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How Much Can You Sue for a Dog Attack?

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September 14, 2023 Personal Injury

A dog attack can leave you with medical bills, lost income, lingering pain, fear, and physical and emotional trauma. If this happens to you, hire a dog bite lawyer to recover the compensation you need to pay for those losses. A dog bite lawyer can file your insurance claim, negotiate a settlement, and file a lawsuit if the insurer doesn’t offer you sufficient compensation for your losses. Your lawyer will calculate all of your damages and determine how much you can sue for after a dog attacks you.

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Dog Bite Laws

How Much Can You Sue for a Dog Attack

Before discussing the factors that may influence the payment you can receive in your dog attack case, you need an attorney who understands the law related to dog bites.

Proving a claim generally involves demonstrating that the defendant owned the dog, the dog attacked and harmed the plaintiff, and the plaintiff did not provoke the dog.

Dog bite laws generally hold dog owners liable for the damages their pets cause. Liability can extend to medical costs, emotional distress, and loss of income if you cannot work due to your injuries.

Differences in Dog Bite Laws by State

While all states have dog bite laws, the specifics can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

Some states operate under a one-bite rule, which protects an owner from liability if the dog has not previously shown aggressive behavior.

Other states use strict liability, holding the dog owner liable for damages regardless of the dog’s past conduct.

Call a lawyer who knows the state laws where the incident occurred. A dog bite injury attorney can explain your rights and decide how to pursue damages against the liable party.

Local Dog Bite Laws

State dog bite laws can significantly affect the likelihood of receiving compensation for your injuries. Cities, towns, and municipalities may have additional dog laws or regulations that could affect your claim.

An experienced dog bite lawyer will understand how those laws apply to your case.

Compensation in Dog Attack Cases

When you submit a dog attack claim or lawsuit, you need a lawyer with a comprehensive grasp of the factors influencing your compensation: the severity of your injuries, medical expenses, loss of income, emotional suffering, and the impact on your life.

The Severity of the Injury

Severe injuries lead to higher medical bills and more pain and suffering, harming the victim’s quality of life. A significant injury can also increase the likelihood of a disability or other lifelong ailment. Severe injuries usually command higher compensation in a dog attack case.

Medical Costs Incurred

Medical costs from a dog attack may include fees for emergency room visits, surgery, medication, hospitalization, ongoing treatments, and rehabilitation.

Document all medical bills and expenses in connection with the dog attack. You may face debilitating injuries that require ongoing medical support and care. A dog bite attorney can include these costs in a claim on your behalf.

Loss of Income Following a Dog Attack

You may recover compensation for loss of income and earning capacity if severe injuries keep you out of work, temporarily or permanently. This could significantly add to the value of your claim or lawsuit.

Emotional Trauma, Pain, and Suffering

Emotional trauma and distress often accompany physical injuries from a dog attack. Victims might experience post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and fear of dogs, lowering their quality of life.

You can recover compensation for this pain and suffering in a dog attack case. With a lawyer’s help, you can significantly increase the compensation you recover for these noneconomic damages.

Adverse Effects on Quality of Life

Some dog attack victims suffer injuries that reduce their ability to engage in physical activities, change their relationships, or diminish their enjoyment of life. Your lawyer can maximize your compensation for these losses.

Negligence in Dog Attack Cases

Negligence in dog attack cases can significantly influence the outcome of your claim.

Negligence, in the context of dog attacks, refers to the failure of a dog owner to exercise reasonable care to prevent their dog from attacking or harming others. This includes letting a dog off the leash in a public place, failing to secure a yard properly, or not adhering to specific animal control laws. If the plaintiff can prove the dog owner’s negligence resulted in a dog attack, the victim may have a strong compensation case.

A victim may pursue a negligence claim in some states that have not enacted strict liability for dog bites. A dog bite attorney can explain your options after evaluating your case.

How to Determine the Value of a Dog Attack Lawsuit

To calculate damages in a dog attack case, compile all expenses relevant to the incident, including medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income, and other fees. Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, require a lawyer to quantify. A knowledgeable dog bite lawyer can calculate and include all the damages in your case to maximize your compensation.

Role of Insurance Companies in Determining Compensation

Insurance companies play a significant role in dog bite compensation cases. The dog owner’s home or rental insurance policy often covers dog bite liability.

An insurance company usually tries to reduce payouts to protect its bottom line. They may dispute the severity of your injuries, blame you for the attack, or persuade you to accept a lower settlement than you deserve.

Experienced legal representation protects your rights and interests during settlement negotiations with insurance companies.

Why You Need a Dog Attack Lawyer for Your Case

Hiring a skilled dog bite lawyer can influence the outcome of your dog attack case. An attorney has the experience and knowledge to navigate complicated legal and insurance issues, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, advocate for your rights in court. They can also estimate the value of your claim, ensuring that you seek a fair and adequate settlement or judgment that reflects the full scope of your injuries.

After a Dog Attacked, You Have Rights

Keith Fuicelli, Lawyer for Dog Bite

Keith Fuicelli, Dog Bite Attorney

A dog attack can cause significant harm, but a personal injury lawyer can recover compensation to pay for the treatment of your injuries and your pain and suffering. If you or a loved one falls victim to a dog attack, get accurate information from a reputable dog bite attorney about how the law affects your case.