Is it Worth It to Pursue a Dog Bite Case?
Dog bite cases can cause great harm and distress to those who are the victim of the injury. For young children, the injuries can be particularly serious. Unfortunately, a mishap involving a dog also involves the owner of the dog. If you are a personal injury attorney representing a client who needs to sue for medical bills and pain suffering caused by a dog bite, you need to be sure your case has value.
The individual who lost control of the dog or kept the dog in a poorly secured enclosure may be responsible for your client’s pain and suffering but will they be able to pay out? Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. This means the dog owner can be liable even if they did take care to restrain their dog. Unfortunately, in these situations the owner may have been unaware their dog would be dangerous. This could mean they have failed to take out any form of insurance that could cover the payout for injuries your client may have sustained. Homeowner’s insurance and Renter’s Insurance often covers damages from dog bite injuries. Even if the dog owner has taken out Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance, oftentimes, these forms of insurance have inadequate coverage that excludes dog bites.
If a dog has bit your client or your client’s child, you have a fiduciary duty to make sure they are not wasting their money on legal expenses that will not result in a payout. The pretrial discovery process is one of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of pursuing a personal injury case. Conducting an asset search before this process starts or during the initial stages of this process can make settlement discussions more productive. Even with all the evidence in the world that the dog owner should pay your client, without insurance coverage or sufficient assets, pursuing them in court will not be worth it.
An asset search can cost as little as $185 and can turn around in 1-3 days. A nationwide asset search can reveal business interests, limited partnerships, cars, boats or aircraft, real estate, deed transfers, trusts and any debts or judgements.
If the dog owner was at fault for your client’s injury and has significant assets, it may be worth it to go to trial to sue for full damages. If not, your client can save the costs of pursuing an expensive trial and may be able to enter into talks with the dog owner that could result in some kind of settlement. As a personal injury attorney, you have a responsibility to commit your best efforts to make your client whole. An important part of doing your due diligence is to determine the value of a personal injury case by getting a clear picture of the assets of the at-fault party. With a quick turnaround and low cost, an asset search with Asset Searches Plus is the best way to be confident that the decisions you and your personal injury client are making are in their best interests. For more information call us at 1 800 290-1012 ext 111.