Dog bite attacks have the potential to leave serious injuries. In addition to potentially extensive medical bills, it might also leave psychological trauma or even disfigurement that could affect a person’s livelihood. Fortunately, to alleviate the financial stress, there is compensation available, known as damages. A capable dog attack attorney could work with you to assess what damages are available in a Chesterton dog bite case.
One type of damages available in dog bite claims is economic damages, which include medical bills and lost wages – anything that one can put a dollar value on.
Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, mental stress, or disfigurement from the dog bite. Finally, in some situations, an individual may be entitled to punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant for willful misconduct.
Damages from a dog bite can often include medical bills and lost wages, but most result in substantial non-economic damages. The owner of the animal is responsible for the physical pain and mental suffering sustained as a result of the incident. Additionally, if the attack leaves any permanent marks or scarring, the individual is entitled to recover damages for these elements as well.
A plaintiff has the right to try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company themselves. However, they will likely have no frame of reference as to what a jury typically awards in these types of cases and the insurance adjuster will be looking out for the interests of the insurance company, not the plaintiff. Further, the value of dog bite claims can vary from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how serious the injury is.
Therefore, it is important to speak with a local lawyer who will be in a better position to advise someone on the calculation of non-economic damages following a dog bite. Even after paying the attorney’s fee, plaintiffs typically receive more money than they would have if they negotiated a settlement on their own.
If the insurance company and attorney cannot agree on a fair value to settle a dog bite case, the next step is litigation. Litigation involves taking the case in front of a jury to decide how much the injury is worth. There are no particular guidelines for valuing these types of cases.
An experienced lawyer could argue the case for damages to the jury in an attempt to receive the largest possible result following a dog bite. The insurance company, meanwhile, would argue that the injury was not particularly severe. A jury will then make the final decision as to the value of the case.
Among the evidence a lawyer could present is testimony from the plaintiff, photographs taken at different stages of the healing process, testimony from a plastic surgeon regarding the possibility of scar revision, and an examination of the healed scar itself. The purpose of presenting this evidence is to obtain the highest possible jury verdict for the injuries.
In order to receive a settlement from a dog bite case, one must prove that the owner of the dog is responsible. Most of the time, this is easy to prove. However, the owner can introduce evidence that the plaintiff was antagonizing or harassing the dog, which caused the attack. If a jury decides that the person provoked the dog into an attack, it can result in a reduction of the damages received, or even in no recovery at all.
In rare circumstances, a person may be entitled to punitive damages in a dog bite case. Punitive damages are meant to punish the owner of the dog.
In order to be eligible for punitive damages, there must be evidence that the owner acted in a manner which warrants punishment. For example, if they directed the dog to attack someone without provocation or justification, that may lead to the imposition of punitive damages. It also serves as a warning to others who might consider similar behavior.
If you sustained injuries a dog bite, you are entitled to seek recovery from the insurance company. It is not a direct claim against the owner of the dog. Many people feel badly about bringing a claim against a neighbor, friend, or relative, but the damages awarded in Chesterton dog bite claims mainly come from the insurance company. For a free consultation on what you could recover, call an attorney today.