What Damages are Recoverable in Animal Bite Cases?
By Chris Dixon
Whether you were bitten by your neighbor’s dog or someone you know has been injured in a dog bite accident without provocation or trespassing, it’s essential to consult an experienced lawyer about the situation and determine if legal action can be taken against the dog’s owner. Dog bite laws vary from state to state, which can make it challenging to figure out what damages are recoverable for your animal bite case. Hiring an experienced lawyer to represent your case can quickly determine who is at fault in the dog bite incident, what damages are recoverable for your injuries, and the likelihood of recovering full compensation from the other party for your harm and losses.
How are Settlements Calculated in Animal Bite Cases?
Every animal bite case is different, but in most situations, if someone’s dog bites a person that is walking down the street, at the park, or otherwise on public property without provocation, the injured person can file a claim against the dog’s owner to recover compensation for expenses related to the accident. For example, if someone is walking down the street, and a dog suddenly runs up and bites them, injuring their face, arm, and back, the victim could be eligible to recover compensation for their injuries, reimbursement for lost wages, and other damages caused in the accident. Typically, factors involved with calculating a settlement for an animal bite case include the severity of the victim’s injuries, who is at fault in the accident, what caused the attack to happen, and where the accident occurred. However, the state’s dog bite rules and regulations also play a large part in how much an animal bite victim can recover for their damages.
Dog Bite Rules and Regulations
Some states use a “one bite rule” that protects dog owners from being sued if their animal has never bitten someone before, or the owner didn’t reasonably know that the animal had a propensity to be dangerous. The “one bite rule,” while enforceable, doesn’t automatically apply to all animal bite cases, even if the state doesn’t have any dog bite laws in place. If an animal bite incident is severe enough, and the injured person can prove that the animal’s owner is liable for the animal’s actions, an experienced lawyer can represent your case against the other party, and file a negligence claim against the dog’s owner to recover compensation for physical, mental, or financial damages that the animal caused.
In states that don’t use a “one bite rule,” but have dog bite laws, in some states, if an animal bites another person without being provoked or trespassing on private property, the animal’s owner is strictly liable for the animal’s actions. If the victim reports the incident to the police and files a report with the local Animal Control facility, an investigation of the victim’s animal bite case begins. During the investigation, evidence submitted with the injured person’s claim is examined, and if there were witnesses to the dog bite incident, they are required to provide a personal account of what they witnessed. If the victim’s report is confirmed by authorities to be accurate, the injured person is then eligible to file a claim against the animal’s negligent owner to recover damages for their injuries.
Recoverable Animal Bite Damages
After an animal bite incident, it can be tempting not to file a report, and settle your case without having to hire a lawyer or involving authorities to avoid potential conflict with the dog’s owner, but most of the time, this isn’t a wise decision. If an animal bite case isn’t reported to the appropriate authorities, the dog could harm someone else, or the animal’s owner might attempt to pin the blame for the accident on you by citing provocation or trespassing on private property. Reporting an animal bite case to the police and Animal Control preserves even the most minute details of the incident, and can be powerful evidence when filing a negligence claim against the dog’s owner. Your lawyer can use the report of the accident, and any past reports, health, or vaccination records, to build a compelling claim against the animal’s owner to recover compensation for your damages from the accident. Typically, recoverable damages for animal bites cases include:
- Medical expenses such as medical bills and medical accessories needed to treat injuries from the accident
- Dog bite accidents can be traumatic – if an injured person has mental or emotional distress after the accident, pain and suffering can be cited to recover compensation for the victim’s loss, and offer reimbursement for therapy or other mental health expenses caused by their injuries
- If an animal bite victim has to miss work because of the accident and while recovering from their injuries, lost income that the injured person experienced is often recoverable
- If the animal bite caused personal property damage to items that the victim had on their person when the accident happened or caused damage to their estate or other belongings, the injured person could recover reimbursement for this expense
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dog bite accident, and you need an experienced lawyer to assess what damages are recoverable for your animal bite case, you need the Dixon Injury Firm on your side.
Christopher Dixon and the St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm are passionate about fighting for the rights of dog bite victims, and ensuring that victims and their family members are protected and taken care of during this challenging time. Our lawyers have recovered over $35,000,000 in settlements and recoveries for injury victims, and Chris Dixon’s personal injury legal defense efforts have been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and awarded the status of “Top 100 Trial Lawyer.”
If you are ready to recover damages for your animal bite case, and are interested in discussing the options available to your case for recovering compensation from the animal’s negligent owner, call (314) 409-7060, 855-40-2724, or contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our Dog Bite Lawyers in St. Louis.