About 800,000 Americans receive medical treatment for dog bites every year. If a dog owner’s pet hurts you, they are generally liable for your injuries. The dog’s owner may have to pay for the victim’s medical expenses, including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Making a claim for compensation with the dog owner’s insurance carrier or filing a dog bite injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner is the best way to receive compensation for your injuries. Put your trust in one of our experienced personal injury lawyers who can help the potential value of your dog bite injury claim.
Where Do Dog Bite Injuries Occur?
The most common dog bites occur in the home of the dog owner. Victims are typically family members, with young children being the most susceptible to dog bite injury. If you were the victim of a dog bite injury, the dog’s owner is responsible for compensating your injuries.
Here are some examples of the types of damages you may recover:
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Property damage related to the accident
- Multiple or punitive damages
Medical costs are the most apparent expenses that result from dog bite injuries, including medical bills for hospital services, medicine, or physical therapy. Victims with pre-existing conditions may require additional compensation if a dog bite injury aggravates their medical issues. For example, if a dog attacks an individual with a bad back and requires surgery after falling, the dog owner will be responsible for the surgery costs.
What Are Exemplary Damages?
When a dog owner’s conduct is incredibly reckless, a jury may award exemplary damages in your case. An example of such conduct would be training a dog to inflict harm on others and then ordering the dog to chase someone walking down the street. In these cases, though rare, accident victims can receive additional compensation. Requiring the responsible party to pay more than just amounts needed to compensate for injuries caused by the dog bite is intended to send a message that will hopefully prevent similar behavior in the future.
What Are Some Common Mistakes in Dog Bite Injury Cases?
There are several mistakes you can make as the victim of a dog bite injury. The most common mistake is failing to seek medical treatment right away. Many victims of dog bites underestimate the extent of their injuries. A dog’s mouth contains bacteria, and you can never be sure if they have rabies. Seeking medical treatment is the best way to treat open wounds caused by dog bites. After suffering a dog bite injury, going to the emergency room can provide important documentation to support your case.
Contacting the police or animal control may be the last thing on your mind after a dog bite. Be sure to take photos of a dog bite injury right away. By the time you go to trial or the case is settled, your wounds might heal. Taking pictures of your injuries right after they happen is the best way to show a jury or insurance adjuster the full extent of the damage.
Sustaining a dog bite injury can be traumatizing, leaving you unsure of the next steps. Once you contact the authorities, the incident will be well-documented, which will help prove liability in your case. You should avoid speaking to insurance adjusters whose job is to extract information from claimants in an attempt to use it against them.
Insurance companies are in the business of making as much money as possible. As a result, adjusters will often make initial settlement offers that very low. Hiring a personal injury lawyer who can advocate on your behalf will protect you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Many victims of dog bite injuries attempt to settle their case without retaining proper legal representation. Going up against a trained negotiator could pressure you into quickly settling your claim before you even realize the full extent of your injuries. Doing so may result in accepting a settlement amount that is far less than fair. Finding a lawyer who has experience with dog bite injury cases is crucial.
Our lawyers have the right experience concerning dog bite laws and how to establish liability in these cases. We are prepared to handle all communications with the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, or take the case to court if pre-litigation negotiations are not successful.
Dog Bite Injury FAQs
Can I claim damages for pain and emotional suffering in dog bite injury cases?
Yes, you can claim emotional damages and physical pain, also known as non-economic damages. A bog bite injury or mauling often results in emotional suffering or distress. Victims of dog bite injury may find it difficult to sleep, go outside, or develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pain, emotional distress and physical disfigurement following a dog bite injury are forms of recoveable non-economic damages.
Can I recover lost income after a dog bite injury?
Yes, victims of dog bite injuries often need time off work for medical care. You are entitled to reimbursement for any income you lose as a result of time missed form work due to dog bite injuries.
A dog attacked me; what should I do next?
If you have suffered a dog bite injury, seek medical attention right away and report the incident to local law enforcement or animal control. It is essential to document the incident through a written record of the accident or photos of your injuries should you decide to pursue a claim.
What does strict liability in dog bite injury cases mean?
Dog owners are liable under the strict liability statute if their dog causes harm to another party, whether the owner does something negligent or not.
What if I was bitten by the dog, and I’m not sure who the owner is?
Report the incident to animal control as soon as possible if you aren’t sure who the owner is. Seek medical attention soon after and be sure to get a rabies shot.
What is my dog bite case worth?
The details of your case and severity of your injuries will ultimately determine case value. Factors such as permanent disfigurement, extent of medical expenses and the circumstances under which the dog bite occurred can impact a case’s value. Speaking with a legal professional is the best way to get the most reasonable estimate of what your case is likely worth.