How Much is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
After being attacked and bit by a dog, you are likely wondering you could receive from the case. There are many factors that go into a dog bite attack in Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, or Bellingham. Some of the key factors that comprise a dog bite attack may seem obvious, such as the extent of your damages, while others may seem less so, like the amount of insurance coverage that is available. It is important to have a complete understanding before you begin to negotiate with the dog’s owner.
Further, it is also important to understand whether the dog bite occurred at a home or business and the implications for each. Some homes and businesses have insurance policies that will cover dog bites and the damages that go with them. Some, however, do not.Categories of Damages Available
After being bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for a settlement for your damages. This amount may be small or large. It will come in the form of one settlement check, but it is helpful to understand the categories that this settlement represents, which may not seem obvious at first. Below is a brief explanation of the money available for you.
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future wages
- Loss of consortium
- Out of pocket expenses
Medical bills that are related or connected to your dog bite should all be paid by either
the homeowner, their insurance company, or the business. The “related” or “connected” part is important to understand since some insurance companies may attempt to argue that the damages are unrelated.
Future medical bills are bills that may be incurred in the future. In dog bite cases, many times people need scar revision surgeries and various other surgeries to repair them. It is important, at the time of settlement or a trial if the case proceeds to trial, that this amount is factored into the case.
Lost wages are defined as any amount of money you lost out on at work because of the dog bite. For instance, if you missed several weeks of work because you were at home recovering from your injuries from the dog bite, then you have the right, legally, to ask for that money back from the insurance company or the homeowner since you would have made that money if not for the dog bite.
Future wages are also available to you if you will not be able to earn the same level of income in the future because of your injuries. This may be substantial or minimal depending on the level of your income and how much you may lose.
Loss of consortium is not as common as the other forms of damages. This is allowed when someone’s partner or spouse lost out in some way because of the attack. For instance, if the romantic or sexual side of the relationship was impacted, then the spouse or partner can make their own claim for damages.
Out of pocket expenses are normally the smallest category of damages available in a case. This amount is typically reserved for things like braces, bandages, crutches, or bandages. It can also be used to compensate you for the gas money you used going to and from doctor’s appointments to treat your injuries.Pain and Suffering Explained
Pain and suffering is the last category of damages that you are allowed to receive under Washington State law for your injuries. Pain and suffering is what it sounds like: money for all of your pain, discomfort and inconvenience. There is no specific law that states how much money you should receive for this.
There is no math formulae either insurance companies or the jury, if it goes to trial, must review in order to determine how much you should receive. Pain and suffering is simply a common sense number that could be any number that people believe to be fair to compensate you for your injuries.
There tends to be a loose connection between your pain and suffering damages, in terms of the money you get and your total medical bills. In other words, it is not very common to receive one hundred times more money for pain and suffering than your medical bill. Again, there is no precise formula either, though. It is important to understand this. If you have questions about coming up with an accurate and reasonable number for your pain and suffering, feel free to call The Jackman Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss this.Damages for a Minor
If a child is bitten by a dog, there are special considerations to take in mind. A child, legally, is defined as anyone under the age of 18. With that in mind, if a child is bitten by a dog, suffers damages, files a lawsuit against the homeowner or business and then receive a settlement, typically what must happen is a GAL is appointed by the court.
This stands for Guardian Ad Litem. This is typically an attorney, though it does not have to be, who will meet with the child, the parent, the attorney, make sure the settlement is fair by reviewing the settlement terms, and then report back to the judge to make a recommendation whether the settlement is reasonable or not.
In essence, the GAL’s job is to represent the minor child, since children under the age of 18 cannot represent themselves in court. If a child under the age of 18 is attacked and the case proceeds to court, it is important to understand this factor when deciding whether the case should be settled, litigated, or even taken at all.Homeowner’s Insurance Explained
If you are attacked and bitten by a dog at someone’s home or business, chances are that the homeowner’s insurance should step in and provide coverage for this event. What does this mean? It simply means that the insurance company for the home or business should write you a settlement check, so the money will come from the insurance company instead of from the homeowner.
This also means that the insurance company will hire a law firm to defend them if you elect to file a lawsuit against them. You may be wondering what will happen if the home was rented rather than owned? In this case, you will have to figure out, and if you have an attorney the attorney can figure this out, if there is a renter’s policy available to pay for your damages. Some renter’s will purchase a policy for renter’s insurance and some won’t.
Some of these policies will have coverage for an event such as a dog bite and some will not. It is important to understand this and determine whether such coverage exists or not since it will determine whether you have to negotiate with an insurance company or a homeowner directly. The Jackman Law Firm can help you request and review the applicable insurance policy.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
After being attacked by a dog, you need an attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, or your child’s injuries if your child was attacked. There are some key damages we can obtain on your behalf, such as money for medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, future lost wages, and even out of pocket expenses.
It is not always the case that the insurance company for the homeowner’s dog who bit you will immediately offer you a fair settlement for your injuries. In fact, many times they will not. The Jackman Law Firm has the experience and resources to make sure we do everything possible in our negotiation with the insurance company to get you a fair settlement.
In some cases, you will need an aggressive attorney who can show that you were fault-free. While it may seem obvious to you that you did nothing wrong and thus are deserving of a settlement, there have been cases where people are accused of either provoking the attack by the dog or not doing enough to avoid an attack. These accusations may seem silly, even offensive, but they need to be addressed and struck down, if not understood before they become problematic at trial, should the case go that far. The Jackman Law Firm has the know-how to combat these defenses and make sure that you are prepared going forward.
Feel free to call us for a free consultation.