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Damages – Dog Bites Compensation

What financial compensatory damages is a dog bite victim eligible to recover?

A dog bite lawsuit render a victim eligible for legal damages that are intended to compensate the dog bite victim for his or her physical injuries or other sustained losses. The cost of medical treatment for injuries sustained as a result of dog bites is alarmingly highly. The medical component is only one part of the compensatory damages equation and does not take into consideration other financial losses incurred as a result of the injury. Dog bites may be so severe that they entail permanent disfigurement and disability. These injuries may also promote substantial trauma, PTSD from the attack, and a long-lasting fear of dogs.

A dog bite lawsuit is intended to recover compensation for all the setbacks and damages listed above; the lawsuit aspires to recover a dollar amount of for damages that are difficult to quantify as well. If the defendant’s conduct was particularly criminal, the lawsuit can also mandate the recovery of punitive damages.

This section will cover all aspects of recovering compensatory damages as they pertain to dog bite lawsuits.

1. What losses are eligible for compensation in the case of a California dog bite lawsuit?

Dog bite lawsuits that are truly successful are capable of recovering compensation for all of the victim’s losses suffered. Losses include blatant repercussions resulting from the dog bite injury such as piling medical bills. Losses may also include less apparent suffering such as severe emotional trauma incurred from living with permanent disability or disfigurement resulting from a dog bite injury.
Recovered damages may come in many forms including compensation for the following losses:

• Soaring medical bills
• Physical suffering and pain
• Emotional trauma, anguish, anxiety and fear
• Lost work wages
• Property damage
• Any reduction that impacts the victim’s ability to earn a living
• Loss of consortium

1.1 Medical Bills
A prominent component of many dog bite cases include the skyrocket cost of medical treatment for the sustained injuries. The average cost of dog bite treatment in the United States may be upwards of $40,000, which is substantially higher than most people’s ability to pay.
Compensation recovered for medical bills includes reimbursement for payments or expenses that you have already incurred such as:
• The cost of ambulatory transport
• Antibiotic treatments to minimize wound infection risk
• Medical treatment provided by the emergency room
• Would sanitization
• On-site medical treatment provided by an emergency medical technician (EMT)
• Suturing and stitches for open wounds
• Tetanus shots to prevent the possibility of tetanus infection
• Rabies shots, should they be necessary
• Removal of dog teeth from the open wound
• Surgical procedures performed to remedy broken bones
• Surgical procedures performed for the purposes of reconstructive efforts
• Nerve damage sustained from the bite
• Plastic surgery to alleviate the effects of the dog bite injury
Oftentimes, procedures can easily exceed costs over $100,000 in total including the cost of treatment for:
• Severe physical disfigurement & permanent disability resulting from the dog bite
• Profound and irrevocable nerve damage
• Permanent dismemberment or required surgical amputation to prevent infection from the dog bite
Dog bite injuries can also elevate costs associated with:
• Prolonged physical therapy
• Occupational therapy
• Persistent maintenance associated with wheelchairs and other medical equipment you may require as result of permanent or chronic disability due to a dog bite

1.2 Loss of wages and other related professional drawbacks
Most adult dog bite victims may experience salary and professional setbacks as a result of their sustained injuries. They may be required to miss work while in the process of recovering from the dog bite. These working professionals are eligible to recover compensation from lost wages incurred during the injury recovery process.
Professionals who are not eligible for a regular salary may still recover compensation for financial losses incurred during their recover. Calculating such losses, however, is more arduous than in the case of professionals with regular working occupations and salary provisions.

1.3 Diminished earning potential & capacity
Profound dog bite attacks often render the victims with debilitating, irrevocable and permanently disfiguring injuries. If these injuries prevent a victim from effectively return to the workforce, a dog bite lawsuit may recover this victim’s lost earning potential and capacity.
Lost earning capacity proves especially beneficial in cases in which a victim may not have a job or be employed at the time of sustained dog bite injury. The dog bite lawsuit can render them eligible for compensation to a professional life they may have pursued, were it not for the injurious circumstances of the dog bite attack.

Consider the following fictitious scenario: Allen was a university student when he incurred nerve damage as a result of a dog bite attack. As a result of this, he is no longer eligible to become a professional athlete as he had once aspire.

