Dog Bite Lawsuits: Use Every Resource Available To You
When you’re involved in a dog bite, or any lawsuit, it’s important to use every resource that is available to you – including the representation of a qualified lawyer whose practice focuses on dog bites.
Overcoming insurance industry prejudices
One of the "unwritten rules" of the insurance industry is that insurance companies treat cases differently when an attorney is involved versus when policyholders represent themselves. Steve Recordon, a California attorney with nearly 30 years of experience whose practice represents individuals who have been injured by dog bites, explained:
Insurance companies absolutely handle cases differently when an attorney is involved. They’re used to dealing with people that try to represent themselves. We have a saying in the industry that ‘If you represent yourself, you have a fool for a client.’ You may say things that will end up coming back to hurt you. You may give a recorded statement to the insurance company and say the wrong things. You can actually say things that damage your case so severely that they’ll deny liability and not pay you anything.
Avoiding hourly fees
Recordon says that another benefit of having an attorney in these types of cases is that they work on a contingency fee basis. He explained, “What that means is you don’t have to pay them hourly. They wait until the case is resolved before they get paid and then take a percentage of the gross recovery. Resolving a case could be fairly quick, but it could take a substantial amount of time. During that time, you’re dealing with your lost wages and your medical bills. You probably don’t have the finances to pay an attorney hourly, so a contingency fee basis works well.”
Avoiding up front costs
Another thing that a dog bite attorney is going to do is advance all of the upfront costs. While those costs in dog bite cases aren’t generally as high as in other cases, it can easily add up to two, three or four thousand dollars – and that’s assuming that the case doesn’t go to trial. If it does, those costs could be substantially higher. Recordon says that, “What an experienced personal injury dog bite attorney is going to do is front those costs and wait until the case is over before he gets reimbursed for the money that he’s spent.”
Drawbacks of self-representation
There are many drawbacks of representing yourself in a dog bite case, as Recordon told us:
In many cases, the dog owner may not have insurance, so how is someone who’s been bitten by a dog going to get compensated for their injuries? Well, if they try to handle the case yourself, they’re probably not. An attorney is skilled in looking for assets, dealing with the individual dog owner, looking at the individual’s income, looking at the equity in a house, dealing with the financial side of someone who has no insurance and working out a proposal that ends up benefiting the dog bite victim a lot more than if he tried to represent himself.
If you’ve been injured due to a dog bite, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential. To speak with an experienced attorney, please click here.