A dog bite case does not have a fixed settlement amount; they differ case by case. An attorney is the best resource for finding out just how much you can receive for your injury claim.
Dog attacks are vicious, traumatic experiences, and they are often unexpected. Whether the victim is an adult or child, these injuries will potentially stay with them emotionally and physically for the rest of their life, especially if disfigurement is involved. The more heinous the attack, the more likely it is that the victim will require years of reconstructive surgery, will possibly have permanent disfigurement, and will suffer the mental trauma that comes from a dog attack.
Monetary compensation for a dog attack varies widely. Numerous factors go into determining how much a claim is worth, and no two cases are the same. Therefore, the only way to honestly know how much your case is worth is to speak with an attorney. An injury attorney that specializes in dog attack cases is more in-tune with the latest court settlements, and they know how much a case is worth just by reviewing your medical records and going over the details of the incident.
On Average, Dog Attack Cases See over $32,000 in Compensation
While there is no easy way to calculate a specific settlement, the Insurance Journal stated that, in 2014, the average settlement amount was $32,000 or higher for injury cases stemming from dog attacks.
However, they also noted that these cases have increased by 67 percent since 2013.
One reason the cost of these claims is on the rise is rising medical costs in general. Today, seeing your physician costs more than it did five years ago, and specialists along with medical procedures and hospital costs are on the rise. MarketWatch already reported the increase in healthcare related costs, costing U.S. families thousands each year just on routine care. Now, imagine what it is for specialized care, surgical procedures, and the treatments necessary to help someone recover from a vicious dog attack.
Dog attack claims are more than compensated for the medical costs. However, medical costs do account for a large portion of the compensation value. In addition to medical expenses, a victim might receive the cost of lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain, mental anguish, and emotional trauma.
Factors That Go into a Dog Bite Settlement Case
When you meet with an attorney, there are multiple factors they consider when coming up with a “fair” compensation value for your case.
Total Value of Past, Present, and Future Medical Expenses
The most significant factor in a dog attack compensation calculation is medical expenses. However, it is not just those you already paid for or you’re currently paying for, but also those in the future. You may need multiple follow-up procedures or therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Regardless, those future expenses are calculated into your compensation so that, even if you settle, you have funds ready to pay for your upcoming treatments.
Also, any expenses already paid by your health insurance will add to the calculation. Your attorney is obligated to repay your insurer for the amount they paid on your behalf. Likewise, if you have any outstanding medical debts, those would be paid with your settlement and then the remainder distributed to you.
The Permanency of the Injury
When you fully recover from the attack, you do not receive as high of a compensation value as someone who will be permanently disfigured or even disabled from the incident. For example, a person that loses a hand in an attack would not be able to work the same as they would with two hands. They are also disabled and permanently disfigured; therefore, they would receive higher compensation.
Your attorney will discuss your recovery with your physician and other medical experts. If you do have a disfigurement or a disability that will be with you the rest of your life, your attorney will ensure you get compensation for it.
Lost Wages or Loss of Earning Capacity
After a dog attack, you will miss time from work as you recover from your injuries. Sometimes, you may be unable to return to work, or you may be unable to return to the same job for the same wages. The at-fault party, usually the dog’s owner, may be required to compensate you for lost wages and any changes in your future earning capacity that are the direct result of their dog’s attack.
Total Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Limits
Unfortunately, dog bite cases run through the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, and you are limited to the policy limits. If you are awarded $750,000 in compensation but the policy only covers $500,000, then that is the most the insurer is obligated to pay. Your attorney will, of course, see if there are other ways to get the remainder from the homeowner such as going after his assets. But you might be limited to what the insurance policy pays if the owner has no other assets.
Injured in a Dog Attack? Then You Need a Lawyer Ready to Fight for Your Compensation
Whether it was you who was the victim of a vicious dog bite or a loved one, you need to know your rights. Do not rely on the insurance company to give you a fair settlement. They are hoping that you will not speak with an attorney and realize how much your case is worth. They often wait for you to find yourself overwhelmed with medical debt and lost wages so that you will take the first settlement they give.
Fight back and protect your rights to fair compensation by hiring an attorney with experience handling dog attack cases.
Contact attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today. You can reach him on his cell at 215-771-0430; his office, toll-free, at 800-465-8795; his direct office line at 215-987-3550; or you can ask him a question online. All consultations are free of charge, and there is no obligation to pay unless he recovers compensation in your case.