Should I Pursue a Dog Bite Claim?

Every year, over 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs. Of these dog bite cases, over 800,000 people require medical care for their injuries. Most of us love our dogs, but we can forget that dogs are animals to act on instinct. While we may understand our dogs' behaviors, we cannot predict the behavior of strange and unfamiliar dogs. Dog bites can and do happen, and some cause devastating, disabling injuries to victims. If a dog has bitten you, you may be wondering whether it is worth pursuing a dog bite lawsuit. 

Understanding Your Legal Options After a Dog Bite

If a dog in North Carolina has bitten you, no matter how minor or severe your injuries are, the dog's owner is most likely liable for your medical expenses. You have the right to pursue legal action and compensation for your damages. However, it will ultimately depend on your evidence as to whether the owner knew or should have known that their dog had bitten someone already or had a dangerous disposition. 

The best way to learn more about your legal options is to discuss the unique facts of your case with an attorney experienced with dog bite claims in North Carolina. Your attorney will evaluate your case, ask questions, and help you understand the likelihood of success if you pursue a claim. An attorney can also provide you with an estimated value of your case. All of this information will help you decide whether you should go forward in pursuing compensation.

Know Your Legal Rights

There are some exceptions to the general rule that you can pursue a claim for compensation after a dog bites you. For example, if you were trespassing on someone's private property when the bite occurred or are familiar with and provoked the animal. If you can prove that the dog owner is liable for injuries under North Carolina law, they will usually offer you an out-of-court settlement. In most cases, you can accept the settlement and will not have to go to trial. The settlement amount offered by the defendant or the insurance company will depend on several factors. 

The severity of the injury is a significant factor in determining the value of the settlement. For example, if a dog attacks a child who will suffer from a lifetime disfigurement and disability, that child will typically be able to obtain a higher settlement. Due to their age and small size, the child is more likely to sustain significant injuries and suffer from long-term emotional trauma. If you can no longer work or have disfiguring scars because of the dog bite, your case will typically be of higher value. 

Should I File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

It can be challenging to decide whether to pursue a claim to recover damages or not. Many people are overwhelmed by the thought of taking legal action, especially while trying to recover from their dog bite. However, you will probably incur significant financial damages if the dog bite is severe. You may have had surgeries and been unable to take time off work. You may be suffering from painful, permanent scarring and need to seek mental health treatment for the symptoms associated with being attacked. Pursuing compensation can be helpful in this situation as it can allow you to pay your medical bills and move forward in your life.

Even if the dog bite was relatively minor, you might still be able to recover compensation. Being attacked by a dog is always mentally and emotionally stressful. Even minor injuries can result in significant medical expenses. For example, if you need stitches and go to the hospital, you could face over $10,000 in medical costs, especially if your insurance coverage is not very effective. 

An attorney can help you understand all of the options for recovering compensation. For example, you may be able to recover compensation through a renter's insurance or a homeowners insurance policy, or the policy of a commercial business establishment. In most cases, it is worth discussing your case with an attorney so you can make an informed decision about whether to go forward.

Reach Out to a Skilled Attorney Today

If you or your loved one has been injured by a dog bite in Charlotte, North Carolina, contact the skilled attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule your free initial case evaluation. 

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