There are no restrictions on the compensation a plaintiff can request in a dog bite case. In a lawsuit, they can seek the total value of the victim’s legal damages. Dog bite cases frequently have a value of $50,000 or less.
The victim may be able to sue for more money if the injuries are serious because the legal damages are frequently higher. The victim’s recovery may be hampered by the state’s dog bite legislation and shared fault guidelines.
How much can dog bite victims sue for in a dog bite case?
Dog bite victims can file a lawsuit to recover money to cover their legal costs. That extends beyond only covering the victim’s medical expenses. In some circumstances, the judgment or settlement will be paid for by the dog owner’s insurance provider. It frequently requires the legal counsel of a personal injury attorney to recover the whole amount.
Dog bite victims suffer legal repercussions. These are all the consequences of a dog attack that they have experienced, whether they are material, psychological, emotional, or financial.
Legal damages for a victim consist of the following:
- lost wages
- medical bills
- lost earning ability, if the condition is severe enough to interfere with one’s career,
- Pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- loss of cohesion for the victim’s loved ones and family
- property damage.
These legal damages should be paid to the victims as financial compensation. It holds even if the dog owner’s mistake was the only reason for the incident. If there is a negligent defendant and an innocent victim, the accident and the harm it caused are the defendant’s fault.
It depends from case to case what the full value of the compensation is.
- Victims may only be able to recover several hundred dollars assuming the injuries were minor.
- The victim may file a lawsuit for thousands of dollars if they suffer serious injuries.
However, depending on the state, the average compensation for a dog bite case in 2019 ranged from $35,000 to $50,000. However, those sums have been rising. The typical settlement amount in 2019 was $44,760, which grew to $50,425 in 2020.
What about punitive damages?
Punitive damages are also a type of legal damage. Although they would reimburse the victim excessively, these damages are intended to punish the dog owner. Punitive damages are, however, infrequently granted in dog bite instances. The court would not have granted punitive damages unless the dog owner had acted particularly irresponsibly.
Whether the dog owner possesses insurance coverage will significantly determine whether the victim will get any compensation. Dog bite liability covers both renters’ insurance and homeowners’ insurance. However, only some dog owners possess this kind of insurance.
Does insurance cover dog bites?
Even individuals who own renter’s or homeowner’s insurance may forego this protection to save money with premium payments. If the dog owner does not have insurance, they will be responsible for paying any judgment or settlement out of their assets, and it may be doubtful that the victim gets what they are due.
Establishing an attorney-client relationship with a personal injury lawyer from a reputable law firm is the best approach for dog bite victims to obtain reimbursement for all their legal damages.
An insurance adjuster will approach the victim immediately after the incident and make the first settlement offer if the dog owner is insured. This offer deliberately underpays the victim while making it look alluring.
A Las Vegas dog bite attorney will know whether it is sufficient. A dog bite lawyer can assist the victim in filing a personal injury case before the statute of limitations has run out if no just settlement offer has been offered.
A lawyer can assist in identifying those persons accountable for the dog attack while suing the dog owner to obtain any potential compensation if the dog owner is not covered.
What are the most common dog bite injuries?
The severity of the victim’s injuries will significantly determine how much a dog bite victim may receive in damage. Injuries brought on by dog bites include:
- lacerations, several of which can result in fatal blood loss
- nerve damage
- scarring and disfigurement
- trauma to the brain, such as concussions
Many of these necessitate urgent medical care in the emergency department. Some people need intensive medical care, which may include pain control and physical therapy. Sometimes they cause the victim to become permanently disabled, which can incur significant medical costs that health insurance may be unable to pay for.
However, not all wounds are physical. The following are some non-physical harm that dog bite victims typically experience:
- A fear of dogs
- Chronic pain
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
How does my state’s dog bite law affect a case?
A state’s dog bite law might or might not make dog owners strictly liable for an assault committed by their pet. The victim must prove negligence on the dog owner’s part if it fails to establish strict liability. It may be more challenging to prove a case with this added component. A verdict or settlement sum may change as a result.
