Dog bites can happen at literally any time or any place. When they do, you need the services of an experienced dog bite lawyer who knows your rights. Whether you are bitten by a dog that belongs to someone you know or by a stray, you need to understand the potential outcomes and the process for getting compensation to cover your financial consequences. The choice in legal representation is one of the most important decisions you will make. It shouldn’t be taken lightly or an attorney chosen randomly. Instead, learn what it takes to make one attorney preferable over the rest.
Experience: The Most Important Factor When Choosing a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in San Diego
When people are sick, they don’t go looking for the youngest, most inexperienced doctor to take care of them. Unfortunately, the same isn’t always true when they are choosing legal representation after they have been bitten. In many ways, navigating the legal system is a lot like performing intricate surgery. It requires an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and a lot of practice to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.
Laws differ from state-to-state and they make a difference in how you address every step of the legal process. An attorney who has practiced in the area for a long time knows the local court system, the laws that apply to their area of specialty, and the best approach for getting the desired result.
Never dismiss your case as one that doesn’t require a lot of expertise. A dog bite is no simple matter and can lead to extensive treatments and additional issues. Even a minor wound can end up getting infected which can result in damage to the muscles and nerves. The steps you take to report the details of the attack and to pursue your claim will make a difference in how successful you and your attorney will be at getting fair compensation.
Choose an Attorney with a Specialty in the Right Area
There is a lot to learn when you choose law as your profession. It takes a lot of time and dedication to gain a legal education and pass the bar. All this effort is what it takes just to earn the title of attorney. It would be virtually impossible for every attorney who reached this milestone to learn everything there is to know about every possible area of the law. That’s why attorneys specialize in certain areas of law. By focusing on a single area of law, they can become experts capable of helping clients whose legal issues fall within their area of specialty.
Choosing an attorney with personal injury as their specialty will provide you with a valuable resource for every step of the legal process. An experienced dog bite injury lawyer in San Diego will know if you have a good case for a claim, what kind of compensation you are entitled to, and the records you need to keep in order to prove your case. They also know how to negotiate the best settlement possible from the insurance company or give you the best representation if your case goes to court.
- California dog bite laws are complex.
- No one who has been bitten or who has a child that has a dog bite should try to handle their claim on their own.
- The outcome is too important to put in the hands of a lawyer who doesn’t understand this area of specialty.
This is especially true when the victim of a dog bite is a child. Statistics show that victims are often children and that number is growing. Because of their small size, the damage is also more severe. A child is more likely to suffer from severe damage that requires plastic surgery. When it does, you want to have the financial resources to provide them with the surgery they need to restore their body or face.
A Proven Record of Success
There is no other way to guarantee the effectiveness of any attorney than by their record of success. Review their past case settlements in terms of settlements reached and compensation recovered. An attorney who has accomplished an impressive portfolio of wins is more likely to give your case the attention to detail that it deserves. Cases aren’t won by ignoring what needs to be done. They are won by knowing the right action to take and taking it.
The attorney’s website is a good place to start. You can find a lot of information about any attorney’s education, their past experience, and the number or percentage of cases they have negotiated successfully. Also, take note of any awards or accolades they have received. You want an attorney who is willing to go above and beyond what is required to get the job done.
A Good Community Relationship
One area of interest that many potential clients overlook is the connection an attorney has with their community. The most qualified attorney will have strong ties to the community and will work with its residents to make a difference in the quality of their lives.
Positive Online Reviews
Next, venture off the law firm’s website and research local review sites and look for the testimonials of others who have used the attorney to represent them. This is a great way to find out lots of details about how the law firm handles different situations. Do they stay in contact with the client and keep them informed about updates regarding their case? Are they accessible when the client needs to reach them? Are they forthcoming with their payment requirements? Previous clients are often forthcoming with this type of information whether they are happy with the services or not.
Ask for Referrals but Realize the Choice is Personal
Word of mouth has long been the standard for getting referrals for any type of professional. High praise from a friend or relative can cause you to have high expectations when you hire the same dog bite injury lawyer in San Diego that comes so highly recommended. The problem is that the attorney you use is a highly personal choice. The same factors that someone else was so happy with may not be a good fit for you. Each case is also unique and may require a more customized approach.
Make an Appointment for a Consultation
A free initial consultation is your opportunity to learn who a lawyer really is and find out if they are a good fit for you. Take a list of questions and concerns to your appointment. Take note of the answers and whether the attorney also provides explanations about why they want to handle your case in a specific way.
On TV, lawyers take care of their client’s cases while they sit at home or in jail waiting for a top defense. In the real world, a client works with their lawyer to make the best decisions about the details of their case. Ask the attorney what responsibilities the firm will assume in your case and what other professionals will be called in. There may also be other attorneys in the firm who will work on your case. You should know who the team will be, what their qualifications are, and what you can expect to pay for their services.
The attorney should be interested in the details of your case. They will need to know who the dog’s owner is, how the bite occurred, and the extent of your injuries and medical treatment. The last thing you want in an attorney is a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t include the details that set your case apart.
Additional information that the attorney will need to obtain includes whether the dog owner is insured and whether the dog is up-to-date on vaccines and has been placed in quarantine. This information is vital to your health and to the success of your claim.
The Biggest Obstacle to Finding the Right Dog Bite Injury Attorney
Bites by stray dogs do happen, but not as frequently as being bitten by a dog that the victim knows. Many people are embarrassed to take any type of legal action when the dog owner is someone they are friends with or even a family member. They may decide to just take a “wait and see” approach and hope that their injuries are minimal.
There are many ways that this approach can cause even more problems for the person who has been bitten. They may realize later on that the bite has done more damage than first realized or it may become infected. Sometimes repeated surgeries may be required. If the proper action isn’t taken from the start, the two-year statute of limitations for filing a claim may pass. Once the window of opportunity has passed, they will no longer have the right to file a claim for compensation.
Don’t let your relationship with the dog owner prevent you from finding the right dog bite injury lawyer in San Diego as soon as the incident occurs. Most payments are made from home insurance policies that were designed for these types of incidents. You should never put your health at risk because of an accident that was due to someone else’s pet.
Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and find out your options for compensation.