Most dog bites don’t cause serious injuries to the victims. However, sometimes, man’s best friend launches an all-out attack that sends the victim to the emergency room. An estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 1 in 5 requires medical attention. That being said, in 2018, almost 27,000 people had to get reconstructive surgery because they were bitten by dogs.
If you were bitten by your neighbor’s dog and your injuries were so serious that you needed surgery, you’ll definitely want to get compensation. One of the questions you’ll likely ask your attorney is how much money you’ll be able to get. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get an accurate answer during the first consultation. A number of factors influence the amount you can claim in compensation and we’ll discuss them in this article.
Recovering Damages Following a Dog Attack
If the dog’s owner is at fault for what happened to you, you can seek damages from them. Damages can include both economic and non-economic losses including:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Many victims only consider their financial losses, but attorneys know that fair compensation usually also includes intangible losses. While your medical bills and lost wages may be significant, they won’t be the only thing that stands out following the attack. You’re likely to be equally or more concerned about the pain, sleeplessness, anxiety or depression that follow your encounter with the dog. Some people develop a lifelong fear of canines. Since you didn’t do anything to cause any of these losses, the dog’s owner should have to compensate you.
It’s important to note that you can only claim compensation if you can prove you actually suffered these losses. You can’t just pick a figure that you think is adequate. Your Maryland dog bite attorney will help you to gather evidence to show how you were harmed by the incident.
Types of Evidence
Some of the things which can be used to prove your case include:
- Eyewitness statements
- Police reports
- Medical reports
- Animal Control records
- The owner’s comments
- Photographic evidence
- Your testimony of how the attack affected you physically and mentally
How Much You Can Recover for Your Injuries
By presenting as much evidence as possible, you increase your chances of getting fair compensation. The amount you can claim will depend on a range of factors including:
- The severity of your injuries
- How long you’re expected to suffer
- Whether you’ll recover fully
Naturally, you’ll hope that your injuries are minor, and you’ll want to recover fully in the shortest possible time. In such a situation, you would be eligible for less compensation than if you suffered severe permanent injuries. Long-term disability, scarring, and disfigurement tend to result in larger settlements.
No matter how upset or angry you are about what happened, you can only hope to get fair compensation for your losses. You shouldn’t expect a big payday after your injury. If you do get a large settlement, it’ll be because your injuries and losses are significant. Each case is different. While some victims get about 1 ½ times the value of their financial losses, others are able to recover much more.
Your attorney will help you to quantify your losses so you can file an accurate claim. What you need to keep in mind is that the more you’re entitled to, the more the insurance company will fight you. Insurers can’t remain profitable if they pay out every large claim they get. An insurance adjuster may contact you and try to get you to accept a low settlement. You should never accept without first talking to a lawyer.
The adjuster may even try to trick you into saying that you provoked the dog so they can deny your claim outright. That’s why you need to have a competent attorney on your side. They will push for a fair settlement and take the case to court if necessary. The insurance company will look out for its own interests and you need someone to look out for yours.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC Today to Get Expert Legal Advice
If you’ve been injured by a dog, reach out to one of our dog bite lawyers in Maryland. At Pinder Plotkin LLC, we’ll analyze the facts surrounding your case and help you to quantify your losses. Then, we’ll be able to give you a reasonable idea of how much you’ll be able to recover. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.