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How Much Is My Dog Bite Injury Claim Worth?

How much is my dog bite injury claim worth?

Fortunately, in most instances, no one will be able to tell you what you or your child's dog bite claim is worth until the facts have been investigated, liability is firmly established, your medical treatment has concluded, and Keller & Keller LLP's attorneys have reviewed the entire case from start to finish.

Why is this a good thing?

If the amount of recovery for your dog bite claim was pre-determined by the insurance company, then there would be no opportunity for you to plead your case according to your individual circumstances. And not allowing Keller & Keller LLP to present your individual case to the insurance company based on its own unique merits could prove disastrous.  

It's not unreasonable for you to want to know the value of your case shortly following any dog bite incident, as thoughts of immediate justice and a pile of hospital bills are likely on your mind.      

However, as time passes, clients soon become thankful that no one placed a price tag on their dog bite claim. Why is this?

  • the client wasn't fully aware of their total injuries
  • the client didn't foresee the type and/or duration of treatment their injuries required
  • the client didn't anticipate the strain it would place on their personal life
  • the client didn't account for the psychological toll the attack would have in regard to their future interaction with animals 

Though these are only a few of the more common after effects that a dog bite victim cannot account for immediately following the incident, they represent some of the most critical pieces to you or your child's injury claim. And each of these examples are much more valuable if they are presented to an insurance company through medical documentation and expert legal representation, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that calls for immediate compensation.  Remember, once you sign a release, you are forever barred from any future recovery.

Lets look at a more specific scenario:

  • Client A is a 5-year-old girl that is being baby-sat at her neighbor's home when she is viciously attacked by the homeowner's dog.  The attack was unprovoked and has left the girl with deep lacerations to her arm and neck that require immediate medical attention.  After an initial consultation with a doctor it is decided that the girl will need to consult with a plastic surgeon in 6-7 months to see what type of corrective surgery is needed.
  • Client B is a 35-year-old make postal worker who is attacked by a homeowner's dog while walking his mail route.  The attack was unprovoked and has left the man with deep lacerations to his arm and neck that require immediate medical attention.  After an initial consultation with a doctor it is decided that the man may need to undergo future surgery to correct the scar tissue his arm may develop.

Despite everything we know about Clients A & B, their claims are very likely to have different values!

Even though the injuries are very similar, it is highly unlikely that clients A & B will undergo the same type of medical treatment for their injuries, respond to treatment in the same positive manner, or experience the same types of aggravation and frustration in the days and months after their incident. Each person is unique, each dog bite case is unique, and there are no exceptions to this rule.

Insurance companies will likely view client A's case more valuable in terms of the psychological effects the little girl may have from any permanent scarring that might result from her injuries.  In contrast, the insurance company will not likely place as much value on any scarring client B may have, as he is an adult male, and scarring is usually given a greater value to cases that involve children and females.

Someone told me I'll get three times my medicals. Is that true?

This formula is an estimate often thrown about in personal injury lore.  Though it is true that you may receive three times your medical bills, it's also just as likely that you'll receive more or less.  And while this answer does not provide dollars and cents, it is an honest answer, and one that will prove much more valuable to you while you recover from your injuries.

What are you entitled to in a personal injury case?

There are three components to any personal injury case:

  1. Past and future medical expenses
  2. Past and future lost wages or loss of earning capacity
  3. Past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability 

Are there any instances in which Keller & Keller LLP can tell me how much my claim is worth?

Dog bite attacks that leave a client with broken bones, the need for plastic surgery, permanent hardware, or an extended hospital stay, may constitute a policy limits demand.  In these types of cases, Keller & Keller LLP will immediately notify the responsible party's homeowner's insurance of our representation and require that they send our firm a certified declarations (DEC) sheet that outlines the specific coverages for their insured. 

Once we receive a copy of the DEC sheet we will be able to tell you how much money is available, but it will still be very difficult to determine the total amount of your recovery, as other factors will undoubtedly be present.  For instance, Keller & Keller LLP may be able to reduce certain medical bills so that you are not required to pay back the full amounts, thus increasing your settlement. 

In dog bite cases, it is not possible to pursue any type of Underinsured or Uninsured Coverage (UIM/UM) from your policy in the event that the adverse party did not have homeowner's insurance.  In this instance, your only option would be to possibly pursue the defendant directly in a courtroom setting.

Asking Keller & Keller LLP to review an insurance policy ensures you aren't left in the dark. Policies are confusing, full of pages and pages of contractual language, some of which is applicable to your case, and some that isn't. And if you aren't in the practice of reviewing theses policies everyday, then reading one can be overwhelming and interpreting it will be equally daunting.

Having Keller & Keller LLP speak with you about your case is an excellent first step toward determining what your injury claim is worth.  It costs nothing, there is no pressure, and you'll be receiving expert advice from an AV-rated law firm that has ONLY practiced personal injury law since 1936.

Jim Keller
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Senior Partner at Keller & Keller Law Firm

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