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December 22, 2023

How Long Does a Dog Bite Lawsuit Take in California?

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: Many California dog bite lawsuits take approximately 3-6 months to resolve. After the case resolves, you could expect a settlement check in your hands in approximately 3-6 weeks. In more complex dog bite cases, it can take over a year to settle your claim. When lawsuits take longer, this generally means they have to go to court while the shorter ones can settle outside of it.

Average Timelines for California Dog Bite Lawsuits

Severity of Dog Bite Average Length of Lawsuit
Minor Approximately: 2 – 4 months
Moderate Approximately: 4 – 12 months
Severe Approximately: 12 – 24 months

Factors That Cause Dog Bite Lawsuits to Take Longer

Investigation Challenges

Dog bite claims may prolong due to the complexities involved in investigating the incident. Determining liability, gathering evidence, and assessing the circumstances can be time-consuming.

Medical Documentation Delays

The time taken to compile comprehensive medical records, including treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation, can contribute to extended durations in dog bite claims.

Disputes over Damages

Disagreements regarding the extent of damages, including medical expenses, emotional distress, and loss of income, can lead to prolonged negotiations and legal processes.

Insurance Company Involvement

The involvement of insurance companies, with their own review processes and negotiations, can add time to the resolution of dog bite claims.

Legal Proceedings and Court Schedules

If a dog bite claim progresses to legal action, court schedules and legal procedures may introduce additional delays, impacting the overall duration of the claims process.

Factors That Can Make Your Claim Move Faster

Prompt Reporting

Timely reporting of the dog bite incident facilitates a quicker initiation of the claims process, ensuring that investigations and assessments can begin promptly.

Clear and Comprehensive Documentation

Providing well-documented evidence, including medical records, witness statements, and photographic evidence, streamlines the evaluation process and accelerates the resolution of the claim.

Cooperation and Communication

Open communication and cooperation between all parties involved, including claimants, insurers, and legal representatives, can expedite negotiations and decision-making.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Opting for methods like mediation or arbitration can expedite the resolution of disputes, bypassing lengthy court proceedings and facilitating a faster agreement.

Efficient Insurance Processes

Insurance companies implementing streamlined and efficient claims processing procedures contribute to a faster resolution, reducing bureaucratic delays and expediting settlements.

Why Might Insurance Companies Want to Slow the Claim Process Down?

Delaying Tactics for Investigation

The other party’s insurance may aim to prolong the claims process to thoroughly investigate the incident, ensuring they have sufficient time to assess liability and gather evidence in their favor.

Mitigating Damages

Slowing down the process allows the insurance company to strategize ways to minimize the amount paid in damages, possibly by challenging the severity of injuries or disputing related expenses.

Financial Strategy

Insurance companies might employ delay tactics to manage their financial reserves, spreading the impact of payouts over a more extended period, which can be advantageous for their financial planning.

Encouraging Settlements for Lesser Amounts

By prolonging the process, the other party’s insurance may attempt to increase the claimant’s financial strain, motivating them to settle for a lesser amount to expedite the resolution.

Legal Defense Preparation

Delays can provide the insurance company more time to prepare a robust legal defense, potentially dissuading claimants or positioning themselves for a more favorable outcome in legal proceedings.

How Can an Attorney Make a Claim Move Faster?

Prompt Legal Representation

Engaging an attorney early in the process ensures swift initiation of legal procedures, allowing for immediate action and timely responses to the other party and their insurance.

Efficient Documentation Gathering

Attorneys can expedite the claims process by efficiently collecting and organizing all relevant documents, including medical records, witness statements, and evidence, ensuring a comprehensive and streamlined presentation.

Negotiation Expertise

Legal professionals bring negotiation skills to the table, facilitating quicker and more effective communication with the other party and their insurance, potentially leading to faster settlement agreements.

Knowledge of Legal Procedures

Attorneys are familiar with California’s dog bite laws and can navigate through processes more swiftly, avoiding unnecessary delays and ensuring adherence to timelines.

Advocacy for Timely Resolutions

A dedicated attorney can advocate for the timely resolution of your claim, putting pressure on the other party and their insurance to expedite the process, ultimately working in your favor.

Can I Hire an Attorney if I Already Filed a Lawsuit Myself?

Yes, you can hire an attorney even if you have filed a lawsuit on your own. Seeking legal representation later in the process is common, and an attorney can provide guidance, negotiate on your behalf, and navigate any complexities that may arise during the claim process.

Get Connected With an Attorney

Looking to get help with your dog bite lawsuit? Contact LawLinq today to get connected with some of the best dog bite attorneys in the state. All initial consultations are free and they’ll answer any questions you have.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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