A neighbor’s dog bit me and caused several serious injuries. How much can I expect from a settlement if I sue the owner?

Husky dog on leash snarling at personNo matter the cause of your personal injury, whether it be a dog bite, car accident, or slip and fall, no decent lawyer can tell you how much your claim is worth just by looking at you. If an attorney tries to guarantee that you’ll receive a specific amount, you should probably find another attorney.

The thing is, it’s impossible even to estimate a potential settlement amount without discussing, calculating, and investigating all aspects of your claim. No two attacks are the same, no two injuries require the same treatment, and no two recoveries have the same price tag. Therefore, there is no spreadsheet that can reasonably show how much your individual case may be worth, if you decide to pursue it.

However, just because there isn’t a magic number, doesn’t mean you and your lawyer can’t work on assigning monetary values to worthy aspects of your claim.

Dog Bite Elements Worthy of Claim Compensation

As with any personal injury, the settlement prospects are determined by the specific elements of your case and your ability to prove fault. When building your case, aspects of the attack that can be included for compensation are:

  • Property damage repair expenses. Did the attack cause permanent damage or injury to your property? If so, a list of the damaged items can be entered as legitimate injury losses. It’s important to note that pets are considered “property” when it comes to injury claims. Therefore, if the aggressive dog injured your dog or another animal in your care, you can demand compensation for vet bills.
  • Physical injury expenses. Essentially, the more severe your injuries, the higher the settlement you should get. However, you must be able to provide complete medical documentation of your injuries, including severity, diagnoses, treatment options, recovery estimates, and long term effects. Treatment bills should also be included to verify the overall cost of your injuries. These reports can not only persuade a jury of how much you suffered but also how much the incident has cost you, physically as well as financially.
  • Psychological trauma expenses. In many dog bite cases, physical injuries aren’t the only effects of the attacks. Permanent wounds, especially those sustained to the face and arms, can cause psychological scarring akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. The visual reminders of the attack can cause continuous anxiety while traumatic scarring and deformities can affect the victim’s sense of self. To overcome this emotional fallout, victims may require extensive therapy and expensive psychological treatment.

These aspects of your case are the foundation for seeking financial compensation. However, although you must file your claim within a year of the attack, a settlement can’t be calculated until after your recovery, even if that recovery takes longer than 365 days. Why? Because the complete cost of your attack should not be estimated or shortchanged. If a settlement was made during your recovery, the liable owner’s insurance company may only agree to pay for current treatment and damages. If you accept the settlement but your wounds worsen, become infected, or cause long term disabilities, you’ll have to pay those expenses out of pocket.

Don't get swindled by the insurance company, or taken around the block by an inexperienced lawyer—Contact GriffithLaw today to speak with a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and competent dog bite attorney.