What Are the Stages of a Dog Bite Lawsuit
If you are one of the millions of people who get bitten by dogs every year, then you may have grounds for a dog bite lawsuit. Infection from a dog bite and rabies from a dog bite are potential dog bite injuries. These injuries can be costly, resulting in medical bills and forcing you to take time off work and lose pay.
A dog bite lawsuit enables you to collect compensation for your injuries. However, the litigation process can be long and drawn out. If you think you may have grounds for a lawsuit, be prepared for a lengthy legal battle.
Finding a Dog Bite Attorney
One of the first steps in a dog bite lawsuit is finding a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who has experience with dog bite cases. A personal injury lawyer will help you understand liability laws in your state. This is important because in order to win a dog bite case, you have to prove that the dog owner was liable for the dogs actions.
There are multiple types of liability in dog bite cases. Which type of liability applies to your case will depend on the circumstances of the dog bite incident, as well as the jurisdiction in which you are filing suit.
Your attorney will want you to help gather evidence to support your claim in the case. The type of evidence you may be asked to collect may include photos of your injuries, photos of the scene at which the accident took place, copies of your medical records, and copies of your medical bills.
In addition, your attorney will want you to gather the names and contact information of any witnesses to the dog bite incident. These witnesses may come into play if your case eventually goes to trial.
Writing the Demand Letter
Once evidence is gathered, your attorney will draft a demand letter. This letter will notify the dog bite owner of your intention to file a lawsuit, state the reason why you wish to file a lawsuit, provide information about the evidence you have to back up your claim, and outline the injuries you have suffered and the expenses you have incurred. It may also state a settlement amount that you would accept in order to avoid trial.
If the dog owner accepts the dog bite settlement amount, then the matter will be over with and you will receive the requested compensation. However, he or she may come back with a counteroffer as a way to negotiate down your initial settlement offer. If you agree to the counteroffer, the matter will be over. If you do not agree, your attorney may continue to negotiate with the dog owner until you come to an amount you both agree on.
Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit
If no settlement agreement can be made between you and the dog owner, then you will probably choose to formally file a dog bite lawsuit against the dog bite owner to seek compensation you for your injuries.
Trial can be a lengthy process because it requires many steps and may entail many motions that can delay the final outcome.
The trial will begin with the selection of a panel of jurors. Next, the lawyers will each get to present their opening statements. This is followed by a period of presenting evidence and calling witnesses to the stand. Your attorney will use the evidence and witness testimony to try to prove that the dog owner was liable for the dogs actions that caused your injuries.
The trial ends with the closing arguments of each attorney. The jury then deliberates. Upon coming to a decision, the jury enters the court and gives their verdict, which ends the trial.