Dog Bite Lawsuit Settlement Basics
The expense and risk of a dog bite lawsuit provide both parties with reasons to consider settlement. The dog owner can avoid the chance that a jury might award an absurdly large judgment to the victim and the person who was bitten may need to receive compensation quickly in order to cover the costs of their medical treatment. Whether settlement is right for you depends on the facts of your individual situation, but the following article reviews the basic points of consideration involved in most dog bite lawsuits.
The amount of damages is the most common sticking point in dog bite lawsuit settlements. There are two kinds of compensatory damages that are typically claimed by the plaintiff:
- Special Damages are economic losses that are directly related to the dog bite and are quantifiable, such as the cost of stitches or surgery for the bite.
- General Damages are claims for noneconomic injuries directly related to the dog bite such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or disfigurement.
An agreement on special damages is most easily reached where the injured party can produce documentation of all of their expenses and evidence clearly connecting the treatment or expense to the dog bite incident.
General Damages Calculations
General damages are more frequently disputed. There are many proposed systems for estimating the appropriate amount of general damages. Claims calculators and other damages estimates typically apply one or more multipliers to the amount of special damages arising from the dog bite, with higher multipliers applied where there are aggravating factors.
However, the accuracy of these claims calculators may be questionable. Subjective factors can heavily influence the amount that might be claimed or awarded. A person who had previously suffered a dog attack might be more emotionally distressed than someone else and similar injuries may cause very different levels of pain and suffering to different people.
Other Factors Influencing Damages Amounts
There are other factors that also impact the parties' willingness to agree to a dog bite lawsuit settlement amount. Insurance coverage limits may restrict the amount a plaintiff can claim or expect to collect. The damages awards previously given within the jurisdiction often influence damages offers. Rural juries may offer smaller amounts for a dog bite than those in suburban or urban courts. Highly publicized dog attacks can also raise dog bite lawsuit settlement amounts, since juries exposed to those stories are likely to penalize an owner more seriously.
A close examination of your individual situation will provide a much more reliable estimate of a reasonable dog bite lawsuit settlement amount.
Get an Attorney's Help with a Dog Bite Lawsuit Settlement Claim
A dog bite lawsuit settlement can help resolve a matter in a way that is fair and efficient to both parties, but if you haven't carefully considered all aspects of your claim it could result in an unfair outcome. Lawyers experienced in lawsuit settlements can draw upon their experience assessing claims and negotiating settlements. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your dog bite lawsuit and learn how they can help you reach a fair settlement.
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Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.