Funding for Dog Bite Victims Before Settlement: All You Need To Know
At the time of researching this post, dog bites are reported to happen once every 75 seconds, with nearly 1000 casualties rushed to emergency rooms every day due to vicious dog attacks. It’s a sorry statistic. But one that also reveals that dog bites happen far more frequently than we’d like to believe. In the United States, almost everyone loves to keep a dog as a pet with them. However, the warmth of keeping canine company comes with the risk of these dogs attacking or biting someone — more so when they’re not as socialized or domesticated as required.
Due to the devastating injuries and health implications, their attacks can become a severe medical issue that may attract medical expenses you may require a pre-settlement loan to cater to. You may ask, “What is a pre-settlement loan?” Keep reading to get the lowdown on how a ‘pre-settlement loan’ can be your saving grace in the ugly event of a dog bite.
Suffering injuries in an accident can be traumatic and painful, especially when the accident is not your fault. In addition, there are...
Now, before sinking our teeth into the meat (pun absolutely intended) of the matter, let’s get one thing clear.
Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Costly
Those furry buddies might seem all cute and cuddly, but those sharp teeth and powerful jaws can really deal a devastating blow to victims — think bone fractures.
They can also make you prone to rabies — one of the most lethal viral diseases globally — or other infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA), Tetanus infection, Capnocytophaga bacteria, and Pasteurella infections. And it doesn’t stop there. These bites can leave some serious lacerations and scars that stick with the victim for life. Imagine having a part of your body permanently disfigured. It’s not just about the physical pain — the toll on mental health can be severe.
Then there are the real-life implications of injuries sustained from a dog bite. For instance, If you’ve got a messed-up limb, it could completely mess up your ability to do your job. An entire livelihood (of you and your dependents) could be on the line. Even if you’re able to get a pre-settlement loan, there is bound to be psychological stress due to a lower quality of life.
There are mental implications too. Like a scar that lingers long after the wounds heal, the incident might trigger a fear of dogs that makes you avoid places where you think you might run into them.Due to the physical and emotional scars that can haunt you forever, it’s vital to take these things seriously and seek the professional medical attention you need to recover both physically & mentally.
If you’re a dog bite victim, your first line of action should be to visit a doctor or call 911 to prevent any serious illness or get immediate treatment. You want to cater to your health first, which means hospital stays, corrective surgeries, or even physiotherapy. These medical bills can pile on your stress levels and set you back financially.
You’re likely to be in need of immediate cash for your medical bills and other expenses, and that’s where the pre-settlement loan — a form of pre-settlement funding — comes in. Think of a pre-settlement loan as a way to take some weight off your shoulders, some financial breathing room that helps you let the legal process unfold at its own pace without you losing sleep over the bills.
And if the usual apprehension of sky-high interest rates that follows the mere mention of the word “loan” rocks your mind, don’t fret. Several companies can grant the lowest pre-settlement loans at the lowest possible interest rate to help you settle your bills.
What Are Pre-Settlement Loans?
Simply put, it’s a financial option available to plaintiffs awaiting a settlement or judgment.
Just to be clear: A pre-settlement loan is not a “loan” in the strict sense of the word. It operates differently from a conventional loan in the sense that, unlike a loan, you are not obligated to repay the funds if you don’t win any settlement.
Instead, the lender offers cash advances based on your anticipated settlement, essentially purchasing a portion of your potential future lawsuit settlement. That way, you can get cash immediately. Once you win your settlement, your lender gets an agreed sum from your settlement money.
As earlier mentioned, once you’ve filed a lawsuit as a victim of a personal injury case, as the lawsuit settlement progresses, you’re likely to have some expenses to cater to. In such a case, a pre-settlement loan can help you out. The best bit? A pre-settlement loan is a non-recourse loan; you only have to pay it back if you win the case. If you lose the lawsuit, you don’t owe any payback.
So, acquiring a pre-settlement loan eliminates the need to wait for the court decision to recover your losses and cater to whatever medical or related expenses. But once you win the case, you must repay it from the proceeds of the judgment or settlement — including the applicable interest rates and any other agreed-upon fees.
Need for Pre-Settlement Loans
As a result of a dog bite or attack, you may have sustained a serious injury that puts you out of work for some time. In this scenario, how can you meet your daily needs? How will you settle the medical bills?
Don’t forget the legal costs too. Going to court might imply a legal tussle that incurs expenses, including fees paid to your attorney and expert witness, fees paid as part of court filings, and other legal expenses.
