Common Mistakes of Dog Bite Cases

With United States homes being home to more than 68 million canines, there's no debating that the dog is man's best friend. But, as friendly and domesticated as most family dogs are, the truth is they are animals and as such, they can become aggressive in the right circumstances.

In severe cases, dogs will bite. And, if a dog bites someone, the liable dog owner can expect to be sued for damages. In fact, more than 4.7 million dog bite cases occur in the U.S. every year and the expense of these cases has increased dramatically over the last decade. But, as prevalent as this problem is, far too many people make mistakes when filing lawsuits for dog bite cases.

If you are filing a lawsuit because you were bitten by a dog, here are the most common mistakes you and your personal injury attorney in Supply NC should avoid.

#1: Failing to Have the Dog Evaluated by a Professional

When a dog is docile, it can be very hard to convince a jury that the pet has a mean streak, especially when you can guarantee that there will be a lot of pet owners in the jury. For this reason, it is important to have the dog evaluated by a professional.

If the dog becomes aggressive during the evaluation, then the jury will see the dog's ability to turn from a docile pet to a dangerous animal. In many cases, the adjuster will be able to experience the fearful moment the plaintiff experienced and thus back up the evidence enough to warrant an early settlement.

#2: The Scene of the Attack Isn't Examined

The site of the attack needs to be professionally inspected as well as the dog's home, if it lives or spends any time indoors. A professional examiner should look for signs of the dog's aggression, such as chewed door or window frames, scratches on the walls or doors, the quality of the dog's bedding, and toys made available for the dog. He or she should also check the dog's food and water bowls to see how the owner cares for their pet.

The examiner should also inspect the defendant's leashes, collars, chains, fence, kennel, and any other item that is used to help contain the dog.

#3: Using an Interviewer Inexperienced in Dog Bite Cases

Dog bite cases are unique. Therefore, you need to use an interviewer with experience in these types of cases. If the interviewer is not familiar with aggressive dog cases, then there is the chance that he or she will miss vital information that can help strengthen your case.

#4: Missing Certain Discovery Documents Specific to a Dog Bite Case

A dog bite case requires more discovery documents than a standard personal injury case and as a result, some documents frequently get forgotten or missed and this can have a negative effect on your case. Some of the documents needed include:

  • Veterinarian records
  • Animal control records
  • Police reports
  • Paramedic records
  • American Kennel Club (AKC) registration certificates
  • Breeding documents (if applicable)
  • Training school diplomas

#5: Not Receiving All of the Veterinarian's Records

Most vet records are transferred to the computer from the vet's hand-written notes. In many cases, the vet will write something on the paper that doesn't get recorded. For instance, if the vet writes “tried to bite” or “reactive,” then this is a sign that the dog has aggressive tendencies. These notes usually aren't copied into the digital version of the records, so it is important to have access to all of the vet's records, including any hand-written notes.

#6: Failing to Thoroughly Document the Wounds

If the dog bite resulted in physical wounds, then those wounds are direct physical evidence that the attack occurred. The wounds need to be thoroughly examined, photographed, and documented. This is crucial because during the time between filing the case and actually showing up in court, the physical wounds will most likely heal and, if you don't have the hard evidence to back up your injuries, the jury will have to take your word on it and this could jeopardize your case.

#7: Choosing Not to Consult with an Expert

If your attorney wants to have a conference call with an expert on dog bite cases, agree to it, even though it will cost you. Even the most experienced personal injury attorney in Supply NC can benefit from speaking with a court-qualified expert. In many cases, the expert will be able to provide valuable assistance on the initial responses and/or point out potential weaknesses in the defense's case that can help you improve your standing in the court.

#8: Choosing the Wrong Expert

As valuable as experts can be to your case, choosing the wrong one can ruin your case. The biggest problem with experts is that there aren't a lot of them and in most cases, the best one lives out of state. This can result in choosing another, closer expert for convenience's sake. Never take the convenient road. Do what you have to in order to secure the very best experts for your case.

If You Were Bitten By an Aggressive Dog, Call Bain & Rodzik Today

Dog bites can be extremely traumatic events that can leave the victim in severe pain and in some cases, even permanently disfigured. If you are the victim of a recent dog bite, get the representation you need. Call Bain & Rodzik's personal injury attorney in Supply NC can help. Our experienced investigators and legal staff can make the difference in your case.

Call Bain & Rodzik today at 910-762-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation. We're here to help, so call now! With Bain & Rodzik, you don't pay us unless we win your case.