People may be hesitant to sue a neighbor or a family member because of close relationships and the fear that homeowner’s insurance rates will rise. But failing to bring a claim means the innocent injured person goes uncompensated and an insurance company in enriched in not paying on a claim it should be responsible for. Photographs should be taken as soon after the bite as possible and while any wounds are healing. The decision whether to sue can be made at a later time. Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters pay more to settle cases with graphic pictures because they know juries are likely to give more money at trial when they see just how bad the bite was.
The dog bite case may be settled without the filing of a lawsuit through pursuit negotiations. This generally only happens when the damage inflicted by the dog bite is relatively minor. When a lawsuit is filed, the case generally takes about a year to resolve.
A dog’s owner or keeper is responsible when the dog bites someone. Michigan recognizes only two defenses to the dog’s bite – trespass or provocation. A person who enters onto the property of another without consent and then is bitten does not have a case. A person who provokes a dog into an attack assumes the risk of the dog biting them. Provocation can be unintentional, such as when a person steps on a dog’s tail. Our lawyers have deflected these two dog bite defenses to get our clients money compensation for their injuries. Oftentimes, there is no defense claimed to the biting dog’s attack. When there is no defense raised the dog bite case is about damages only.
Dog bites are the number one claim made against homeowner’s insurance. The value of the case is determined by several factors. People understand that the worse an injury the more money it takes to compensate the injured person. Larger scars have more value than small ones. Scars on the face or other very visible areas have more value than those normally hidden by clothing. Scars on the young and on women tend to have more value than scars on the elderly or on men. Each claim is individualized. The amount that your claim resolves for depends upon a combination of the above factors. When the parties cannot agree on what the scarring in a particular case is worth, then the case will not settle and the case will proceed to trial. In order to maximize the value of your case for settlement you should have an attorney who knows the value of your claim.
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