There are nine mistakes dog bite victims should avoid. A person who is the victim of a dog bite attack has a legal right to recover compensation as long as liability imposed against the owner or person responsible for the dog. In order to maximize the victim’s recovery, there are certain mistakes to avoid so you have the greatest chance that the insurance company will pay out the maximum amount of dollars to settle the claim. Here are the mistakes to avoid:
1. Failing to seek medical treatment promptly. If the injury is serious enough to warrant medical attention, then you need to promptly consult with a doctor, or go to your local emergency room.
2. Failing to notify the proper authorities. If you have been bitten, the proper authorities should be immediately notified. This may include the police or the local animal control agency.
3. Failing to take multiple photographs of your injuries and wounds. This is extremely important. Often time the value of a dog bite injury, along with the appearance of subsequent disfigurement and scarring that develops over time. You should take multiple photographs over the period of time that it takes the injury or wound to heal.
4. Giving a recorder statement to the insurance company. If the dog owner has insurance, the carrier will almost always ask you for a recorded statement. Don’t do it!
5. Signing insurance company forms and medical authorizations. For the same reasons you should not give a recorded statement to the insurance company, you should not sign any forms or medical authorizations that is requests. Again, these forms are used to protect the carrier’s interest.
6. Failing to document everything. You should write a statement about the incident while everything is fresh in your mind. Your claim may take months, or even years, to resolver. Writing things down will help you to record and recall important facts that may be useful later on.
7. Settling your claim too soon, or appearing too eager to settle your claim soon. If the injuries are severe, it may take many months or years before your injuries heal or before they reach maximum improvement.
8. Not being absolutely honest with your doctors and the authorities. The credibility of the dog bite victim is extremely important. Oftentimes an incident or claim can only be proven based on what the victim says and what the dog owners say.
9. Failing to hire a lawyer if the injuries appear to be serious, disfiguring or permanent. If your injuries are serious or permanent, then it is usually in your best interest to hire a lawyer to help you resolve the claim.
To better understand why these are mistakes to avoid, or to learn more information about dog bites in Washington State, click here to order a free copy of “When the Dog Bites: The Essential Guide to Dog Bite Claims in Washington.”
Chris Davis at Davis Law Group is a Seattle dog bite attorney and the author of this book. He has nearly 20 years of experience and wants to help if you have been the victim in a dog bite attack. Call for a free consultation, (206) 727-400.