There are some personal injury lawyers who have injury settlement calculators on their websites. There you will input a few numbers and it will come out with some figure that supposedly tells you how much your injury lawsuit is worth.
Ultimately, those are entirely unreliable.
Two dog bite injury victims can bring the same lawsuit against a dog owner with the same set of injuries, medical costs, and lost wages, yet receive vastly different settlements.
Here, we’ll discuss the factors that go into determining what an award settlement will look like.
What an Injured Party is Entitled to Collect in a Dog Bite Lawsuit
There are three basic categories for damages that an injured party is entitled to collect in a personal injury lawsuit. Those include:
● Compensatory economic damages
● Compensatory non-economic damages
● Punitive damages
Compensatory economic damages include:
● Medical expenses
● Lost wages
● Loss of earning ability
Compensatory non-economic damages include:
● Pain and suffering
● Emotional trauma
● Physical impairment
● Loss of enjoyment
● Inability to do the things you once enjoyed
● Inability to do household chores
● Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are awarded when the dog owner behaved in a willfully malicious way or knew that the dog had a tendency toward aggression and violence and did not attempt to take reasonable steps to prevent future attacks.
Economic damages are easy to account for. Non-economic damages are calculated on a per diem basis. That means a number is assigned to each day that you experienced pain or emotional trauma. This number is at the discretion of the jury. There’s no legitimate way to predict what number the jury will assign for daily suffering.
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors
There are some instances in which a jury may award a plaintiff more money than an average settlement or less money than an average settlement.
In cases where there is permanent scarring or permanent nerve damage, the jury is likely to award a plaintiff significantly more money than they otherwise would.
If the owner of the dog can show that the plaintiff provoked the dog in any way, then the plaintiff is likely to receive much less money than they otherwise would.
In addition, the owner’s conduct can leave them liable for punitive damages, which would see the plaintiff’s award also increase.
The Owner’s Homeowners Insurance
Unfortunate as this may be, there are several instances in which the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy dictates what kind of reward the injured party receives. Typically, homeowners insurance policies offer liability coverage in the range of $100,000 to $300,000.
In certain instances, a homeowner’s coverage may not include various types of dog bites. This is especially true if the dog owner behaved with reckless disregard for others or behaved with willful malice.
The owner’s homeowners insurance is unlikely to cover liability if the incident did not take place within or around their property.
Insurance companies can deny claims for certain breeds of dogs, especially Dobermans and Pit Bulls.
If the dog’s owner has animal insurance, that’s great. If not, you have to sue the owner directly. Your chances of recovering compensation for the dog bite go down considerably. Nonetheless, it’s your right to sue.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have been bitten by a dog, the personal injury attorneys at RMD Law can help prepare your case. Give us a call at (949) 326-5000 or contact us online and we’ll begin working on your lawsuit immediately.