Were you or a close family member bitten by a dog? You may be entitled to significant compensation for injuries from an animal attack. When a dog bites a police officer, or any injured person for that matter, the first thing on their mind is seeking medical treatment immediately for their injuries. Following that, they start to wonder who will pay their medical bills and how they will recover their lost wages, among many other concerns.
A dog attack can leave long-lasting injuries and most likely even more painful dealings with the insurance company. Ehline Law and our California dog bite attorneys work tirelessly to help injured dog bite victims stand for their rights and fight for fair compensation. Contact us to know more about your rights as an injured victim following a dog attack.
A dog bite incident can be traumatic, and after the emotional trauma of the dog bite and medical attention, you may be wondering who will be paying for your injuries. Will it be the dog owner or a health insurance company?
Under the law, dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets. If a dog bites someone, the dog owner does not pay the expenses arising from their pet’s actions from their own pocket. In most cases, they may have several types of insurance that may kick in and help cover your dog-related injuries.
For example, if you got bit by a dog on someone else’s property, you should approach the property owner’s homeowners insurance and file a claim to recover compensation.
However, obtaining compensation is not straightforward, especially with insurance adjusters. Sometimes the injured dog bite victim decides to use their health insurance to pay for medical bills because it’s much easier to pursue their own health insurance company than the third party’s insurance company.
When you file a dog bite claim with the dog owner’s insurance company to recover medical bills, they assign an insurance adjuster to your case. You may think that claim adjusters are working in your best interests, but that’s precisely what they want you to believe.
The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and is answerable to them. An insurance company contracts adjusters to help save their shareholder’s money by reducing or rejecting claims.
An insurance company adjuster will ring you up and discuss the accident, be polite and kind, and sympathize with you. However, by doing that, they’re looking to make their job easy as many victims often spill details that give the adjusters reason to deny their claims.
Adjusters do not have a duty to you, nor do they have to be fair about the value of your claim.
Insurance company adjusters are great at negotiations and may negotiate their way out of honoring an injured victim’s right without them even realizing it.
These professionals have experience using dirty tactics to help them dominate negotiations, such as making a substantially lower initial offer that is non-negotiable.
“This is the best we can do”– many of you may have heard this phrase after receiving an offer.
They’ll sympathize with you and tell you that there is nothing they can do about the offer, and it is the victim’s best bet to secure some money from the insurers when, in fact, it’s all a lie.
Besides talking their way into reducing the value of your claims, they’ll even take some downright ridiculous actions. They’ll refuse to return calls, walk out of meetings, or cut the conversation when you try to negotiate a better offer.
Think about it. An injured victim is already feeling a lot of frustration at this point from the accident, and constant dealing with the adjuster makes them believe that the offer given by the insurer is the best they can get. They accept it even if it doesn’t cover their medical expenses for the dog bite.
If you stand your ground and demonstrate that you have a solid case, they’ll be more open to negotiating a better offer following your dog bite claim.
Another thing to remember is that claim adjusters already know the amount authorized for your dog bite claim, and they’ll offer you much lower than that. So when they tell you that their hands are tied, they’re lying because they can handle the case themselves.
Let’s go over some general rules you should know when dealing with insurers following your dog bite injury claim.
When an insurance company adjuster calls you to confirm the story by narrating the events, you might not give it enough thought and agree. Doing so, you’re not only an accident victim but also an insurance trap victim.
Insurers will retell the story in such a way that you may think they’re right, but they’ll leave out a small and vital fact that works well in their favor. A small fact can change the entire narrative.
Before you agree to anything, let an experienced dog bite lawyer review a written version of the insurer’s story or help you submit your statement of facts.
To avoid coughing up money, insurers suggest that the injured victim exaggerates the value of their claims. It is best to keep a record of all the bills and submit it with your claim so that you don’t give them any reason to argue that you’re exaggerating your medical expenses.
If you’re not accepting the insurer’s initial offer, you may find that the adjuster stops responding to your texts, calls, or emails as a tactic to coerce you into accepting the “only” offer on the table. The insurance company could also use delaying tactics so that your case’s dog bite statute of limitations runs out. If this happens, you will lose your right to pursue legal action against the negligent party.
A skilled dog bite lawyer can help you deal with an insurance company using delaying tactics by staying on top of all legal time frames and expediting the claims process.
We’ve gone over how insurance adjusters could use dirty tactics to reduce or reject claims. Here, we will go over three reasons why insurance companies resort to such tactics in the first place.
The top three insurance companies with the largest market cap size in the United States include State Farm Group ($66.2 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($46.4 billion), and Progressive Insurance Group ($41.7 billion). These companies, including most other insurers in the country, charge premiums in exchange for coverage and then invest those premiums in interest-generating assets.
When you file a claim, and it gets approved, the insurance company’s profit takes a hit, meaning less money for the shareholders and less for reinvesting in other income-generating assets. Paying out your compensation may not affect the business much. But multiplying it by millions as millions of Americans file claims yearly is much more damaging to their bottom line.
They’ll deploy as many obstacles as possible to ensure minimal payouts.
There is just too much bureaucracy in these large companies, which has significantly affected the health care system in the United States. To give you an idea, Reuters Health reports more than one-third of health care costs to go towards bureaucracy, four times more than in Canada.
To get an answer to a simple question, you have to go through many people before you get connected to a person who may be able to assist you with your concerns. After suffering injuries in an accident, it can be frustrating to hold on to the phone for a long time or get transferred from one department to another just for a simple query.
Typically, when you want to buy coverage, you’ll be immediately connected to the right person, but when it comes to seeking answers or filing claims, you’ll find yourself juggling between representatives.
Insurance companies capitalize on the fact that most people filing claims do not have any legal knowledge or know their rights as injured dog bite victims. If you knew what you’re owed, you would be more persistent during negotiations rather than accepting what they tell you is the best they can do.
When an attorney gets involved in a case, insurers start to thread carefully and negotiate a better deal that works for both parties. An experienced trial attorney is their worst nightmare, and they know these types of attorneys are aggressive and want to spill “blood,” which is why insurers will try to avoid going to trial.
It’s expensive, a lot of paperwork is involved, and the company’s reputation is on the line. For the trial attorney, it’s just another day in court.
When filing a claim, you must provide the value of economic and non-economic damages.
In most cases, insurers reject the insurance claim if there is a slight problem with the value. Secondly, they have their method of calculating non-economic damages by considering many factors and assigning a multiplier factor. You may find yourself going back and forth with this issue.
An experienced dog bite attorney has the resources to bring in experts to calculate the actual value of your claims and fight for your rights.
Ehline Law and our dog bite lawyers have over a decade of experience handling injury claims, especially dog bite cases. We understand how insurers use tactics to delay or reject claims, but our legal experts, through a strong attorney-client relationship, have recovered more than $150 million in settlements and successful verdicts for our injured clients.
If you suffered a dog bite that was not your fault, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation on your case, as you may qualify for compensation.
Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.
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