Suffering an attack by man’s best friend can be frightening. The Texas Dog Bite Guide was created by Austin injury attorney Daniel R. Smith to help residents earn the compensation they need to fully recover.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Texas ranks ninth in the country for the amount of people who have dogs. Approximately 44% of households have a dog in Texas, making it highly likely that you’ll encounter a dog walking down a street or going over to someone’s house. When you or someone you love are bitten by a dog, it can be really shocking and cause a lot of damage. We want to guide you through your dog bite case and make sure your right to compensation is fully protected. Our Texas dog bite lawyer is highly experienced in these cases and will be glad to take your call to set up a free consultation.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
If you have ever played with a dog and it play bites you, that’s not necessarily the same thing as a dog bite. Play bites usually don’t leave a scratch, but when a dog attacks, it can cause permanent damage. A particularly vicious animal is capable of injuring you in many ways. Here are some common injuries:
- Rabies transmission
- Infections from bites and cuts
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Nerve damage
- Tendon damage
We want to say how sorry we are that you have had to deal with injuries from a dog attack. Fortunately, you are going to be able to receive more compensation if your injuries are worse. These injuries can be long-lasting and cause you permanent mental anguish.
First Steps After the Bite
On the topic of injuries, you need to know that getting your injuries tended to is so important. If you wait to get to the doctor, you run the risk of further worsening your condition. You are also at risk of getting serious infections. A doctor can make sure you are protect from rabies if you get the treatment right away. Also, if you wait for treatment, the liable party’s insurance company is going to try to throw your case out on the basis that you don’t have need for compensation. The first and most important step for yourself after a dog bite is to seek medical attention.
If you are able to stay on the scene for a few short moments, you will want to collect evidence. Maybe you do this while you are waiting for someone to come bring you to the emergency room, or maybe you call an attorney to come do it for you because your injury just cannot wait. You should ask the owner if the dog has all of it’s necessary vaccinations. You can take photos of the area of the attack, the dog, and the injuries it inflicted on you.
A hugely important step is to hire an experienced Texas dog bite lawyer to make sure that you have everything you need for a successful case. It is almost guaranteed that you will be grateful to have the guidance and support from someone who has dealt with cases like this before and knows how to get you the result you need.
There is a common misconception when it comes to bringing a dog bite claim against the liable party. A lot of times, these attacks happen at a friend or acquaintance’s house which makes a lot of people reluctant to bring a claim. What you need to understand is that you are not getting compensation out of your friend’s pocket. You are getting compensation from their insurance company who is prepared for cases like this. That’s why they have insurance.
When you ask for compensation, we take into account your medical needs and we work with medical professionals to figure out what you will need in the future in terms of treatment. We will then help you to get the award from the insurance company in the fullest and most fair amount. You have every right to bring a claim, even if you are friends with the dog owner. They still did something wrong that lead to this accident and you shouldn’t have to pay for this mistake.
Dealing with Insurance
Do not be surprised if, very quickly after the incident, you are contacted by a representative of the liable party’s insurance company. They will be looking for a recorded statement from you and you should not give them one. They might seem helpful and polite, but they are trained to get answers from you that will make it seem like you are at fault for the incident. You should avoid talking to them, and let your attorney take over communication.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Dog Bite Guide
What Do I Do After the Accident?
Recently I got a call from someone who was seriously injured from a dog bite, and they asked me what they should do. The first thing I told them is they should go seek medical treatment immediately and make sure to follow the doctor’s orders. That gives them the best chance at a full recovery.
The next thing they need to do is hire an attorney, and they need to hire an attorney quickly because evidence goes cold. An attorney is there not just to represent you but also to act as an investigator and collect all the evidence available. Witnesses forget things; people move. It’s important to collect all of that as quickly as possible.
Lastly, you need to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is someone who devotes a significant portion of their practice to personal injury law and knows how dog bite cases work. Dog bite cases are different than other cases. Also, that person should also be a trial attorney. That means they work every case as if they were going to trial.
If you’ve recently been injured from a dog bite, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions.
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
When choosing a dog bite attorney, you need to be able to establish a level of comfort and trust with that attorney. Attorney-client relationships are very important. Next, you need to hire someone who devotes a large part of their practice to personal injury law and has experience in dog bites specifically. Dog bites are different than car wrecks. Different laws apply as to who is responsible if a dog bites someone.
Next, you need to hire a trial attorney. Trial attorneys work cases differently. Also, insurance companies know who the trial attorneys are and that gives you a better chance at a fair settlement offer. Lastly, if you are unable to resolve your case and you’re ready to go to trial, you need to have a trial attorney for that. Please don’t hesitate to call our office. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to meet with you and answer them.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
Recently someone contacted me after they’d been a victim of a dog bite, and they asked me, “What are the two most common mistakes that happen with insurance companies after a dog bite case?” There are two mistakes that pop up time and time again.
