Average Dog Bite Settlement Continues to Rise
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average dog bite settlement for 2019 was $44,760. This represents nearly a 15% increase over the average settlement from 2018, which was $39.017. III collected information from providers of homeowners’ insurance, which typically pays out settlements in dog bite attacks.
At Earnhart Law, we help those who are injured in dog attacks get compensation for their injuries. This III information is helpful, though we must emphasize that each case is different. Injured victims might receive more or less depending on different factors, and our clients can increase the chances of receiving more by taking sensible steps to document their losses.
Estimating the Value of Your Injuries
Dogs can cause cuts and abrasions, as well as nerve damage when they sink their teeth into a person’s arm or leg. Large dogs with powerful jaws can fracture bones and severely damage soft tissue like muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Each year, dog bites send around 800,000 to the emergency room to have the wound cleaned and possibly stitched up. A doctor will also discuss giving a rabies vaccine and/or tetanus booster shot. When a dog bite becomes infected, a person might have to stay in the hospital for days.
Our dog bite clients can typically receive compensation for:
- The cost of all medical care to treat the wound. Medical care can include transportation to the hospital, overnight stays, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages, if the dog bite kept you out of work or reduced your hours.
- Pain and suffering. Dog bites can cause intense pain and other distress, all of which warrants compensation.
When meeting with an attorney, take paystubs or proof of income. Also gather all your medical bills. Your Delray Beach dog bite lawyer can use this information to come to a sensible estimate of what you are likely to receive in a settlement.
Increasing the Settlement Value of Your Claim
One reason why clients don’t receive as much as they hope is that they lack solid evidence to support their claims. For example, they might not have kept all medical bills and prescription drug receipts. This makes it hard to prove how much their care cost.
Other victims do not fully document their pain and emotional distress. The best way to make these non-economic losses tangible is to keep proof of any prescription drugs you have been taking, such as painkillers, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medication. You can also keep a journal discussing the pain and emotional distress you experience on a daily basis because of your injuries.
Factors Outside Your Control
If the dog owner does not have a homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy, then getting any payout can be difficult. Florida law exempts many assets (like a person’s home) from attachment in a lawsuit. In some cases, it might not be realistic to sue a dog owner who has few assets, since they have no way of satisfying a court judgment against them.