Creve Coeur is considered a pet-friendly community.
There are many dining and lodging experiences where guests can bring their dogs. There is also the local dog park at Conway Park, where dogs can take an off-leash stroll along a path that circles the lake. While dogs are welcome in the community, dog bites are a risk for everyone. These can occur not only in businesses and parks where animals are allowed but also in private residences or along residential roadways.
While most dog bites are considered minor in nature, needing very little medical intervention, some bites can cause severe injuries and complications such as infection and scarring.
If a dog belonging to someone else bit you or your child, you could seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the injury. Contact an experienced Creve Coeur dog bite lawyer from The Bruning Law Firm to help you navigate this process to obtain the compensation you need.
Why Choose The Bruning Law Firm to Help You With Your Dog Bite Claim?
The Bruning Law Firm is a family-owned firm with more than 35 years of experience helping injured people in the St. Louis metropolitan area obtain the compensation they need after they’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. We are committed to providing our clients with superior legal services and a guarantee that you will not pay any fees to our firm until compensation is received for your claim.
While having a knowledgeable attorney to assist you with your claim is essential, so is having a local one. The Bruning Law Firm is happy to provide local services in Creve Coeur at our office. One office building near the downtown financial district. Come see us and let us evaluate your claim for free.
How Much Is Your Dog Bite Claim Worth?
This means that if someone else’s dog injured you, you could file a claim against the dog’s owner’s homeowners policy to seek compensation for:
- The expenses you incurred as a result of the injury, such as the cost of your medical treatment, wage loss from being too injured to work, and lost earning capacity if the bite results in permanent disabilities that impair your ability to work. This compensation is referred to as economic damages.
- The quality-of-life impacts you experienced due to your injury, including physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. The compensation you receive for the impacts of your injury is known as non-economic damages.
Determining the value of a Creve Coeur dog bite claim isn’t simply a matter of adding up the expenses you faced as a result of your injury.
Other factors that determine your claim’s value include:
- The severity of the injury.
- The presence of permanent injuries.
- The level of carelessness or recklessness on the part of the dog’s owner that led to you being attacked.
For example, if the dog that bit you was known to exhibit aggressive behavior and the owner of the dog failed to take actions to protect others, such as keeping the dog contained or on a leash, your claim will likely be valued higher than it would be if the dog that bit you had never exhibited aggressive behavior.
Dog Bite Injuries in Creve Coeur
In Creve Coeur, animal control services are handled by the
St. Louis County Animal Care & Control. This government agency not only provides spay and neuter services for pets in the area, rabies vaccinations, and pet adoption services but also investigates dog bites and places animals who have bitten someone under observation to look for signs or symptoms of rabies.
Individuals who plan to spend time at the city’s dog park are required to apply to use the park and sign a liability waiver stating that they accept the risks that come with being at a park where other dogs are off-leash and agree not to hold the city accountable for injuries there.
While the dog park would seem to be the place where dog bites are most likely to occur, the organization Kids-n-K9s reports that around 80 percent of the 4.7 million dog bites that occur in the U.S. each year actually happen in or near the home where the dog lives, and most dog bites involve an animal who is familiar with the person they bite. Over half of the dog bites involve child victims, with children between 5-9 having the highest rates of dog bite injuries.
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project reported that dog bites resulting in emergency department visits are more likely in the Midwest states. While many dog bite injuries present as minor, there is a serious risk of infections from the bacteria in the dog’s mouth, including rabies infections, tetanus, and more. The types of injuries commonly treated in the emergency room after a dog bite include infected wounds, open wounds on the head, neck, and trunk, and fractures of the upper limbs.
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project noted that the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay is more than $18,000, which is far higher than the cost of many other injury related hospital stays.
Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Pay Dog Bite Claims
Around 69 million households in the U.S. feature at least one dog. The Insurance Information Institute notes that the homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies held by the dog’s owner will generally cover legal liability for dog bites up to the policy limit—which is often $100,000 to $300,000.
