If you’ve been bitten by a dog, chances are good that you’ll be able to recover medical expenses and other compensation. Arizona has a strict liability approach to dog bites, which means it doesn’t matter if the owner had no prior indication that the dog might bite. The owner is still responsible as long as you weren’t trespassing or provoking the dog. Here is everything you need to know about getting started with a dog bite attorney to pursue compensation.
Before you even go to see an attorney, it’s important to gather the evidence you already have available to you. Get together any and all proof you have of doctor’s visits and medical expenses as a result of the bite, and also make a record of any other compensation you feel you are entitled to, such as lost wages for missed work. Also gather any photographs or video you have of the bite, the dog, the property where it occurred, or the incident.
Think of consultations as a chance to interview potential attorneys for your case. You’re not just getting a review of your case; you’re looking for an experience dog bite attorney whom you can trust to give advice, make decisions, and manage the details of your case. Ask the attorney about their experience with dog bite lawsuits, and pay attention when they talk about your case. It’s best to meet with several attorneys and compare notes afterward. Don’t just go with the lawyer who promises you the most money. Look for one with whom you feel comfortable and who gives you a good vibe.
Build Your Case
Once you find a dog bite attorney, you’ll want to work closely with them to build your case. Even if the full extent of your injuries is not yet known, your lawyer will want to begin collecting as much evidence as possible to justify your settlement. Your lawyer may also talk to you about putting a monetary value on your pain and suffering, if prolonged treatment or the location of the bite (such as on your face) is causing a great deal of distress. You may also need to discuss how to defend against any claims that you may have been trespassing or provoking the dog, making the owner not responsible for the bite.
Don’t Waste Time
The most important commandment when going through the process of pursuing a dog bite lawsuit is not to waste time. Arizona’s personal injury laws allow up to two years to file a case against another party, but for a dog bite, you’ll need to file within a year in order to fall under Arizona’s “strict liability” clause. The strict liability clause means that the owner of the dog is held responsible, even if they didn’t know the dog might bite. If you wait beyond the first year, your case won’t be as strong, and you’ll have to sue under Arizona’s personal injury laws, which set a two-year deadline instead. You can learn more quick dos and don’ts here.
Find an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney
One of the most important factors in the success of your case is your attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you to recover damages, and not only the medical costs. A good lawyer will also consider the cost of missed work, pain and suffering, emotional damages, and even the potential for ongoing damages due to a severe bite. To find out more about what you might be entitled to, contact the Simon Law Group today to schedule a consultation.