Dog bites are not only painful but also unexpected. Most of the time you don’t see them coming. Everything is fine one minute and then suddenly a dog has locked its jaws around your arm or leg. The shock can often leave you feeling a bit confused and unsure how to proceed (and this is doubly so if your child was bitten!).
Around 4.5 million dog bites happen every year in the United States. Dog bites are also most likely to happen to children aged 5-9. Around 800,000 of these bites are serious injuries that need medical attention. If you or a member of your family are one of these 800,000, you may be able to make a claim against the dog’s owner.
There are a few nuances involved in dog bite cases. The worst thing that you can do is make an assumption that you are entitled to x number of dollars because Linda from down the street got that much. Maybe you think that you’re not entitled to any compensation because the bite wasn’t from a Pitbull or Jack Russell? Or you think that you’re not entitled to any compensation because it wasn’t that bad.
Knowing what you’re entitled to and why you can and can’t claim it is important. This is why I have put together a breakdown, to answer the question “Can I make a personal injury claim because of a dog bite in Colorado Springs or Las Vegas?”
What do claims require?
For your claim to be considered following a dog bite, ideally, there should be three things:
- Injury– did the bite cause bloodshed or break a bone? How severe is the bite and will it cause lasting scarring?
- Insurance– does the dog’s owner have homeowners or renters insurance? Usually, this is the only way that the claim will be paid. This is because if they do not have insurance, it is a lot harder to make a claim as there may not be any money there for you to pursue.
- Liability– is the dog’s owner liable (responsible) for the bite? Was the owner negligent, i.e. did they allow the dog to be let off the leash when they shouldn’t? Has the dog been trained not to bite? Does the dog have a history of biting or misbehaving?
It is worth noting that while you will be bringing a claim against the dog owner, it will be defended by their insurance company and any settlement will be paid for by the insurance company too. Often people worry about bringing a claim because the dog is owned by a friend or family member. This shouldn’t stop you because ultimately and ideally their insurance company will be paying the costs of defending the claim, as well as the damages.
Statute of limitations
In both Colorado and Nevada, there is a two-year statute limitations for dog bites. This means that a case must be settled within two years of the date of the bite or a lawsuit filed. Otherwise, you are not able to make a claim. You need to keep in mind that there could be other, sooner deadlines too. This is why time is of the essence for seeking legal counsel to represent you in your time of need.
If you or a member of your family have been bitten by a dog then call Kim Welch Law today at (888) 590-5510 or get in touch through my contact page. I will represent your best interests and explain exactly what is happening each step of the way. Claim with clarity today.
What to do next
If you or a member of your family have recently been bitten by a dog, then you need to begin keeping records.
First of all, you should call animal control and file a report. Ask for a copy of this report and give it to your attorney.
Next, you should take photographs of the bite marks/wound. Both as soon as it happens and as time progresses. The wound is going to change over the next few days and weeks. The swelling will rise and fall, your bruising will get worse and then get better. So, take pictures of all of it and make sure that there are date stamps on them all. A good idea with photographs of these sorts of wounds is to have a “scale object” in the picture. This could be a ruler or a quarter.
You should keep records of any interactions with the dog owner, with the police, or with your healthcare provider. Keep records of medical bills too. If you’re unable to drive then keep your receipts for any taxis or Ubers that you take until you can drive again.
If your child was bitten and they’re scared or upset, you may want to take them to a child therapist. You may be able to reclaim these costs as part of the insurance claim. Keep a record of the receipts and have the therapist write a report about your child to show where they were and their progress through the sessions.
Keeping these records in an organized file will really help you to feel in control of the situation. Keep all of your reports, photographs, and notes together in the same place. This will also make it much easier for you to provide evidence that your attorney may ask for.
Last, but not least, speak with an attorney as early as possible. As I mentioned before, dog bite cases have a two-year statute of limitations, and possibly some earlier deadlines. Getting the insurance claim started as quickly as possible is very important.
Not just that but speaking with an attorney can help you to understand what you can claim. You may be told by the insurance company that you will have your medical costs covered and nothing more. In most cases, you will be able to claim more than just the basic costs. But without knowing your rights, you may take the first offer given to you. Your claim is much more likely to be successful, and you are much more likely to get what you deserve, when you hire a dedicated and experienced personal injury attorney.
If you or a member of your family have recently been bitten by a dog, call us today for a free consultation. I have years of experience litigating on behalf of insurance companies that I now use to fight for you – the injured party. I will use this knowledge to represent your interests and get you the compensation that you are entitled to.
You can get in touch with Kim Welch Law by either calling us on (888) 590-5510 or using the contact form on our website. I provide a dedicated and thorough service to all of my clients; working with you at a time that is convenient for you and taking the time to ensure that you know exactly what is going on. Depending on your circumstances, making a claim following a dog bite can be overwhelming – but together we can help to remove the stress and worry from your case.