Each dog bite case is different from the other. So it is not easy to determine how long does it take for a dog bite settlement? There are many factors that determine the time taken to settle a dog bite claim.
The time period may range from months to years depending on the factors involved. The timeframe involved depends on factors like whether you settle directly with the dog owner or with the insurance company. If your case goes to trial it will take much longer than settling outside the court.
If you want your case to settle quickly, then you will need the guidance of an experienced attorney who can represent you and fight for your claim in court or with the insurance company.
Factors affecting the time taken for a dog bite settlement are:
Dog bite victims who settle for compensation without filing a lawsuit get compensated faster as compared to a case going to court. A dog bite claim can be both challenging and time-consuming depending on the following factors:
- Period of medical care or hospitalization:
Some dog bite injuries are serious and take a long time to heal, they may leave a lasting impact physically and psychologically. Waiting until the medical treatment is over or until the doctor has given an accurate diagnosis helps to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.
If the insurance company is unaware of the full extent of medical care and costs they are likely to offer a lower settlement. Avoid settling for quick compensations while you are still recovering as the total cost may increase if you are still recuperating.
- Insurance coverage available
If the dog owner has sufficient insurance coverage available to pay for the damages and losses suffered, you may assume that you will receive your compensation easily. However, in reality, the insurance company knows that it is highly unlikely that a jury verdict would exceed paying more than the policy limit.
Thus, they are under no pressure to settle quickly. Whereas in cases where the victim has suffered serious injuries and the jury is likely to announce a verdict higher than the available coverage, the insurance companies try to offer prompt settlements to avoid the risk of paying more than the policy limit.
- Proof of Negligence
California is a strict liability state. If it is proved that the victim was bitten by the dog when they were lawfully present in a public or private place and that they had not provoked the animal, the dog owner would be held liable to pay for the losses suffered.
If there is evidence and it can be proved that the attack happened due to the owner’s negligence, the insurance company will settle soon as they know that they would lose the case in court.
- Involvement of the insurance company
Some insurance companies are known to pay lower compensations and fighting every case strongly. When dealing with such insurance companies, negotiating a fair settlement may take much longer. In most cases, the victims may have to approach the court to get fair compensation.
- Claim against the government or local authorities
In most instances, the local and state governments have immunity from legal claims. This can make it difficult for a dog bite victim to get compensation easily. Proving a case against the government or local authorities can be difficult due to official immunity. Claims involving a government body take time and will not settle quickly.
- Involvement of Mediclaim or Medicare
If part or all of your medical bills and hospitalization costs are paid by Medicare or under Mediclaim policy, you would have to reimburse those payments on receiving compensation. Most medical liens are negotiable, but having a medical lien can result in a delay in receiving the settlement.
How long it takes to receive the compensation in hand after the Dog bite settlement?
Once a settlement for a dog bite claim is reached, terms and conditions pertaining to how and when the payment will be done are mentioned in the agreement. Payment is either made in lump-sum that is usually paid within 30 days after settlement or it is made in monthly/ semi-monthly instalments
How long does it take to receive compensation post a trial?
Most dog bite cases are settled outside court by mutual agreement between the victim and dog owner or insurance company. Very few cases go to trial. The trial process is very expensive and can take a long time to conclude.
Once the verdict is announced the losing party has 30 days to appeal which usually leads to a delay in payment of compensation.
Insurance companies mostly pay in a short period after the final verdict is announced. If the compensation is not received in time, then the victim can pursue collection on the judgment.
How an experienced Attorney can help speed up the settlement and compensation process?
Insurance companies are known to deny a claim or delay the settlements or pay as little as possible on claims when the victims are not represented by an experienced attorney. Attorneys are familiar with these practices and know-how to handle them so that their client receives fast and fair compensation.
Collecting the right evidence and presenting it to the insurance company is very important to secure a reasonable settlement. This can be difficult for the victim who has been injured or for their family, an experienced attorney can collect the evidence and represent the victim while dealing with the insurance company.
If you’ve been injured in a dog bites attack, call us at Khashan Law firm at 951.461.2387 to set up a free consultation so that our team of personal injury lawyers can review your case. Our team of qualified dog bite lawyers will ensure you get a larger settlement that is fair and you are fully compensated for your suffering.