Millions of people are injured in dog bite incidents across the United States. A vast majority of these are unprovoked dog attacks and a number of incidents also involve young children.
A dog bite has the potential to result in painful injuries that can be costly to treat. In addition to physical injuries, dog attacks can also result in emotional pain and psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, paranoia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you were injured in a dog attack in California, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.
How is a Dog Bite Settlement Calculated?
A dog bite settlement is calculated by including all economic and non-economic damages incurred by the victim. Economic damages are relatively easier to calculate because they are simpler to quantify.
Examples of economic damages include medical expenses, lost income, cost of reconstructive surgery, psychological therapy and rehabilitation costs. On the other hand, non-economic damages are much more complicated.
For example, it can be challenging to put a price tag on the physical pain and mental suffering you endured as a result of the dog attack. The amount of money awarded for pain and suffering could depend on a number of factors including the severity of the injuries, if there is scarring and disfigurement, the age of the victim and so on.
For example, a person who has lost an arm as the result of a dog attack could be entitled to much more compensation in their dog bite lawsuit than someone who has suffered scratches and bruises in an attack.
How Much Can I Get from a Dog Bite Settlement?
Settlements for dog bites could vary significantly depending on the nature and severity of the injuries. In 2021, California ranked first in the nation as having the most dog bite claims (2,026) and the highest average dog bite settlement -- $59,561. It is important to remember that this is only the average settlement. In California, dog bite victims are entitled to receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
What is My Dog Bite Settlement Worth?
There are factors that could increase the value of your dog bite settlement. Here are some of those factors:
Injury severity: Severe injuries typically result in higher medical bills. Dog bite injuries may require cosmetic surgery to repair scarring, which could prove very expensive and may not be covered by medical insurance.
Physical injuries: Some dog attacks have the potential to cause permanent disfigurement, which could also result in severe psychological repercussions. Victims may also lose a body part such as a limb, which could disable them for life. The location of the scars could also increase the value of your settlement. For example, if your face is permanently scarred, you could receive a higher settlement.
Emotional trauma: Dog attacks can leave victims with severe emotional trauma. Children especially could show symptoms such as fear of dogs. They may need counseling and therapy to heal from the trauma they suffered in the attack.
At the same time, a victim's compensation may be diminished if the dog owner does not have a policy that covers dog bite incidents. In such cases, the compensation victims receive may be limited to the dog owner's financial resources. An experienced dog bite lawyer will be able to explore all possible avenues of compensation to maximize your dog bite settlement.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
If you did not suffer any serious injuries in the dog attack, you may not require the services of a dog bite lawyer. However, if you did suffer serious injuries that required you to get medical attention, surgery or hospitalization, an experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help you gather evidence to substantiate your claim and to show that the dog owner's negligence led to the attack and your injuries. A vast majority of dog bite cases are settled out of court. But, some cases do go to trial. So, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced trial lawyer who is well versed under the California dog bite laws.
In order to claim compensation for a dog attack, there are several steps you would be well advised to take. Get medical attention for your injuries and report the attack to the police or local animal control officials. Keep copies of the police reports and your medical reports, which show what injuries you suffered and what treatment you received. It is important to obtain the dog owner's contact information and insurance details as well. Contact an experienced dog bite attorney who will help you through what can be a complex legal process and make sure you receive maximum compensation.
If you have suffered injuries in a dog attack, the knowledgeable Los Angeles dog bite attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group, APC will help you fight for your rights. Our legal team has significant experience and a successful track record when it comes to dog bite cases. Call us to schedule a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.