Book guides dog-bite victims through legal mazeWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Toledo attorneys have collaborated on “The Ohio Dog Bite Book,” a guide to help victims understand their rights in dealing with insurance settlements and legal action against the owners.
They self-published the book in July, and although priced at $9.95, they will provide a hard copy or online version free of charge.
Charles Boyk, Dale Emch and Mike Bruno, all with the Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, have handled dozens of dog-bite cases, learning that victims too often fail to fully understand their legal standing and, consequently, make poor decisions, according to Boyk. He said a surge in serious injuries during the past five years in part inspired the co-authors to write the book. Small children tend to suffer the brunt of the attacks, often left with facial scars from the traumatic experience.
“A lot of it is common sense, but a lot of it, you kind would kick yourself afterward and say, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’” Boyk asked. “In an emergency situation, it’s a lot better to know what to do ahead of time so you can just do it naturally.”
Working from the premise that “knowledge is power,” the attorneys hope to educate the public, as well as their clients, to improve their ability to facilitate the process of litigation, protect victim’s rights and ultimately arrive at the most beneficial solution.
The book’s release also coincides with legislation under consideration at the state congress, where revisions have been introduced to an existing bill easing the ban on ownership of pit bulls. Boyk, who owns a friendly Doberman pinscher named Gus, said he agrees with the ban based on his history of litigation representing victims attacked by them.
“One of the big fears is these pit bulls are walking around uninsured, so if you get bit by this dog, there’s really no insurance coverage for the vast majority of pit bulls,” he added. “I’ve never actually had a case against a pit bull where the person had insurance coverage or if they did, once the insurance company became aware of it, they immediately canceled the person.”
In cases where insurance does cover the damages, victims may settle for less than the full extent of the medical bills and other expenses, according to Emch. Insurance companies, like all businesses, act in their own best interests in trying to settle claims for as little as possible. Adjusters may call victims and rush them to accept an offer, waiving their rights to any future litigation.
Emch said such tactics do no favors for the victims.
“Are some insurance companies unfair when they evaluate these claims? Yeah, I’ll say that; I think they are,” he said. “I’ve also dealt with other insurance companies and adjusters who have been extremely fair. And they realized how hurt the clients were and they gave fair compensation.”
“The Ohio Dog Bite Book” is the third of a series of client guidebooks by Boyk, Emch and Brunno. For more information or a free copy, visit the Web site www.charlesboyk-law.com.