However, some insurance companies exclude certain breeds of dogs from coverage, and others deal with the situation on a case-by-case basis, excluding animals with a bite history from coverage, regardless of their breed. Generally, once a dog has attacked someone, the insurance policy will respond by charging the dog’s owner a higher premium or even opting to cancel their coverage.
Unfortunately for the victims of dog bites, insurance companies frequently resist paying out on insurance claims, as their bottom line depends on selling premiums, not compensating those injured by their insured.
Claimants who seek compensation for a dog bite injury without the benefit of an attorney commonly find themselves dealing with an insurance claims adjuster’s tactics, such as:
- Attempting to make the claimant admit that they teased or provoked the dog, as the dog bite protection offered in the state’s law is only afforded if the animal bit the person without provocation.
- Offering an extremely low settlement for the claim.
- Making misleading statements about the type of coverage available for the claim, such as stating there is no coverage available for the claimant’s pain and suffering.
- Delaying an evaluation of the claim or a response to the claim.
- Asserting that the claimant’s injuries were not as serious as their claim indicates.
Dog-related injuries cost insurance providers around $882 million a year, the Insurance Information Institute states, with an average dog bite claim payout of just under $50,000.
What You Can Do to Protect the Value of Your Creve Coeur Dog Bite Claim
The most important thing you can do to protect the value of your claim is to hire an experienced Creve Coeur dog bite lawyer from The Bruning Law Firm to begin working on your case as soon as possible. This will help you from falling victim to many of the insurance company tactics listed above, as your attorney will manage communication with the insurer.
Our attorneys can provide many other services, such as properly valuing the claim to account for all the expenses and impacts you incurred because of the injury, negotiating a settlement that fairly compensates you, filing a lawsuit in court if the dog’s owner’s insurance provider fails to pay the claim, and even representing your case before a judge or jury.
Throughout your claim, our Creve Coeur legal team can provide information and guidance as you make the important decisions about your case, such as accepting an offered settlement or filing a lawsuit.
Our attorneys can ensure that the statute of limitations does not expire on your case. The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in court. Missouri gives most plaintiffs five years to file a lawsuit. Failing to file a lawsuit before this deadline passes will bar the claimant from having their case considered by a judge or jury, and the insurance company is no longer legally required to compensate the claim once the statute of limitations expires.
If you’re worried about the cost of hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer, we are happy to tell you that this is not a problem. Our attorneys use a contingent fee billing method. This method means that you do not have to pay upfront to hire the attorney or keep current on their hourly billing cycles for work to continue on your case.
Instead, you enter a contingent fee agreement with the attorney when you begin working together on your case. This agreement designates a percentage of the compensation you receive to be paid to the attorney for their services. If your claim is not resolved, you do not owe the attorney or their legal team for the work they did on your case.
Other actions you can take to protect the value of your dog bite claim include:
- Attending all medical appointments and following your doctor’s treatment plan to provide you with the best possibility for recovering from your injury. If you fail to take reasonable actions to protect your health, the insurance company will likely seek to reduce the amount of their settlement offer.
- Journaling about your medical appointments, the level of pain you’re experiencing, and other impacts that the injury has had on your quality of life. These written notes are often helpful evidence when demonstrating the impact of the injury and the need for non-economic damages.
- Gathering photographs of your injury, bills for your treatment, wage information, and the contact information of witnesses who saw the dog bite you. Again, this is evidence that can be used to show liability or justify the value of your claim.
Dog Bite in Creve Coeur? The Bruning Law Firm Can Help You
To learn more about the compensation you can seek for your injury and to speak with an experienced Creve Coeur dog bite lawyer from The Bruning Law Firm, contact us online or by calling (314) 266-6950 .
Call The Bruning Law Firm Today for Your Free Consultation
Call our personal injury lawyer in Creve Coeur at The Bruning Law Firm will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible. Our team is available 24/7 to complete your consultation at (314) 266-6950 or you can contact us online.
Call The Bruning Law Firm today for your free consultation.
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