Whether you can claim compensation for a dog bite depends on your situation, including where you live and the circumstances of the attack. It also depends on whether the dog had a history of aggression and if the owner knew about it.
To seek compensation for a dog bite, you can seek help from a dog bite attorney. Each state has different laws regarding dangerous dogs, and your lawyer can walk you through the process. In addition, many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations where you can get answers to your questions.
You Could Recover These Damages After a Dog Bite
When you get bit by a dog, you could seek compensation for the different types of damages you incur. An attorney can evaluate your case to determine the damages you could seek. Then, they can collect evidence to prove you sustained them, including receipts, invoices, and estimates.
Your lawyer may hope to resolve your case through an insurance claim, which could involve negotiating with an insurance company. If that doesn’t work out, you could file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner and request compensation at the discretion of a judge and jury.
Whether through a claim or lawsuit, compensable losses in your case may comprise:
After a dog bite, you will likely need medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries could heal with a Band-Aid, you should still get them checked out by a medical professional. Dogs carry bacteria in their mouths that could cause serious infections.
Additionally, if you don’t know if the dog that bit you has updated rabies vaccines, you could require a regimen of vaccines yourself.
Other medical care you could require after a dog bite includes:
- Wound care
- Cleaning care
- Skin grafts
- Reconstructive surgery
These treatments cost money. However, by filing a claim against the dog’s owner, you could get coverage for these and other losses.
If your injury affects your ability to work in any way, you could seek compensation for lost earnings. Compensable losses may include lost tips, bonuses, commissions, contracts, and employee benefits.
An attorney can calculate the value of your past and future lost income to determine how much compensation to seek. Regardless of how long you had to miss work because of a dog bite, you deserve to seek compensation for that loss.
Other Financial Losses
Dog bites can cause other financial losses outside of medical bills and lost income. Before filing a claim against the liable party, an attorney can evaluate any out-of-pocket injury-related expenses. Then, they can include those costs in your case’s overall value.
You could recover costs associated with:
- Wound care: If you sustained a deep wound, you might find yourself at your local drugstore purchasing gauze, Band-Aids, or antibacterial ointments. These costs add up. If you keep the receipts to prove you sustained these losses, you could include those costs in your claim.
- Childcare: Your injuries could compromise your ability to care for your children. As a result, you may need to hire a nanny or another childcare service to look after them. You can include those costs in your claim by keeping track of how much you spent.
- Travel expenses: If you require follow-up care, you could have to travel to a hospital several times. The cost of gas or other travel-related expenses could add up. Keep receipts of gas and food you had to purchase while traveling to these appointments so you can prove you accrued these costs.
Again, an attorney can ensure that you include all extra costs associated with your injuries. You don’t want to miss out on recovering any compensation you deserve.
Pain and Suffering
Suffering any injury is painful. This discomfort can affect your mental health and overall quality of life in the near future. Compensation for pain and suffering accounts for those hardships. How much you can recover depends on many things, including the extent of your injury and the details of the incident.
Without an attorney, the insurance company could try to avoid paying for non-economic damages. However, when you have a strong legal team on your side, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently accepting a lowball offer.
After a dog bites you, you could feel emotionally distressed and reasonably so. Undergoing medical procedures, such as rabies shots, can leave you highly stressed. This stress could lead to other emotional issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Also, a dog bite could cause you to feel fearful around dogs in the future. Many dog bite victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. If you have experienced any emotional distress, you could include those damages in your claim.
Your attorney can help you calculate the value of these damages. Also, they can speak to mental health care providers and get their testimony to learn about the emotional issues dog bites can cause. Then, they can use that testimony to support the value of your losses.
How Much Compensation Could I Recover Through a Dog Bite Claim?
As noted, an attorney could review your recoverable damages to determine how much compensation you could claim after a dog bite. Each case has very different circumstances. Therefore, it’s difficult to put a monetary value on a potential case without knowing the facts.
Aside from the cost of your damages, other factors that could influence the amount of compensation you could recover include:
- The severity of the injury
- The impact the injury will have on your life
- Whether the bite caused disfigurement
- The extent of the medical care you required
- The other party’s role in the incident
Your attorney can consider these factors when calculating your case’s value. By partnering with an attorney, you can get an accurate estimate regarding how much compensation you could seek for your dog bite claim.
Considerations After a Dog Bites and Injures You
After the dog bite, the following steps could ensure you have a strong case:
Gather and Keep Evidence
If possible, take pictures of your injuries and anything from the scene that could indicate what happened. Also, keep the clothes you wore when the incident occurred. They could provide key insight into the attack and the extent of your condition.
