Injury Law

Subrogation

Subrogation is a fairly general concept, with a rather specific application in injury law. For our purposes, it occurs when an insurance company seeks repayment for money already disbursed to an injured insured from a source that otherwise would have gone to that same insured. It occurs when an insurance company tries to recover expenses it paid on a claim when someone else should have been responsible for paying (at least some) of that claim.

For example, imagine you were in a car accident with an unknown driver. The driver left the scene before you could gather any information and so you’re left holding the bag. You make a claim with your insurance company to cover your injuries and damages, and your insurance pays some of your claim. Later, your insurance company tracks down the man who hit you and, on your behalf, recovers some of the amount he owes you. If your insurance company is paid the amount they initially paid to you, that’s subrogation.

Subrogation is a controversial issue because of the made-whole rule. Until an injury victim has recovered damages sufficient to cover all his damages, his insurance company cannot seek subrogation. Like all things to do with the law, this is a complicated subject and the outcome depends heavily on your specific situation. If you have questions about subrogation and how it works, please call us today to discuss your case and learn more about your options.

Calling an Injury Attorney too Late Can Ruin Your Case

Too often we have to turn away potential personal injury clients because they called too late. Before their case could even get started, it was shut down. Leaving them with injuries and losses that will never be compensated.

In my experience, people don’t contact an injury lawyer soon after an accident for different reasons. Some believe their injury is minor or temporary, and will just go away. Others think the insurance adjuster when he says he will be fair. And some others want to avoid an cost of a lawyer by handling the claim themselves.

Honestly, there are personal injury cases where a lawyer won’t be all that much of a benefit. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re honest when there isn’t much value we can bring to a case and they would be better off handling the matter on their own.

But there are many other cases where people wait too long to contact a lawyer (or don’t contact one ever) and make serious errors that hurt their case or don’t collect the information and evidence needed to prove their case. And, even worse, some wait past the deadline for taking legal action (the statute of limitations) or call a lawyer so late that it’s impossible to take on the case.

Here’s my advice: if you have been injured because of someone else’s actions and you believe that person (or business) is at fault, call an experienced personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. Obviously, we would prefer that you call us, but at at least call someone with the knowledge and skills to evaluate your case and advise you of your rights.

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog attacks can cause painful and lasting injuries for the victims. The owners of dogs who bites bystanders are held strictly liable. This means that even if the owner was trying to control the dog, and took adequate precautions, they can still be held liable for the damage that their dogs cause.

If you’ve read other articles on our site, you know that this is a departure from the common standard. Usually, you have to prove that the other party was negligent before they can be held responsible. In the case of dog bites though, the statute creates strict liability so negligence is not an issue. The law does impose a few other restrictions though.

The law only applies within an incorporated city or town. Also, the victim must either be in a public place, or be lawfully in a private place. The upside of this is that if your dog attacks a burglar who is robbing your house, the thief can’t turn around and sue you for his injuries. But, if you are walking down the street and a dog bites you, you probably have a cause of action against the owner. So long as you meet the next requirement, which is that the dog attacked without provocation. The law will not protect someone who harasses a dog and then is attacked because of it.

Law suits in dog bite cases often focus on whether the victim harassed the dog, and whether they were trespassing at the time of the attack. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has had very few chances to address this law meaning that we don’t have a tremendous amount of guidance. But we do know a few things. In one case, a man had his hands over his neighbor’s fence. The neighbor warned him to remove his hands from the fence prior to the dog bite attack, but the man did not remove his hands. The Supreme Court ruled that this did not make him a trespasser and he could still recover for his injuries. In the same case, the man who was attacked had chased the dog with a fence post four to six weeks before the attack. The Supreme Court ruled that this did not qualify as “provocation” under the dog bite laws. While I would never recommend either course of action, it does give some idea for when the statute continues to apply.

Dog bites cause immediate physical pain, can result in the need for surgery or other rehabilitation, and often include severe psychological trauma. Dealing with the fallout from an animal attack requires skill and a delicate touch. If you or your child has been injured by a dog or animal attack, please consider calling us today for a free consultation.