently damage the case in some way. If you make any statement that contradicts with authority statements or medical records, it can make it impossible for your lawyer to resolve the case for a maximum value of compensation. Many times the insurance company will assign a dog bite case to the person whom has the most knowledge and experience with these claims. Remember that insurance companies go to great lengths to train their adjustors on digging up information to use against you with given or lack of information to minimize your claim.
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