Will My Dog Bite Case Go to Small Claims Court?
By Chris Dixon
The majority of dog bite cases are settled outside of court by negotiations, but in some situations, it can be a good idea to forego accepting a settlement, file a suit against the dog’s owner, and take your dog bite case to small claims court. Taking your dog bite case to court shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it can be expensive and take longer to recover compensation for your injuries than settling, but with an experienced lawyer and a strong claim, you might be able to recover more compensation for your harm and losses by going to court.
Should I Take My Dog Bite Case to Small Claims Court or Accept a Settlement?
If you are injured in a dog bite accident, the last thing you’ll likely feel like doing is taking your case to court, but in some situations, it’s unavoidable. For example, if another person’s dog bites you, and the accident occurred without provocation or trespassing, in most states you are eligible to file a claim against the dog’s owner to recover damages from the incident. Settling a dog bite claim is typically done outside of court, and involves negotiations between the negligent dog owner’s insurance company and the victim’s lawyer. The other party’s insurance company and your lawyer will negotiate back and forth until either a) an acceptable settlement is reached, or b) you decide to sue the other party and take your dog bite case to small claims court.
It’s essential to consult a Dog Bite Lawyer about your case not only to protect you from the other party’s insurance company but to determine if taking your case to small claims court or accepting a settlement is a better option. While some dog bite cases are able to recover more compensation by accepting a settlement, if your lawyer thinks it’s a good idea to take your case to small claims court instead of accepting the settlement that the other party is willing to offer, you might be able to obtain full compensation for your injuries and financial damages.
Taking a dog bite case to court includes filing a lawsuit against the dog’s negligent owner, submitting evidence of the owner’s negligence and proof of injuries caused by the dog, and having your lawyer argue on your case’s behalf in court to sway the judge and jury into awarding you full compensation for your harm and losses. Again, it’s essential to keep in mind that it isn’t always a good decision to take your dog bite case to small claims court, but with an experienced lawyer’s support and a valid claim, it can sometimes be the best option available to your case.
What Should I Do Before Taking My Dog Bite Case to Small Claims Court?
If you decide to take your dog bite case to small claims court, certain elements should be present in your case before filing a lawsuit, including:
- Proof of your injuries – photos, videos, a medical report, or other documentation of your injuries
- Proof that the other party is at fault – if there were witnesses to the accident, a witness account can be compelling evidence when defending your case in court
- A police report of the incident – not only does filing a police report prevent other people from being harmed by the animal, but it preserves details from the accident and prevents details of the accident from being altered or lost
- A report made to your local Animal Control – if the animal has harmed someone else in the past, animal control will have documentation of this, which can be used to support your lawsuit. In addition to records of attacks, animal control will also have records of the dog’s health and vaccination records which can be used to prove the owner’s negligence in some cases
After making sure that the above elements are present in your dog bite case, your lawyer can help you revise your demand letter and claim, file a lawsuit against the dog’s negligent owner to take your case to small claims court, and defend your claim in court against the other party.
Speak with a Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Winning a dog bite case in small claims court requires adequate knowledge of your state’s dog bite laws and powerful negotiation tactics; both of which an experienced lawyer possesses.
Christopher Dixon has earned the status of “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association and recognition as a Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. When you choose the St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm to represent your case, you can be confident that our lawyers are committed to doing whatever it takes to recover the most compensation for your case. To date, the Dixon Injury Firm has recovered more than $35,000,000 in settlements for injury victims, both in and outside of court.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a dog bite accident, and needs a lawyer, call (314) 409-7060, 855-40-2724, or contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our Dog Bite Lawyers in St. Louis, and explore the options available to your dog bite case.