The insurance company of the owner of the dog has offered me $25 K in liability and $500 towards medical expense. Is this a reasonable offer or should I fight for more? Further is any of this payment taxable to me?
This is your sons injury claim - but you are responsible for his medical bills since he is a minor - so its a mixture. How can you pay thousands of dollars in medical expenses with $500? Your question probably needs further discussion and analysis. You should contact a personal injury attorney ASAP just for a FREE initial consultation.
It's hard to tell whether this is a fair settlement or not. There are numerous factors that go into the value of any personal injury case. You would find it beneficial to discuss this with a lawyer who provides a free initial consultation. If you would like, I would be glad to discuss this matter with you.
As for your tax question, I would direct that to a tax professional. But the last time I researched that issue, the proceeds from a personal injury claim are not taxable income.
Whether your son can recover anything depends on whether the neigbor should have known the dog would bite someone. How much you should get depends on whether there is perminant scaring or any other damage. If the insurer is offering 25 K, then they must believe the claim has merit. If a lawyer takes the case on the typical 1/3, then 25K to your son is the same as 37.5K with a lawyer. You need to talk to a lawyer and have the damages evaluated to see if they are probably worth more than 37.5K. If not, you are better off to settle now.
I have handled a number of dog bite cases throughout the years. The value of a case of this nature would depend on the location of the scar and the severity of the scar. Typically, an adjuster will pay more if the victim is a girl and the scarring is on the face. Before you accept the offer, you should present the documentation and photos to a local attorney to get his opinion on the value of the case. In deciding whether or not to hire an attorney, you should factor in the attorney fees and costs if the case was accepted for representation versus what you are being offered at this point in time. Photographs and the general appearance of the scar will be major factors in putting a value to the case along with the medical records and bills. Good luck.
It depends on whether the injury has healed; are their injuries that are permanent; is there scarring; where is scarring; is victim boy or girl? Many factors involved. We have handled quite a few cases like this that have settled for around $5,000 - $300,000. Please call for a free telephone consultation. Visit my website on Avvo.
You need to talk to a local personal injury attorney because this is your son’s claim, not yours. Since he is a minor you are not only responsible for his medical expenses, but you also responsible (in some cases) for repaying your health insurance company.
Do not sign anything before talking with an attorney.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
"The insurance company of the owner of the dog has offered me $25 K in liability and $500 towards medical expense."
Those may be the policy limits, which is the full amount the insurer could be required to pay. As you have already been told, you need to discuss this case with a qualified personal injury attorney.
Your state and county bar associations can provide you with referrals.
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