After a dog bite, bills can begin to accumulate. You may need to pay for extensive medical treatment and need weeks to recover from your injuries, leading to lost wages and significant financial hardship. The physical and emotional impact of the attack can be difficult to navigate.
As an Oregon resident, you can hold the dog’s owner accountable for your injuries and recover compensation to pay for these losses. Dog bite lawsuits can take a few months up to a year to settle your case, depending on the circumstances.
In Oregon, you have the right to file a lawsuit against an owner if his or her dog bit you. Oregon is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, meaning that an owner can be liable for your damages even if negligence was not a factor in the attack.
However, you can only recover compensation for your financial losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
If negligence is a factor in your case, you can hold the dog’s owner liable for your physical and emotional damages, also known as pain and suffering.
However, you will need to prove that the owner breached his or her duty of care as a dog owner and that the breach caused your injuries.
Before you can file a lawsuit against a dog owner, you will need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Dog bites can result in severe injuries, such as bacterial infections or facial disfigurement. You may not know the long-term impact of these injuries and therefore not understand the full value of your claim.
Your dog bite attorney will want to wait until you reach MMI before initiating the lawsuit. If you have very severe injuries, this means that it will likely take longer for your case to reach a settlement. During this time, your lawyer will continue to investigate your case and gather evidence.
Once you reach MMI, your attorney will decide whether to send an initial demand letter to the dog’s owner. In this letter, your lawyer will outline your intent to file a claim and the damages you seek.
The at-fault party will then choose to enter into negotiations with you and your lawyer. If these negotiations are successful, your case will settle at this stage.
If these negotiations are unsuccessful or do not take place, however, your lawyer will file your claim in Oregon civil court.
Your case will then enter discovery, where you and the dog’s owner will exchange information and take depositions of relevant parties. Discovery may take a few months to one year to complete.
After discovery, you will have another opportunity to enter negotiations or mediation. If these processes are successful, your case will conclude before reaching trial.
If they are unsuccessful, your case will move to trial and the court will decide whether to award a settlement. Dog bite trials can take a few days to a week to conclude.
If you are a dog bite victim, filing a lawsuit can help you recover the compensation you deserve. As soon as you receive medical attention for your injuries, contact a Portland dog bite attorney.
Speaking to an attorney can help you understand your legal options and the compensation you may qualify for.