Financial loss, along with other damages, can and should be sought if you’ve been hurt by a dog. A claim can either be settled outside of a trial or decided in a trial.
Benefits to an Out-of-Court Settlement
Many people prefer to settle their claim outside of a trial. The benefits of doing so include:
- A faster resolution. Settling outside of a trial will allow the victim to put the incident in the past and have closure a lot sooner than if it went to trial.
- A faster financial recovery. Because the case will be over more quickly, the money owed to the victim will be paid sooner than if it went to trial.
- Greater control over the outcome. Settling the claim outside of trial will allow the victim to have greater certainty of the amount to be recovered—and will avoid the risks of a jury trial.
But settling a case is not as easy as asking an insurance company for money.
Fair Settlements Require Skilled Negotiation
Typically, official settlement negotiations begin when the injured party sends a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter should explain why the insurance company needs to pay and how the value of the damages sought were determined. The insurance company will likely counter the demand letter and negotiations will proceed until an agreement can be reached.
Once you agree to a dog bite settlement with an insurance company, it is unlikely that you will ever recover additional damages for your injuries. The terms of the settlement will prevent you from seeking additional compensation. Accordingly, you need to be confident that the settlement you accept is a fair settlement for the injuries that you have suffered.
What Does “Fair” Include?
A fair settlement is one that compensates you for your injuries, taking into account:
- The compensation allowed by law. You may recover for your medical expenses, lost income, and other past, current, and reasonably anticipated future expenses that you incurred as a result of the dog bite.
- The quality of the evidence available and the likelihood of your success at trial. You will have to prove not only that you were bitten but also the extent of your injuries in order to be able to recover damages.
- Other things, such as any savings you may incur from not having to go to trial, your willingness to pursue a recovery, and the insurance company’s willingness to settle out of court should also be considered.
There Is No Formula to Calculate “Fairness”
The same injuries could fairly result in different financial recoveries for different dog bite victims. It is impossible to plug numbers into a formula to come up with a fair recovery. Instead, it is important to speak with an experienced dog bite attorney who has settled cases before and who knows how to successfully negotiate with insurance companies. To schedule your own free, no-obligation consultation with such a lawyer, or for more information about how a dog bite case works, please start a live chat with us today.