1.4 The physical pain or emotional and mental suffering resulting from dog bites
Dog bite victims are eligible to recover compensation for the pain and suffering incurred as a result of the attack. Oftentimes, the compensation for pain and suffering is increasingly difficult to quantify. However, as the emotional and physical anguish resulted from the dog bite attack, California dog bite legislation does allow for compensatory recovery.
Compensation recovered for physical pain is intended to cover anything that inflicts pain upon the victim as a result of the dog bite attack. Such sources of physical pain can include:
• The pain experienced from the actual attack at the time of its occurrence
• The pain results from the victim’s associated emergency care and corresponding medical treatment
• Pain associated with occupational or physical therapy
• Pain from the weakness resulting from physical disabilities resulting from the dog bite
The emotional trauma and mental anguish associated with the dog bite may also render your eligible for compensation. This compensation is intended to support:
• Post-traumatic stress from the attack
• The terror and fear incurred from the attack
• The realization that accompanies the severity of your injured condition
• The profound emotional distress of living with physical disfigurement or disability sustained as a result of the dog bite attack
• The anxiety and dread of not knowing the true extent and long-lasting implications of your injuries
• A subconscious or underlying fear of dogs result from the attack
• The disappointment and depression of not being able to enjoy certain things in life because your injuries

1.5 The forfeiture of loss consortium
The legal spouses of dog bite victims are eligible recover compensatory damages for the forfeiture or loss of consortium as a result of the dog bite attack. In accordance with California legislation, these damages are intended to cover the spouse’s:
• Inconvenience
• Emotional anguish and distress
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of companionship and social relationships

1.6 Property Damage
Dog bite victims are also eligible for compensation pertaining to property damage that transpired as a result of the occurrence.
Some dog bite cases results in the damage of a victim’s clothes. In other cases, if the victim was using a transport vehicle such as a bicycle or motorcycle at the time of the attack, he or she may be eligible to recover compensation for property damage related to the vehicle as a result of the incident.
A dog on dog attack may also constitute as property damage. Compensation related to property damage can also extend to covering the damage incurred by the hurt dog.
Consider the following fictitious scenario: Caroline is walking her poodle puppy on a public sidewalk. Caroline and her poodle puppy are attacked by a pit-bull that has escaped from a neighbor’s yard.

2. Damages in a dog bite lawsuit?

Yes. You may be eligible to recover compensatory punitive damages in a California dog bite lawsuits. However, it is important to know that punitive damages are rarely award. The defendant’s conduct must be proven as particularly egregious or immoral in order for the court or jury to award punitive damages.

3. Is a dog owner’s insurance coverage liable to cover damages and expenses incurred in a dog bite lawsuit?

If a dog owner of the attacking dog has active insurance, than it may provide coverage for the costs associated with the dog bite incident.
Oftentimes, renters and homeowners insurance have clauses providing liability coverage for dog owners. However, these insurance companies may require the owner to elect into this form of coverage. It is often the case that dog owners refuse liability coverage for dog bites because its increases insurance premium costs beyond what they are willing to pay.
Some dog owners may experience difficult with finding insurance coverage for their dogs because their dogs are known for their aggressive or dangerous breed dispositions. Insurance and liability coverage for these types of breeds is very high. Breeds that are often registered as aggressive by insurance include:

• Chows
• German Shepherds
• Dobermans
• Pit bulls
• Staffordshire terriers
• Akitas
• Siberian Huskies
• Wolf Hybrids
• Alaskan Malamute

If there is no form of insurance liability coverage for the dog bite, then the victims must hold the dog owners personally liable for the damages. Victims are also eligible to identify additional parties they may find negligently responsible for their injuries.

4. Are dog bite cases limited by damages caps and will this affect my ability to recover compensation?

Dog bite lawsuits in California are not equipped with damages caps. This enables to jury to award dog bite vicrims with however much compensation and punitive recover they deem appropriate and necessary, according to case circumstances.

5. What compensation is a dog bite victim’s family eligible for if the bite results in a fatality?

If a dog bite attack results in a fatality, then the dog bite victim’s family or representatives are able to file a wrongful death claim and suit. Compensatory damages in a wrongful death suit are different from that of those recovered in dog bite lawsuits and entail compensation for the following:
• Burial or funeral expenses
• Loss of consortium
• Loss of financial support
Wrongful death suits are ineligible to recover punitive damages results from the dog bite.

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