Even though dogs are loyal companions for many families, that friendly image can be flipped instantly if a dog decides to bite. An estimated 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year, with 20% of those incidents causing injuries severe enough to warrant medical attention. Not to mention the need for legal assistance as well, something our Des Moines dog bite lawyer has specialized in for over 50 years.
Regardless of the breed, if you’ve been bitten by a dog, you know it can be a traumatizing experience. If you have any injuries at all, you should contact a lawyer as quickly as possible.
Why You Need an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney on Your Side
You can try to file a claim on the dog owner’s insurance yourself, but you’re at a disadvantage if you do. Insurance companies realize most people aren’t very familiar with the law, so they try to cover as little as possible. They might even make you feel like the attack was partially your fault, opening the door to cover even less—or nothing at all.
That’s why you need experience on your side. And not just any attorney, one that has dealt explicitly with dog bite cases before. In Iowa, there are a series of things that must be proven for a judge to award damages to someone bitten by a dog.
What a Dog Bite Attorney Must Prove in Des Moines
- The dog in question was the dog that bit you
- You suffered injuries as a result of the bite
- You were not doing anything illegal at the time of the bite
- The owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous nature
- The owner failed to take action to prevent the dog bite
An attorney who is familiar with this field can help prove those elements in several ways—investigating the dog’s past to find any prior signs of being aggressive, investigating the owner to find signs of negligence, talking to witnesses, working with experts in the field of animals, and making sure everything is well-documented.
Iowa Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites
Like most states, Iowa has specific statute of limitations related to dog bites. Under state law, someone has two years from the date of a dog bite to pursue legal action. If you wait more than two years to file your case, the court will likely refuse to hear it.
Of course, you don’t want to wait two years to start the legal process. The longer you wait, the worse your recollection of events will be, and other pieces of evidence won’t be as strong as they could be. Consulting an attorney early in the process not only helps make sure you meet deadlines, it helps you have a stronger case and even brings your case to a final resolution more quickly.
What Compensation Are Dog Bite Victims Entitled to
If you’ve suffered a dog bite, you’re probably aware insurance can help cover your medical bills. But if you have an experienced dog bite attorney fighting for you, you’ll learn you could be entitled to compensation for other results of the attack. It’s not about seeking money just for the sake of it, but about getting what the law says you deserve. Here are some of the damages a dog bite injury victim can recoup:
- Emotional stress and trauma because of the attack
- Permanent disability from the attack
- Lost wages from work as you’re home recovering
- Replacement of personal property damaged in the attack
How to Find the Best Dog Bite Lawyer in Des Moines
If you’ve suffered a dog bite in Des Moines, you may know that you can potentially receive compensation to cover your damages, and you may know that you want help from a lawyer. But how do you find the right one?
You don’t want to hire just any lawyer. You want one that deals specifically with dog bites. An experienced Des Moines dog bite lawyer may help you build a strong case and recover the compensation you deserve.
Any lawyer can find Iowa dog bite laws and argue your case, but an experienced dog attack lawyer knows what has to be proven, is prepared to fight the common defenses from dog owners, understands how to evaluate your injuries (both physical and mental), and probably has a network of expert witnesses to call on.
If you’re trying to find a recommendation, you may start by asking family or friends. But unless you know someone that has been bitten by a dog, you’ll probably just get a list of general personal injury lawyers.
If you search online for a dog bite lawyer, you’ll find dozens of firms competing for your business. How do you cut through the noise? It can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never dealt with a lawyer before. Fortunately, you can find the right attorney for you with a little research.
- Look up reviews and testimonials to see what clients have to say about the level of representation they received.
- Research awards to see how their peers and professional governing bodies view their work.
- Let the facts speak for themselves by reading the case results of real clients they have helped.
Now that you’ve narrowed your list, it’s time to talk to the lawyer. Many law firms will let you schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. During this meeting, ask questions. The answers to those questions will help you find a Des Moines dog bite injury lawyer.
Questions to Ask During Your Free Consult With Our Des Moines Dog Bite Lawyer
- Do you only charge a fee if the case is successful?
- What kinds of cases do you handle on a daily basis?
- How long has your firm been handling dog bite cases?
- Are you a member of any legal organizations that specialize in representing injured people?
What Percent Does a Lawyer Make From a Dog Bite Lawsuit
When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a dog bite case, it’s essential that you understand how that lawyer will be paid. In most cases, attorneys offer contingency fee agreements. That means that you won’t owe your lawyer any hourly fees. Instead, your lawyer will be paid a certain percentage of your compensation. The exact percentage may vary from case to case, but it will be discussed up-front and agreed upon before you hire a lawyer.
How Contingency Fees Are Determined
- The number of hours the lawyer thinks they may work on the case
- The likelihood of success in the case
- The amount of potential compensation
The advantage of a contingency fee is that it allows you to seek compensation without financial risk. If your case isn’t successful, you don’t have to pay any legal fees. It also means lawyers will only take on your case if they think it’s solid and you have a good chance of winning.
Don’t let the potential of these fees scare you away from using a lawyer, though. Dog bite victims who have experienced legal representation usually have a higher chance of winning their case and getting a more significant financial recovery than they would have on their own. Even after the attorney takes their fee, a client who uses professional representation almost always comes out ahead.
Of course, you shouldn’t just choose any personal injury lawyer you see in an ad. Some firms focus only on quick resolutions and settling cases rather than going to trial to protect their clients’ rights.
Insurance companies know our name, and they know that we mean business, meaning they’re much more likely to offer a fair settlement from the start – before things even go to trial. If the insurer is unwilling to provide a fair settlement, then our Des Moines dog bite lawyer will be ready to go to trial.
Our Des Moines Dog Bite Lawyer Has the Case Experience You Need
At Hupy and Abraham, our team has more than 200 years of combined experience fighting for our clients. We’re committed to going above and beyond for you, and we’re not satisfied until we see your case through to a final resolution.
If you’ve suffered a dog attack and are unsure what your next move should be, call us today. Our dog bite lawyers have experience in cases just like yours, and they’re ready to represent you. Give us a call at 1-800-800-5678 or use our online contact form to have one of our attorneys evaluate your case.