Look for cameras around the area where the incident occurred to see if any cameras caught the attack on video. If so, your attorneys could request that video footage from the owner.
If anyone saw the dog attack take place, obtain their contact information. Their testimony could provide insight into what happened from a third-party perspective. You could also identify witnesses who didn’t see the actual attack but have seen the dog act dangerously in the past.
It’s okay if you left the incident scene and don’t know who could validate your experience. Your lawyer could consult with field experts and use their testimony to support your claim. For instance, they may consult with veterinarians and animal behavioral specialists to glean insight into the dog’s aggression.
Consider Contacting a Dog Bite Injury Attorney
Soon after the incident, you should consider contacting an attorney to help with your case. They will know the dog laws in your state and your rights as an injury victim. With an attorney on your side, you can have someone fight to recover the compensation you need to move forward after this traumatic incident.
By taking these steps, you could streamline the claims process and secure the compensation you need to account for your losses. Additionally, if you contact an attorney soon after the incident, you can ensure that you meet your state’s statute of limitations. By meeting the deadline, you won’t miss out on the opportunity to seek compensation for your losses through a lawsuit.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Seek Compensation for a Dog Bite?
A personal injury attorney can add significant support to your case. They have your interests in mind when seeking what you deserve from the liable party. To secure the financial recovery you need, they can:
Investigate the Dog’s History of Aggression
Some states have mixed-liability systems in place for dog bites. For instance, New York makes the dog’s owner strictly liable for your medical bills and any veterinary costs resulting from the incident. This means, even if the dog had never acted aggressively before, the owner generally must pay for your medical bills.
Yet, matters can change when it comes to pursuing other damages, such as lost income and pain and suffering. Here, you must demonstrate that the dog had a history of aggression, and the owner knew but failed to protect others. To recover these losses, a lawyer can assert the dog’s history of aggression and use that information to support your case.
Investigate the Details of the Attack
You need supporting evidence to claim compensation for a dog bite.
Your lawyer can find and use the following information when seeking what you need:
- The dog’s vaccination and veterinary records
- Photos of the injury
- Any videos of the incident itself
- Receipts and bills for various injury-related expenses
- Eyewitness and field consultant testimony
The more information your lawyer has, the more willing the insurer could be to settle. This information can also come in handy if a lawsuit could yield compensation for your losses.
Prove the Dog Owner’s Negligence
If you live in a state that has strict liability for dog bites, you don’t have to prove negligence. You must only show that the dog bit you, and you suffered injuries. Yet, some states require that you prove negligence on the part of the dog’s owner, or like New York, that the owner knew of the dogs vicious propensity before your bite
This requires demonstrating:
- The dog’s owner had an obligation to keep the animal from hurting others.
- The dog’s owner failed to do this.
- You suffered injuries and did not provoke the animal.
- You have damages.
The third factor is especially important since the dog’s owner may insist you provoked the attack. Yet, using your case’s evidence, your lawyer can combat these accusations and pursue financial recovery.
Fight for Compensation
Once your attorney finishes investigating your case, they can fight for the compensation you need.
They may do this by:
- Filing an insurance claim. Here, your lawyer can use their skills to negotiate with the liable insurer. For instance, if a dog bit you at a friend’s house, you could file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance to recover damages. During this process, your lawyer can manage communications with the insurer and protect your rights.
- Attending mediation. Before filing a lawsuit, or even while a lawsuit is pending, your lawyer may try to resolve your case through mediation. Here, you sit down with the at-fault party and a neutral mediator who hopes to guide the conversation toward a fair resolution. If you and the other party can come to an agreement, you could get compensated without going to court.
- Filing a civil lawsuit. If filing a successful insurance claim isn’t possible, your lawyer must sue the dog’s owner. This requires following your state’s filing deadlines, taking depositions, and advocating for you at trial.
Handling a dog bite case on your own comes with many potential complications some of which you don’t want to deal with while recovering from a traumatic event. However, when you have an attorney represent you, they can protect your right to seek compensation while also offering comprehensive advocacy.
You Can Claim Compensation for a Dog Bite and a Lawyer Can Help
Contacting a legal advocate who understands the laws surrounding these issues can help your case. Dog bite laws vary by state and local government. Because these laws vary, it helps to hire a Long Island personal injury attorney who understands the legal process. When you have a lawyer, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing everything possible to pursue financial recovery.