You may also face some urgent financial needs that cannot wait until the case is decided. For instance, what happens when you have to pay an installment of your mortgage, education expenses, or any other pressing financial obligations.?
Additionally, most homeowners insurance policies make certain provisions to cover cases of dog bites. But insurance companies typically make lowballing settlement offers, which may force your hands into settling for less compensation than you deserve. To help you resist the urge to settle for less due to the urgency of your case and a lack of funds, you can acquire a pre-settlement loan pending the determination of your lawsuit to level the playing field. That way, you can pursue your case vigorously and negotiate from a position of financial strength.
Given these circumstances, surely, you’re in need of some cash injection. This is where a pre-settlement loan may be the only timely solution you have to provide access to funds when most needed.In the case of medical expenses, you may need these funds to treat the following (likely) medical condition to arise from the dog attack.
If the dog that attacked you has a rabies infection, it could spell serious implications for your health.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is primarily transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, including dogs, which contains the rabies virus.It enters the bloodstream through the dogs’ saliva and can cause severe illness that affects the brain. If kept untreated, it can cause the death of the victim.
Here’s where it gets scary: once the virus enters the body, there is an incubation period during which no symptoms are typically present. The duration of this period can vary from a few days to several years. Though it usually ranges from weeks to months. Every year, almost 29 million people receive post-bite vaccination to prevent rabies. To treat this disease on time, you must be able to pay the medical bills — a pre-settlement loan can prove useful here.
Dogs have strong jaws and teeth that can exert pressure. And so a forceful bite to one’s limb or body can cause bone fractures. This is especially true when victims struggle with the dog to escape the attack. The impact can cause bones to crack or break, resulting in a broken bone injury. In some cases, a dog may latch onto a person’s limb and exert a crushing or twisting motion. This can also cause severe trauma to the bone, resulting in fractures.
Let’s also not forget the size and weight of the dog in proportion to that of the victim. Bigger dogs have more potential to cause bone fractures.
On the flip side, certain bones in the body may be more susceptible (for instance, the hands, fingers, arms, legs, or facial bones), given the location of the bite and force applied. Where victims suffer a broken bone, and a pre-settlement loan can place them on the fast track to a clean bill of health.
A person can also suffer from brain injury or brain trauma due to a dog attack, which makes the need for a pre-settlement loan perhaps more urgent than the settlement itself. A dog attack with a direct impact on the head or face, it can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The force of the bite can cause the brain to collide with the skull, leading to bruising, bleeding, or swelling of the brain tissue. Even the mere introduction of bacteria into the body can lead to an infection, such as meningitis or encephalitis, which affects the brain adversely. Ultimately, the psychotrauma associated with a dog bite can also have untold effects, contributing to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that can impact cognitive and emotional functioning.
Eligibility Criteria for Claiming a Pre-Settlement Loan
Much like applying to get a loan from the bank, you must know whether you are eligible before trying to get a pre-settlement loan. The process is fairly simple — in order to qualify, there must have been a personal injury claim where the dog owner’s negligent actions may have caused your injuries suffered from the dog attack.
When facilitating pre-settlement loans, lawsuit funding companies (lenders) will often take a close look at the strength of your case and how likely you are to be successful in your claim. In doing this, they typically consider factors such as liability, evidence, witness statements, and expert opinions in assessing the merits of your claim, its estimated value, and the likelihood of recovery to determine if providing the loan is a reasonable risk.
That being said, different lawsuit funding companies have their eligibility criteria. But across the board, here are some of the most crucial requirements for getting pre-settlement loans:
Eligible and valid lawsuit
The first requirement for acquiring the pre-settlement loan is a valid lawsuit. Simply put, you are only eligible for getting the pre-settlement loan if you have a viable lawsuit in progress. The first step your lawyer would take is to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is the main and vital requirement for claiming a pre-settlement loan. But since pre-settlement loans are typically non-recourse, which means they’re only paid back once the lawsuit is successful, i.e., a settlement or judgment has been obtained, the settlement serves as collateral for the loan.
And so, without a valid lawsuit that may yield a settlement, there can be no basis for estimating potential compensation. This makes it practically impossible for the lender to assess the viability of the loan.
Personal injury lawyer
Having an attorney is another eligibility requirement for claiming a pre-settlement loan. This requirement is important as the funding companies deal directly with law firms or lawyers. Dealing with law firms or lawyers makes it easier for loan companies to decide the terms and conditions. It also imparts confidence on the part of the lender. Not only will getting a lawyer help you present your best foot forward in your quest for justice, but personal injury attorneys are also skilled at maximizing compensation and ensuring you get a larger settlement.