The first mistake is that they give a recorded statement. They think that by cooperating with the insurance company, the insurance company will cooperate with them and offer them a fair deal. That isn’t the case. The insurance company isn’t going to offer to share the other recorded statements they take. They’re not going to share the other information that they gather. What the insurance company and their adjuster are doing is trying to find any way to limit the amount they pay to you or any other victim of a dog bite. The insurance company is in the business of paying as little as possible. It’s not in the business of fairly compensating people for injuries they’ve suffered. If insurance companies offered fair numbers without attorneys involved, I would be out of business.
The second big mistake I see people make is they take the first offer, and that’s very much related to the previous mistake. Insurance companies are going to lowball you because they’re not in the business of offering you a fair amount for your claim. They’re going to start by lowballing you and see if you’ll take a very unjust amount and walk away from your claim quickly.
If you’ve been injured in a dog bite case, please don’t hesitate to contact our office and we will do our best to assist you.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Recently I was contacted by someone who had been bit by a dog and was seriously injured. They asked me, “How much is my case worth?” Unfortunately, early on, we don’t know the answer to that question.
The first thing we have to know is the extent of your injuries. Until we know the extent of your injuries, we don’t know how much your case is worth. We won’t be able to determine this until you’ve completed your medical treatment. There are a few different types of compensation you can receive when you’ve been injured by a dog bite in Texas, and that includes permanent disfigurement, past and future pain and suffering, past and future lost wages, and past and future medical costs. Every case is different.
If you’ve recently been injured by a dog bite in Texas, please don’t hesitate to call my office and we’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
How Long Will My Case Take?
A client who had been bitten by a dog wanted to know how long the entire dog bite case process would take. Unfortunately, early on, there is no clear answer. The first thing we have to know is the extent of medical treatment that someone needs. An example of that with a dog bite is if the scar is going to heal. Will you need further medical treatment? Are you going to be permanently disfigured?
Once we know the answer to that question, we can submit a demand to the insurance company asking for fair and just compensation, outlining what happened and the extent of all your injuries. The insurance company has a few weeks to respond. If they respond with a number that’s fair or close to fair, we’ll negotiate with them. If they don’t, then we’ll file a lawsuit.
When we file the lawsuit, the first thing we have to do is serve the defendant. Normally, there are no issues serving the defendant, but occasionally defendants will try to run away from being served and avoid it. After a defendant is served, they have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. When they respond to the lawsuit, they’re almost always represented by an attorney, and the first thing we do is we call them and ask them for a trial date, and then there’s an end in sight.
Throughout your whole case, we’ll be trying to negotiate a fair settlement and if we are unable to negotiate a fair settlement, at the very least you’ll have your day to tell your story in trial. If this is the case, we will make sure that you are fully prepared and ready for trial.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
I was recently contacted by someone who had been bitten by a dog, and they asked me, “What are the most common mistakes that people make?” The first mistake that people make is they don’t seek medical treatment right away. Related to that is they don’t follow the doctor’s orders. If you don’t seek medical treatment right away or don’t follow the doctor’s orders, you lessen your chance at a full recovery.
People will also make the mistake of also talking to the insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are there to limit the exposure of the insurance company. They’re not there to fairly compensate someone for their claims.
Also, people make the mistake of waiting to hire an attorney. Don’t delay in hiring an attorney to represent you. An attorney is there to represent your best interest. You also need to make sure to hire the right attorney. That attorney needs to have experience and largely devote their practice to personal injury law, as well as understand how a dog bite case works.
Also, the attorney should be a trial attorney. Insurance companies know who the trial attorneys are, and that makes them more likely to fairly compensate someone for their claims without going to trial. However, if you are in the minority of cases that do go to trial, that means you need an attorney who is experienced in the courtroom.
Will My Dog Bite Case Go to Trial?
Clients often want to know if their dog bite injury case will go to trial. There isn’t a clear answer for that. What I can tell you is that you will always be the decision-maker on whether or not to take any settlement. My role as an attorney is to give my advice on whether a number is fair or unfair. If you want to take an offer, you always get to make that decision. I can also assure you that if we do go to trial, you’ll be thoroughly prepared and there is nothing to be worried about. Going to trial is an opportunity for you to tell your story to a judge and jury of your peers.
If you’ve been injured from a dog bite in Austin, Texas, or anywhere else in Texas, please don’t hesitate to contact our office and we’ll answer any questions you have.
Call Our Office Today
If you or your child has been attacked by a dog, please do not hesitate to get in contact with experienced Austin dog bite lawyer Daniel Smith right away. You do not want your case to get thrown out because you waited too long to get it started. We are here to guide you through every step of the process and make sure that you are being taken care of. Please call our office today for a free consultation.