A dog bite is sometimes not a matter of putting a bandaid on it and moving on. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 people who are bitten by a dog require medical attention. The more severe a dog bite is, the more expensive the medical bills are. But, are the damages enough to pursue an average dog bite settlement? Of course, any settlement will depend on the severity of the dog bite incident, but a successful average dog bite settlement could be between $30,000 to $50,000.
Our lawyers at Pacific West Injury Law have years of experience handling these types of cases and can provide you with legal assistance through this challenging time. We want to help you get the best compensation possible for your damages. Contact us today to learn more about all of your legal options.
Types of Costs You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Settlement
Painful injuries and infections that result from a dog bite can increase the amount of expensive medical bills and emotional damage. Dog bites can happen because a dog owner acted negligently, such as letting their dog roam free without a leash. If it can be proven that the owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent you from being bitten, then the dog’s owner or their insurance company should be held liable for any pain, injuries, infections, lost wages, and emotional damages that were inflicted upon you as a result of the dog bite.
Here are the types of damages that can be recovered:
Medical and Hospital Costs
From the initial dog bite and throughout the recovery process, expensive medical and hospital costs can grow exponentially. Even if it seems very little medical attention was required, any treatment of the injury, infection prevention and treatment and follow-up visits can amount to a huge expense that you or your health insurance company shouldn’t be responsible for. These costs alone make up a big part of the average dog bite settlement.
Pain and Suffering
Dog bite injuries can be quite painful, physically and emotionally, and they can last for some time. If the physical and emotional pain can be documented and there is proof the pain and suffering were inflicted by the negligence of the dog’s owner, associated damages can be included in the settlement amount.
Whether a dog bite injury, either physical or emotional, has caused you to lose one day of work or a month, you should be compensated for the loss of any pay because work could not be done. Any missed work time, either because you could not perform your duties as a result of your injuries or because of having to go to medical or legal appointments in relation to the dog bite, should allow you to recover lost wage damages.
Disability Benefits Settlement
If the dog bite injuries are so severe that you are now disabled, these damages can also be recovered in the form of disability benefits.
Negotiating a Dog Bite Injury Claim
The negotiating process starts from the very moment the dog bite incident occurs. Gathering documentation is key when negotiating a dog bite injury claim. Our attorneys can help you negotiate the settlement using the documentation that you provide, so it’s important to obtain documentation by these means:
- Seek immediate medical attention to start documenting your dog bite injuries.
- Report the dog bite to local authorities. Most Nevada cities require that dog bites be reported, usually within 48 hours.
- Find the dog owner.
- Collect evidence, such as pictures, videos, or eyewitness accounts, to support your claim.
- Keep records of any lost time from work.
Levels of Dog Bite Severity in Nevada
Your settlement amount will also depend on the severity of the dog bite. Because the severity of a dog bite can be based on opinion, a system exists that helps quantify the seriousness of the dog bite for doctors and dog bite injury claim attorneys. Levels one and two are not legally actionable.
- Level one: You were threatened by the dog’s aggressive stance but not bitten.
- Level two: The dog snapped at you but did not puncture the skin.
- Level three: The dog punctured your skin with a single, deep bite or multiple shallow bites. The depths of the bites are measured against the length of the dog’s tooth.
- Level four: In addition to the skin being punctured, there are bruised, ripped, or ragged edges around the puncture area.
- Level five: The bite escalates to level five when there are several level four bites.
- Level six: The dog bite kills an adult or tissue has been torn off of the body.
What Assets Are Available to Pay for Your Dog Bite Injuries?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), most dog owners have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that covers dog bite liability legal expenses with typical liability limits of up to $100,000 to $300,000. If damages exceed that amount, the dog owner is responsible for anything above the liability limit.
However, some insurance companies will not insure homeowners or renters that own a dog breed that is considered dangerous, like pit bulls. In this case, most of Nevada’s city and county municipal codes require those dog owners to maintain a liability insurance policy of a limit of $50,000 or more.
Get Help with Your Dog Bite Settlement
A dog bite injury can leave you with thousands of dollars in debt and lasting physical injuries that can severely impact the way you live your life. It is essential to ensure that you get justice and compensation for what happened.
You should not have to suffer due to a personal injury caused by the negligence of other parties. At Pacific West Injury Law, we have compassion for all victims of personal injury. We want to help you get fair compensation for your pain and damages. Contact us to schedule a free consultation about your personal injury case in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.