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Settling a Dog Bite Claim Without a Lawyer

My daughter was attacked by our neighbor’s dog. He said he’ll pay the medical bills. Would hiring an attorney get her any more money?

- TBM, California

Answer:

I recommend that you consult with a personal injury lawyer before you attempt to settle your daughter's claim on your own. All personal injury lawyers provide free consultations, do there is no down side to doing so. After speaking with an attorney, you can decide if it makes sense to hire one or not.

Will you get more money if you hire an attorney? After speaking with you about your daughter's dog bite claim, we will be straight with you about whether we believe we will add value to her claim. Obviously, it makes no sense to bring our firm on board if your daughter will not end up with more money in her pocket.

Here's what I will want to know in order to advise you:

  • What do the medical bills total?
  • Does she need more medical treatment?
  • What do the dog bite wounds look like now?
  • Is it appropriate to get a plastic surgery consultation?
  • How is your daughter doing psychologically? Would she benefit from counseling?
  • Do you know if the dog's owner has homeowner's or renter's insurance?
  • Did any other immediate family members witness the dog attack? If yes, they may have a claim for mental distress.

It would be helpful if you can email photos of the original dog bite wounds, and what they look like now. Then I can give you my thoughts on the claim, and you can decide if it makes sense for you to hire a lawyer.



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