When a dog bites a victim, the injuries inflicted can be severe. Every year, an average of 43 people lose their lives due to fatal dog bite injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It can be difficult to determine the average dog bite settlement since each case is entirely unique. You can gain a better understanding of the potential value of your case by learning what factors influence settlement amounts.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Dog Bite Claim?
Determining the potential value of a dog bite injury claim begins with identifying your compensable losses. These are the economic and noneconomic losses you suffered because of the incident. They may include:
Medical bills (including future required care or treatments)
Veterinary bills, if your pet was injured in the attack
Lost capacity to earn due to a long-term injury or disability
You or your dog bite injury lawyer will need to prove these losses using evidence such as medical records, letters from your doctor or therapist, bills, receipts, photographs, and an injury journal.
Calculating the Value of Your Dog Bite Case
You can calculate your economic damages by adding together all financial costs associated with the dog attack, including future estimated expenses. However, your noneconomic damages will be more difficult to estimate. Also known as pain and suffering, noneconomic damages are more subjective and do not come with hard numbers such as medical bills.
It is up to a judge or jury to assign an amount in noneconomic damages they deem appropriate based on the facts of the case. One common method used is to multiply a victim’s economic damages by a number between 1.5 and 5 which represents the severity of the injuries. Using this equation may give you an idea of your case’s value. However, it is important to remember that noneconomic damage amounts can vary significantly.
Factors That Affect Dog Bite Injury Settlements
An “average” settlement value does not exist. Some claimants receive several thousand dollars from insurance companies for minor injuries while victims with catastrophic or permanent injuries may be eligible for six-figure or seven-figure jury verdicts.
Many factors play a role in calculating an appropriate dog bite settlement value, including:
The extent and severity of the injuries
Whether there is any permanent disability, scarring or disfigurement
The total cost of past and future required medical treatment
The amount of lost wages incurred
Any future lost capacity to earn due to a long-term disability
The physical, emotional, and psychological impact of the attack
A new phobia (fear) of dogs
The amount of insurance coverage available
Whether the dog owner was negligent
In Connecticut, pet owners are held liable, or financially responsible, for injuries caused by their dogs regardless of the question of negligence. This means you may be eligible for a settlement from the pet owner’s insurance company as a dog bite victim. Seek a just amount in financial compensation by hiring a dog bite attorney to represent you during negotiations. Contact Loughlin & FitzGerald, P.C. to request a free consultation about your case.