Question: “if I Get a Lawyer, Won’t This Ruin Everything — Take a Long Time, Be Expensive, Hurt My Relationships, and Make Them Put the Dog Down?”

No, because you will probably just be making an insurance claim. 99 out of 100 of these cases are settled out of court just as soon as the doctors are ready to make a solid “prognosis.” That is usually about one year from the date of the accident. So this is not going to be like what you see in movies and on TV.

Some fear that getting an attorney will make people angry and lead to bad relationships with friends, neighbors and family members. That also is not true; an experienced lawyer knows how to press a dog bite claim without even making accusations in most cases, without taking money out of anyone’s pocket, and without destroying relationships.

Dog lovers sometimes fear that their attorney will have the attacking dog put down. That is not true; you are entitled to tell the lawyer to take no such action, and he or she is required to obey your wish.

parents kidsAnother fear is that the legal fees will make the victim’s net settlement a lot smaller. That also is not true. A person who tries to act like a lawyer will end up leaving 80-90% of the settlement “on the table.” This will “cost” the victim that 80-90%. A “real” lawyer will cost only 25-33% of the settlement. So getting a lawyer is actually cheaper than trying to do it yourself.

Finally, people fear having to pay legal costs out of their own pockets. That doesn’t ever happen. Lawyers who represent dog bite victims do not charge the victims anything up front. When the case is over, the lawyer is paid out of the settlement or judgment.

Want to read a letter from a father who made a dog bite claim for his son? He addresses all of these issues from the standpoint of a concerned parent. If so, click here.