Dog Bite Pre Settlement Funding
“Dogs are man’s best friend” is a time-tested statement that couldn’t be any more true.
Except sometimes they turn into a man’s worst enemy.
It is in many dog’s nature to be aggressive, especially when it is provoked, threatened, injured or experiences fear. The natural instinct is to defend, and in this case, attack perceived threats.
Thankfully, the United States has implemented dog bite laws that can protect Americans who have been bitten or have suffered injuries inflicted by canines. Many lawsuits that go to trial are settled in the small claims court. However, the majority of canine lawsuits are settled before they even reach trial.
Lawsuit Loans 101: Pre Settlement Funding Can Help
If you’ve been seriously injured, are currently involved in a drawn-out legal fight, have retained a contingent-fee attorney, have strong liability against a sufficiently insured defendant and you’re in a financial bind because it’s taking forever to settle your case but you could really use some of your future settlement money now, we can help you.
Plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits after being bitten or mauled can seek compensation from the animal’s owner for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Some owners have homeowner’s insurance and/or special rider policies that can cover their liabilities. Others who lack these insurance policies, however, would have to pay for compensation out of their own pocket.
There are three kinds of laws that can hold canine owners liable for the sustained injuries of a victim, such as strict liability, one bite law, and negligence laws. These three kinds of laws would vary depending on the state. Even though these laws can serve as a basis for their liability, plaintiffs would still have to prove that they, in no way or form, have provoked the animals that caused their injuries.
While many breeds are considered harmless, there are some specific breeds that time and experience has proven to be dangerous exceptionally vicious. Unfortunately, entire breeds that fall under this classification can sometimes receive prejudicial perceptions from other people. Dog bites account for millions of injuries each year – with a large percentage of them happening to children.
The Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
Statistically speaking, the most dangerous breeds include the Pit Bull Terrier Family (American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, English/Standard Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Olde English Bulldogge, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier), Mastiffs (Bullmastiff, Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff, Dogo Argentino, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro, Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff, Great Dane/German Mastiff, Presa Canario, and St. Bernard/Alpine Mastiff), Rottweiler, Akita, Boxer, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Shar Pei, Siberian Husky and Wolf Hybrid.
Dog Bite Lawsuits
Like any other lawsuit, evidence is necessary to further support and prove the plaintiff’s claims to be true. Evidence such as video of the attack, photographs of injuries, witness statements, copies of medical bills, records and documents are standard proof. Depositions are also normally taken from victims and witnesses to aid the plaintiff’s case.
As long as the animal’s owner can be proven to have been negligent and that negligence facilitated the attack on a person, then that person has grounds for filing a lawsuit. An example would be non-compliance with leash laws, which consequently resulted in the animal running away and biting someone.
The litigation process has several stages. Before filing, the plaintiff’s attorney would likely send a demand letter to the canine’s owner or owner’s attorney to put them on notice about the victim’s plan to sue and would include other pertinent details regarding the case, including a settlement amount that the owner could opt to pay to avoid going through a court trial.
What About Dog Bite Laws?
Generally, dog owners are held liable for any injuries their animal caused if the owner knew that the dog had a tendency to cause such an injury. Also a state law or jurisdiction would make the owner liable, regardless of their knowledge of the dog’s tendency to cause such injuries, or especially if the owner was unreasonably careless or negligent and that the negligence was the cause for the victim’s injuries.
In most cases, the owners are responsible for taking care of the medical bills and expenses of the victim. Owners have a legal responsibility to prevent their pets from causing harm or damage to people and property. So once the dog does cause damage to someone or something, the owner automatically becomes responsible for the costs. In terms of cases in which plaintiffs seek compensation for damages against the owner, plaintiffs are able to gain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are three kinds of laws that impose liability on owners:
Liability on the part of the dog owner varies depending on the state. Each state has various laws with regard to dog bites.
Some states, including California, implement strict liability as a basis for establishing fault. Under this law, practically any injury that a dog may cause places fault on the animal’s owner, with the exception of trespassing or provocation of the dog, in which case the dog’s owner cannot be held liable for the incident.
The dog bite statute covers all kinds of injuries inflicted by dogs. Under this statute, the dog owner automatically becomes liable. The one bite rule only applies to Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Under one bite laws, the dog’s owner cannot be held at fault for the first-ever attack on a person, but thereafter, all incidents are automatically considered to be the owner’s fault.
Negligence laws apply to canine owners when an injury occurs due to negligence or unreasonable carelessness of the owner, such as an inability to control the dog or the disregard of other laws – like leash law in some states – for example.
Canine Insurance Policies
Most homeowner’s insurance policies have liability clauses concerning dog bites and any other injuries inflicted by common household pets that occur on the animal owner’s property. However, these policies generally only cover the first incident.
Certain insurance companies, though, do not cover certain dog breeds – usually those considered vicious or dangerous and listed above – such as Pit Bulls or Rottweilers as they are known to “flip.” While homeowner’s insurance policies cover liability that averages between $100,000 and $300,000, some policies reduce this amount for accidents or attacks that happen away from the homeowner’s property.
Something that may be surprising to most people is that car insurance can also cover anima inflicted injuries. But this is only applicable to cases wherein the injury occurred within the confines of the car.
A pet owner can also opt to get animal insurance. As mentioned, other insurance policies only cover the liabilities of the first incident. In cases such as dog owners who have animal insurance, this policy can cover liabilities that occur even after the initial incident.
Plaintiffs actually have a higher chance of recovering for damages when the dog owner has either of the three insurance policies, depending on where the accident happened, since the owner doesn’t really have to pay for the damages.
Studies, Statistics and Reports
More than 4.7 million individuals get bitten each year in the United States, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The same institution also reported that more than 1,000 people each day visit emergency rooms for medical attention pertaining to canine bites. Basically, every seven seconds, a person gets bitten. Practically 800,000 or 17 percent of those 4.7 million who have been bitten require medical attention of some sort with about 44,000 involving serious facial injuries.
Also, of the victims that need emergency medical attention, the majority of occurrences happen to children, with more than 50 percent of those incidents having children who have been bitten in the face. It was also reported that the fifth most common cause of children’s emergency room visits are due to dog attacks.
Each year, an average of 2,851 letter carriers a bitten by dogs, according to the US Postal Service. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes have been responsible for 68 percent of attacks on children, 82 percent of attacks on adults, 65 percent of deaths, and 68 percent of injuries resulting in permanent damage.
Every year, American adults have a 1 in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog; for children that increases to 1 in 3.2 and there were 42 fatal attacks in 2014. This means that there is one fatality in 142,424 dog bites.
“In the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014, pit bulls killed 203 Americans and accounted for 62% of the total recorded deaths (326). Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 74% of these deaths.“
Of all dog attacks, 61 percent happen in the home. 77 percent of the animals in question either belong to the victim’s family, or a friend of one of the family members. More than 1.5 percent of the United States population, on average, gets bitten, attacked or mauled each year. The Insurance Information Institute reported that nearly 16,500 canine-related homeowner’s insurance claims were filed in 2012.