Dog bite legislation generally falls into one of two categories:
- the one bite rule
- strict liability laws
Some states utilize the one-bite rule, which holds dog owners accountable for a dog bite only if the victim can prove that the owner was aware of the dog’s harmful tendencies or should have been aware of them. It is known as the “one bite” rule because a previous bite proves the owner knows the risk. However, other proof, such as the testimony or records of an animal control officer, may also be sufficient.
However, the majority of states have strong responsibility laws for dog bites. In these states, even if a dog owner did nothing illegal, they are responsible for any injury their dog causes.
Trespassers could not, however, be able to rely on strict liability statutes, and they frequently need to provide evidence that the dog owner was careless in some way.
In jurisdictions with strict liability laws, winning a dog-bite lawsuit is more straightforward and may alter the judgment or compensation that a victim can anticipate.
How may share fault laws affect my dog bite settlement?
The shared fault statutes of the jurisdiction may also influence a dog bite settlement. Even more so, it might make it challenging for victims to receive any restitution for their injuries.
Shared fault laws mediate the conflict in situations where the victim is partly to blame for their injuries. They frequently occur in collisions involving two negligent drivers. Two categories of shared fault rules exist:
Under both of these standards, the jury in a case involving personal injuries must determine how much blame each party bears for the event.
Virginia is one of the few states that still applies contributory negligence. In these states, victims cannot receive compensation for their injuries if they contributed to them.
Comparative negligence laws are used in most states. Two categories of comparative negligence exist:
- Modified comparative negligence
- pure comparative negligence
Pure comparative negligence states like California deduct the plaintiff’s percentage of culpability from their recovery.
In jurisdictions like Ohio that apply modified comparative negligence, the extent of the plaintiff’s negligence diminishes their compensation. However, the plaintiff will not be able to receive any compensation if they are more than 50% at fault.
The amount of compensation the victim receives depends on which rule is used in a particular circumstance. Shared culpability laws might lower the amount of a settlement or judgment if the victim contributed to the dog bite, for instance, if they were agitating or disturbing the animal.
What is the statute of limitations for dog bite claims?
The statute of limitations for dog bites varies by state. These laws specify a window of opportunity for the victim to sue the dog’s owner for a dog bite. They typically range in age from one to three years.
The victim’s case will probably be dismissed as time-barred if they bring their personal injury claim right after the statute of limitations runs out.
What to Do After a Dog Bite?
After being bitten by a dog, you can be so furious that you consider suing the owner to exact revenge or since you feel forced to.
You should, however, consider the advantages and disadvantages of going to court. If you decide that filing a lawsuit is your best course of action, consider the best time to do it and whether it will be worthwhile.
Although not everyone has this protection, dog bites are generally covered by a pet owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. If the pet owner that injured you has no insurance or property, obtaining a judgment or getting money might not be possible. With the help of a dog bite attorney, you should carefully explore your options before deciding not to pursue this justification.
If you decide not to sue, you may change your mind. Minor wounds can not show symptoms for weeks, or they might get worse over time. A doctor’s evaluation of your injury is a wise idea. After then, you ought to speak with a lawyer.
A dog bite attorney is the best person to assess the worth of your dog bite lawsuit. More extensive injuries (or worse circumstances) typically result in larger monetary settlements.
But remember that, depending on your state’s statute of limitations, you must file most injury claims within one or two years.
Consult a Dog Bite Attorney Now
Regardless of whether your injuries were caused by another person’s dog or your own, you should consider contact with a dog bite attorney to determine how local laws apply to your case and an appropriate course of action.
The Dog Bite King Law Group can assist victims of dog bites. When someone else’s negligence caused injuries, we have helped clients receive sizeable settlements for their suffering.
We will work closely with you and any family members on your dog bite claim, explain the legal process, and help you get the justice you deserve.
For more information or questions, call us at (702) 364-2483.