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Do I need an attorney to help me settle a dog bite claim?

Davis, CA |

My son was bitten by a dog ten years ago and I would now like to settle the claim with the dog owners homeowners insurance company. The dog bit my son in the mouth and took out a piece of his uppper lip. He had two surgeries to repair the damage. We recently visited a plastic surgeon at Shriners Hospital who told us the lip was improved as much as it could be, and any further surgery could make the scarring worse. How do I put a value on the injury so I can negotiate a settlement with the insurance company? Can I do this myself or would it be better to have an attorney involved?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Hopefully your son was less than 10 years old when this happend. Otherwise, he's waited too long to make a claim for this. Under CA law, a minor has two years from the date of his 18th birthday to file a claim for personal injuries. If his claim is still viable, he should see a personal injury lawyer immediately to help with this.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. I agree with my colleague. You should check with a local attorney to review the facts and find out if it is too late to file a claim.


  3. You do not NEED an attorney, but you SHOULD get an attorney. Besides the possible deadline to sue (2 years after he turns 18), a lawyer can evaluate the case for you and obtain top dollar. It would be better to have an attorney involved. Insurance companies have been known to drag their feet until after the statute of limitations expires.

    S. Edmond El Dabe


  4. These cases can be very valuable and the reality is that the homeowners insurance carrier will try to take advantage of someone not represented by counsel. It is absolutely advisable that you consult with an attorney who has handled dog bite cases before and is familiar with the statutes and insurance issues. Feel free to get in touch with me directly. My office handles cases like yours all over the State of California.


  5. Hello,

    All the other attorneys have good answers. You don't have to have an attorney, but you might consider it if you want to get the top dollar for your son. There was even a study done by the insurance companies that states that a person gets s significantly higher value on a case when an attorney is involved and I'm sure you want to get as much as possible for your son's future as a form of insurance if anything else can be done in the future with medical advances.

    I'm not going to tell you to hire me or call me, but I am going to tell you that it would be both better (for your son's future) and less stressful (for you) to hire a good attorney - if you need a copy of the article title to confirm the attorney being involved gets significantly more money on average - send me an email and I will send you the title of the article to confirm. Or email if you have any other questions.

    Please remember the above is general information only and not specific advice to your case.

    Matthew Williamson

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