Do I Really Need an Attorney for a Dog bite?
Most dog-bite incidents could probably be handled without an attorney. It is a fairly simple process that includes collecting evidence and writing a demand letter asking for compensation. However, there may be times when an attorney can come in handy after a dog bite injury. He or she can get a settlement when things get complicated.
1. Your injuries are severe.
In many dog bite cases, the injuries are limited. The dog may have ruined some clothing and bit the victim, but the injuries are easily treated, and they heal completely. In that instance, the dog owner replaced the clothes and pays the medical bills, and the claim is over.
However, if the attack was more severe the damages can increase a lot. Imagine a dog attacks a child, and the dog bites the child in the face causing the child to need surgery to repair the damage and prevent scarring. That kind of surgery can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – much more than a doctor’s visit and stitches.
This is not a simple case of an owner paying a victim a couple of hundred dollars. The cost of this case is going to require that insurance companies get involved, and where there are insurance companies there are insurance-company lawyers.
It is an insurance lawyers job to protect the insurance company. You may need a lawyer to counter their tactics. The damages are also high enough to offset the cost of hiring your own lawyer.
2. The other party is refusing to cooperate.
If you followed the steps here and you still have not managed to come to a settlement, you may have to litigate the case. If the damages are more than $10,000.00 you will be required to litigate the case in district court rather than small claims court.
Small claims courts have simpler rules and more forgiving procedure because they are meant for small claims and people who have not hired lawyers. District court is not the same, and the judge may not make an exception for you if you do not hire an attorney.
If you find yourself in the position of having to litigate your dog-bite claim in district court, it is always advisable to hire an attorney. An attorney knows which documents to file when, and the attorney can correctly draft those documents.
A dog-bite case may involve injuries too small to merit litigation in district court. The filing fee can be up to $400.00. If you are unsure about what you should do next, you can contact an attorney anytime day and night for a free consultation.