Dogs play an important part of our culture, so important that if you want to sell a product or a service today, you better include at least one dog in a commercial. In rare cases, something triggers a dog to bare its teeth and lunge towards an arm or a leg for a piece of someone’s flesh.
When a dog attacks a person by biting the person’s body, the victim might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit against the dog owner for negligence. In extreme cases, a dog owner might face one or more criminal charges for wrongful intent to hurt someone.
Our focus here is on civil lawsuits, especially lawsuits that seek monetary damages.
Types of Compensation for Dog Bite Lawsuits
If you have been bitten by a dog, getting in touch with a California personal injury attorney should be the first item on your to-do list. Your lawyer can cover everything from filing an insurance claim to discussing the types of compensation awarded in dog bite cases.
Medical bills represent the costliest expense for most dog bite cases. A dog bite not only can tear flesh away to cause severe bleeding, but the exposed part of the body is vulnerable to developing an infection. You might also have to deal with a torn tendon and/or ligament, which takes months to rehabilitate. Broken bones and damaged muscles are also possible outcomes of a dog bite incident. Then, we have a serious medical issue called rabies, which requires a painful shot to treat. Between diagnostic tests and treatment sessions, medical bills for a serious dog bite can run into the thousands of dollars.
The bottom line is your priority for winning a dog bite lawsuit is to cover all your medical expenses.
Dog bite injuries can be debilitating enough to prevent a victim from working. A bite on your hands or arms can make working at a computer station difficult to do. Dog bites on the leg can require the assistance of crutches or a mobile walking aid, which means that if you work at a job that requires physical labor, you can expect to miss time from work until your dog bite injuries heal.
There is also the money lost because of future missed time at work, which your employer should confirm by submitting a written statement.
A dog that bites usually does not care whether it bites directly on skin or gnashes its teeth through clothing. If a dog ripped some of your clothing, you have the right to ask for monetary damages to replace the damaged clothing. The same principle applies to electronic devices and anything else you had on you that got damaged because of a dog bite.
You have to submit receipts of the damaged goods to give the judge overseeing your case an accurate assessment of your losses
Pain and Suffering
We now come to a type of damage that is hard to quantify. Pain and suffering involves emotional issues and in the case of a dog bite, the emotional toll can include difficulty sleeping and developing an intense fear of walking alone at night. Pain and suffering issues can negatively impact your quality of life, but proving that requires a persuasive dog bite lawyer to argue your case.
You cannot expect to calculate a dollar amount for pain and suffering, but you have the right to seek compensation for enduring it.
The judge presiding over your civil lawsuit might decide to tack on punitive damages to the final compensation awarded to you. Punitive damages punish the defendant for intentionally allowing his or her dog to bite you. If a dog owner knew or should have known about the biting tendencies of his or her dog, then you might be eligible to receive punitive damages.
Work with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
Hiring a California personal injury lawyer who litigates dog bite cases increase your chances of winning a civil lawsuit. Even if you think a dog bite is minor, you should still contact an attorney because some dog bites take a bit longer than other dog bites to develop harmful symptoms. In California, plaintiffs typically have two years after the date of a dog bite incident to file a civil lawsuit.
The sooner you file a lawsuit, the sooner the court places your case on its docket.