Dog bites are a unique type of personal injury because the animal cannot defend itself in court. The civil claim is with the owner and they usually have little in the way of defense. The case process for Manchester dog bites is not complicated but it is wise to have a competent dog bite attorney on your side to ensure that you file your case on time so as to not be precluded from recovering compensation. Speak to a diligent dog bite attorney to discuss the nuances of filing a claim.
Filing a Claim
There is a statute of limitations to file a dog bite claim. A claim must be filed within two years from the date of the accident, with some exceptions. However, once the deadline has passed, the injured person will be unable to recover damages.
In filing a claim, the injured person must be able to prove who the dog owner or keeper is, as well as show that they suffered injuries. If there are several parties who could be held liable then all of them can be named on the suit. Once a claim is filed, the injured person and the dog owner must exchange any related medical records or relevant documents. There will also likely be a deposition where the two sides could communicate with each other.
After a claim is processed, both parties get to investigate the case by looking through medical records and bills to see the scope of the damage. If the two sides cannot agree on a settlement then it would be turned over to a judge or jury.
How Long Does the Claims Process Take?
Local animal attack claims typically do not take long to move through the case process. A claim can be filed through the court or directly to the homeowner’s insurance company. Since these cases follow strict liability, there is little that needs to be proven beyond the identity of the dog’s owner, although the extent of the injuries might lengthen the process. If the injured person was purposely teasing or tormenting the dog, that fact could shift the liability to them, although there are few hard rules about what defines teasing and tormenting.
What is the Role of Expert Witnesses in the Case?
An expert witness in Manchester dog bite trials would be most likely testifying as to the damages. A neurologist might explain the nerve pain someone sustained or a plastic surgeon could explain scarring and what might be needed in a future procedure.
Orthopedists could speak about injuries to the bone, a dermatologist could talk about injuries to the skin, et cetera. Furthermore, economists could explain how much the plaintiff should be expected to lose in lost wages. The plaintiff should be aware that experts on the defendant’s side might also testify that the pain could subside or that future operations would not be necessary.
An expert witness would not address how a dog was being handled during the incident because they did not witness it.
Damages in Dog Bite Claims
There are no damage caps in Connecticut, so a judge or jury can award whatever amount they believe is fair.
People should know that the damages they might receive will likely not come out of the dog owner’s pocket but rather through their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company. In practical terms, the only true limitation is the amount of insurance or assets that is available from the defendant’s side.
The type of court that is handling the animal bite case in the community could have an impact on the amount of damages awarded, as can the visibility of the injury and the likability of the claimant.
Let a Manchester Attorney Explain the Case Process for Dog Bites
Assuming the plaintiff did not actively provoke the animal, the case process for dog bites in Manchester should go quickly. The main point of concern is the extent of the injuries and what should be awarded in damages. A nearby attorney with a prior history of filing dog attack claims could guide you through the process. Call today for a free consultation.