When you or a loved one get bitten by a dog, it can be a traumatic experience. Dog bites can create serious injuries with long-lasting medical consequences, including broken bones, punctures, and lacerations, any of which can create extensive scarring.
In addition to dealing with the pain and fear that receiving a dog bite can cause, there also are medical expenses to be paid and lost wages to consider. It is only right that you want justice and compensation for what happened to you or your loved one. Finding the right attorney is an important step in obtaining compensation for your injuries from a dog bite.
The law applicable to dog bites in Missouri makes the dog owner liable for injuries resulting from its dog’s bite when:
- The injury resulted from the dog bite
- The injured person was on public property or lawfully on private property, and
- The injured person did not provoke the dog bite
To determine how Missouri law applies to what happened in your case, you need an experienced dog bite attorney to investigate and assess your case. The right attorney will be able to prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve so that you can recover and move on from your injuries.
How Important is Experience When Choosing an Attorney?
Some lawyers have an area of expertise to which they devote much of their practice. Some lawyers might work on real estate transactions while others work on employment law cases or criminal cases. You will want to look for a lawyer who works in the realm of personal injury. Personal injury is a broad area of law that includes all kinds of ways that someone might be injured, such as:
There are many other types of personal injury cases as well, including dog bites.
Because personal injury law is so broad, lawyers often choose specialty areas within personal injury law. For example, some lawyers focus primarily on medical malpractice and know everything there is to know about the law in that area. Likewise, there are lawyers who focus on dog bite cases and have a great deal of specific knowledge and experience that will help you get the best possible result in your dog bite case.
So, when deciding on the best lawyer for your case, it will be very important to choose someone who already has had success in dog bite cases. They already have knowledge of the details of Missouri dog bites laws and will be better able to help you in your case.
When you consult with different lawyers to choose a lawyer for your case, you should ask what experience the lawyer has specific to dog bite cases. You also might ask other questions related to their experience, such as:
- How much research and investigation will they need to do in your case?
- How much time will they have to invest in your case?
- Do they have experience negotiating dog bite cases?
- Do they already have experience with the Missouri courts?
- Do they have experience dealing with the insurance company involved in your case?
Asking specific questions about the attorney’s experience with issues that likely will be relevant to your case will help you to choose the attorney who likely will be able to help you receive the most compensation in your case.
How Do I Know if a Lawyer is Really Experienced?
This is the age of internet research! Internet research can be a great way to inform yourself about your attorney options. When you do internet research, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make your searches specific to Missouri. It is important to add “Missouri” to your searches because you will want a lawyer who is close to you and who is licensed to practice law in your state. It is a good idea to figure out if there is a specific lawyer or law firm in your state that is considered to be the best option for dog bite cases. You can make your searches even more specific by adding your city or county to narrow the number of attorneys you have to choose from.
- Look at listed areas of expertise on the websites. Your searches might show you attorneys who work in the general area of personal injury. On most websites, however, there will be a list of areas in which the firm or lawyer specializes. Scan through that list and make sure that it lists dog bite cases specifically. This will guarantee that you’re choosing an attorney with the specific kind of experience you want.
- Read reviews from previous clients. Some lawyers and law firms will have messages from previous clients on their websites. If they do, those reviews are a great way to learn a little bit more about how the lawyer or firm interacts with and assists clients. You will want to find a lawyer who not only knows the law of dog bites but who is experienced in handling each client individually, meeting that client’s specific needs. If other clients have been happy with the attention and results they received, that is a good indication that you also will receive satisfactory attention that you likely will be happy with.
Of course, there are other ways to learn more about lawyers and law firms. You might be able to get a good recommendation from someone who has used a personal injury lawyer before or from services that help match potential clients with lawyers.
Should I Meet with the Lawyers I’m Considering?
Looking at websites is a great way to start doing your research, but it’s also good to meet in person with a lawyer with whom you are considering working. After all, lawsuits can last for many months and there are high stakes involved.
Also consider the fact that you are already dealing with enough just trying to recover from your dog bite injury. So, you will want to find an experienced attorney who makes your case easier on you. You will want to find an attorney who:
- Communicates well
- Is easy to get along with
- Feels passionate about your case
- Demonstrates their expertise and experience
Many lawyers will be willing to consult with you about your case to give you an idea of what you might be able to expect if you go forward with them. You will be able to get a better understanding of that lawyer’s strategy and general approach during an in-person meeting. Are they going to aggressively pursue justice in the court room? Are they going to artfully negotiate with the insurance company to get you the best settlement possible? Having an initial consultation with the attorney will give you a good sense of the answers to these and other questions that you may have about your prospective attorney.
Have You Experienced a Personal Injury in Kansas City?
If you've experienced a Kansas City personal injury, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation.