Evaluating dog bite cases is complex and there are many factors that determine the value of your unique case. Some of the main determining factors include: (1) the severity of your particular physical injury, (2) your medical expenses, (3) lost income or earnings, (4) pain and suffering and (5) future injuries, including scaring and scar revision surgery.
The Severity of Your Injury
When looking at the severity of your physical injury it is important to discover the nature of your total injury and whether the injury will cause or will likely cause disfigurement. This will take time as you heal after an attack. Often, a dog bite injury needs to heal for at least several months before a physician can determine whether scarring will be severe or permanent. This is important because of the cosmetic nature of dog bite injuries. Cosmetic surgeries and treatments to help with scarring or disfigurement are almost never covered by health insurance, so this is our only opportunity to recover money for you to pay for any future treatment or surgery.
Also important in determining the value of your case are your past and future medical expenses. This includes first aid, ambulance, emergency room, hospital admissions, medications, plastic surgery, psychological counseling, future scar revision procedures, and future medications in the case that your pain becomes chronic, etc.
You may also recover lost wages or lost earnings in the future if you are permanently impaired. If your child is a victim of a dog bite attack, you may recover lost wages for the time you take off work to care for them. This includes recovery for benefits like sick time or disability time that would not have otherwise been taken.
Pain and Suffering
The final primary component determining the value of your claim is your pain in suffering. You may recover for the pain you experienced from your injuries. This is another factor which will likely reveal itself over time during your recovery. Recovery for pain includes the severity of your pain and the duration of pain you experienced or continue to experience. Suffering includes the emotional trauma of the attack, the anxiety you now may experience around dogs or in public places, the humiliation and emotional distress of any disfigurement or scarring, and time and inconvenience of going to your doctor visits.
If all appropriate conditions of liability are proven, the victim can receive compensation for all of the following things:
- Any resulting physical injury and personal disfigurement;
- Medical treatment such as first aid, emergency room, medications, hospital and ambulance;
- Anticipated medical treatment for scar reduction, i.e., plastic surgery;
- Psychological counseling to overcome the emotional trauma of the attack; fear of dogs, fear of being in public, and the emotional distress of disfigurement;
- Loss of earnings from work or the victim's business;
- Torn clothing and broken glasses