Every year, there are about 4.7 million dog bites that change the lives of individuals forever. These harmful incidents make up about 1/3 of the total homeowner liability claims in the U.S. Despite this staggering statistic, only 15,000 people actually file claims to assert their rights as dog bite victims.
In many instances, a person may not be aware that he or she is entitled to receive compensation for a dog bite claim. One may not know the dog bite laws for his or her state, or one may think that his or her damages are too low to recover on a claim.
The reality for dog bite victims is far from this idea. Dog bite victims should become educated about their legal rights, because their damages may far exceed the cost of medical expenses. Even if a person has only a couple thousand dollars in medical expenses, a jury may determine that a person is entitled to over $300,000 for the pain and suffering, loss of consortium or other intangible factors that an individual has experienced.Look At The Person As A Whole and Assessing the Dog Bite Incident
You may be wondering, “How much is my dog bite claim worth?” There is no easy, complete and instant answer to this question. However, you should be aware that courts will consider the “person as a whole” to assess your dog bite situation. This means that a judge or jury will consider the individual facts of your case to determine the appropriate level of damages that you should receive for your case.
For example, perhaps a pit bull dog bites a young child. Perhaps the damages of the child only amount to a couple thousand dollars to treat the bite that he or she has suffered. In addition, maybe the child suffers from recurring nightmares, emotional trauma and psychological issues as a result of the dog bite. In this case, a jury could determine that a child’s damages are well in excess of just a couple thousand dollars.Individual Circumstances Matter for Dog Bite Cases
The individual circumstances of a person truly matter for dog bite cases. Depending on the facts of a dog bite victim’s case, he or she may be eligible to receive one or more of the following types of damages:
- Medical Expenses: This is the most common form of damages that dog bite victims have. These costs can include the cost of an operation or surgery, medical treatment for wounds, prescriptions, an ambulance ride to the hospital, emergency room visit or stay, and any following treatments that may be required. This can also include additional visits to the doctor or costs for physical therapy.
- Lost Wages: Adults who suffer from dog bite injuries may need to miss work as a result of their injury. A judge or jury may award damages based on the amount of work already missed, as well as any future lost wages that a person may suffer.
- Pain and Suffering: This is a form of “intangible” damages that can include mental, physical and emotional suffering. A fact finder has greater leeway to determine the amount of damages for this aspect of damages. A child may require additional attention or counseling after a dog has bitten him or her. It is not uncommon for adults to also require psychological treatment after they have received a dog bite.
- Loss of Consortium: In the worst cases, a person may have a permanent disfigurement or disability as a result of a dog bite. This disability may prevent a person from doing things that he or she once loved. This is also an “intangible” form of damages in which a fact finder has greater discretion to award damages.
A valuation of a dog bite claim is not as simple as figuring out the total cost of medical expenses. Often, a person’s individual circumstances will be taken into consideration or should be considered by the attorney handling the case. Illinois dog bite injury lawyers have experience in handling these claims, and they can assess your case based on the facts of your individual case.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to receive immediate help for your dog bite case. Our lawyers are well-versed in damages that may be available in dog bite cases. Our attorneys know that a case is not as straightforward as it may initially seem and may require the attention of a judge or jury.