They also represent you on the negotiation table with insurance companies and in court, if necessary. Lenders may require this legal representation as it indicates a commitment to pursuing your case diligently and professionally.Most pre-settlement loan companies do not entertain cases that do not have lawyers because, without one, you’re unable to show the seriousness of your claim and the likelihood of success.
Eligible case type
Not all types of cases merit pre-settlement loans. Lenders need to know that all cases they fund have a reasonable likelihood of success. This explains why they focus on specific types of cases that are more likely to result in a successful settlement or judgment. So, to acquire these loans, your case type should be eligible.
Beyond the chances of success and estimated settlement value, most loan companies have other specific criteria based on their experience and knowledge of different case types. Legal precedent is a case in point. Lenders may prefer certain case types where legal precedents or favorable court rulings have established a higher chance of success, ensuring that they can recoup their investment in the event of a successful outcome.
Generally, most loan companies find the following cases qualified for issuing a pre-settlement loan:
Being a victim of an unprovoked dog bite gives you the option to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, who will be liable to you in settlements or compensation for your loss. And we get that sometimes, there’s an air of awkwardness about bringing a claim for compensation because you know the dog owner. Well, nine times out of 10, the dog owner didn’t put their dog on a leash to keep you out of harm’s way, leading to the dog attack. Therefore, their contributory negligence resulted in your suffering. So you deserve compensation for your troubles.
Don’t let those personal connections cloud your judgment. Though, you should also note that you don’t always have to sue. But if they fail to accept that you’re entitled to compensation, then you should have your day in court. However, due to the time-sensitive nature of your case, with the bills piling up and stress mounting, your case may likely be in court for more than is practical to meet your urgent need for compensation.
As such, once you meet the eligibility criteria, don’t hesitate to get lawsuit funding to cater to all your expenses related to and arising from your claim while putting yourself on the path to recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Pre-Settlement Loan
Do I need a lawyer to claim a pre-settlement loan for a dog bite?
The short answer is yes. To get a pre-settlement loan, the lender knows there is a good chance they’re getting paid back.
One way you can show readiness and diligence is through lawyers, who are astute negotiators skilled in seeking maximum compensation for your injuries. They can engage with insurance companies or the opposing party’s legal team on your behalf, aiming to secure a fair settlement.
Plus, it is one of the requirements of lawsuit funding companies. The specialized knowledge and experience of lawyers when handling personal injury cases means they can assess the strength of your claim and determine its potential value.
They will also review the evidence, medical records, and other relevant information to build a solid case, increasing your chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
How to prove that the dog owner is liable for my injury?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you can successfully prove it in court by gathering evidence. Any relevant documentation relating to the incident will prove useful, like medical records, photographs of the injuries, and any other records or receipts related to medical treatment or expenses. After identifying the owner of the dog, if there were witnesses present during the dog bite incident, you can also obtain their contact information. Witness testimonies can help corroborate your version of events.
In proving liability, some states have a “one-bite” rule where the dog owner is held accountable only if they know that their dogs are aggressive or that they failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the dog attack. Some other states in the US, like Connecticut, impose a strict liability rule — dog owners are liable irrespective of whether they knew about their dog’s aggression and were negligent about it or not.
A personal injury attorney is abreast of all these rules and how to navigate them successfully to help you prove negligence, hence why you should contact your attorney to help you prove your case.
How much is a dog bite settlement worth?
On average, settlements from dog bites cases are usually valued somewhere within the wheelhouse of $30,000 to $50,000.
Though, you may expect that the figures will be slightly lower if the injuries sustained are nothing fatal. For instance, a minor bruise. The dog owner may offer a settlement to avoid having to be a party to a face-off in court to dispute your claim for compensation. Depending on how grievous your injury is, the dog owner may realize that a $30,000 payout may be more sensible than incurring even more costs in a drawn-out legal battle.
In valuing your settlement, note that several factors play a role. These factors include:
- The extent of the injury: Is it a minor or major injury?;
- The bodily harm done by the injury: Is it a crippling injury or one that defaces or disfigures the victim?;
- The long-term effect of the injury: Did the dog attack incapacitate the victim permanently?;
- Your share of responsibility for the incident: Were you poking, provoking, or abusing the dog before the attack.
Whilst on the negotiation table, if the compensation the dog owner is offering is a far cry from what you think you deserve and can get, you can proceed with a lawsuit.