If you have suffered a dog bite injury, you can either negotiate the settlement on your own or let a lawyer handle the case on your behalf. Below are some of the factors that call for the involvement of a lawyer over DIY negotiations.
Dog bite injuries can range from relatively minor skin injuries to serious health complications. Potential complications include infections (such as rabies), nerve damage, and eye injuries, among others. Whereas you may be able to negotiate compensation for puncture wounds on your own, you need the expertise of a lawyer for the more serious injuries.
The more serious your injuries are, the higher your damages, and the more you have to risk. A dog bite lawyer will see to it that the defendant covers all your damages.
An out-of-court settlement after any type of injury requires cooperation from the defendant. You need to know whether the defendant's dog was vaccinated or not. You need to know whether the defendant is willing to compensate for your damages or not. This is particularly true if the defendant is uninsured (if they don't have homeowner's insurance). The minute that you suspect any lack of cooperation is the minute that you need a lawyer, even if your injuries are not life-threatening.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court. However, you have the right to file a lawsuit if you can't reach a settlement with the defendant. Even if you were handling the negotiations without a lawyer, you should get one if you decide to file a lawsuit. Things get complicated when issues head to court, and you need the skills and experience of a lawyer to get what you deserve.
Defendant's Legal Representation
If the defendant doesn't have legal representation, then you can negotiate with them on your own because you will be on equal footing. However, if the defendant has retained a lawyer, it's best to get a lawyer to handle the negotiations on your behalf. You will be staring out from a disadvantaged position if you don't have a legal background and you try to negotiate with a skilled negotiator.
Lastly, you also need a lawyer if the liability for the dog bite is not clear-cut. Say the dog was not under the care of their owner at the time of the attack or the attack occurred in a public place, such as a shopping mall. In such cases, different parties may be liable for the attack, but all of them may deflect the blame to the other parties. Thus, it's best to retain a lawyer to help you unravel the liability issues.
For more information, contact a law firm like Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.