The Insurance Information Institute reports that dog bite injury cases account for 1/3 of all claims made on homeowner’s insurance liability policies. In addition, settlements and jury verdicts from dog bite lawsuits resulted in settlements exceeding $356 million in 2007. However, the cost of an attack to a victim could be far worse than monetary loss- disfigurement, scarring, fractured bones, or even death. If you have been injured by a dog and are thinking about getting a lawyer, it is helpful to know the average settlement for these cases.
What is the Average Settlement for Dog Bite Cases?
While the appropriate settlement for cases involving an attack by a dog varies depending on the severity of the attack, the average settlement in 2007 according to the Insurance Information Institute was around $24,500. This represents an increase from previous years and indicates that the appropriate settlements are on the rise, in part because of rising medical costs.
Damages for such cases include monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. If you have been injured by a dog, the severity of your injuries will affect your settlement as well. For example, in one case where a Santa Rosa woman lost her nose to the bite of a bulldog while she was walking her children to school, the woman and her family were awarded a combined $1 million settlement. Permanent disfigurement, scarring and broken bones can all add to the amount of damages you are awarded. It is also important to retain an experienced lawyer to make sure your rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
What Do You Need To Prove To Recover?
Under California law, victims are afforded extensive protection from a dog biting them. California Civil Code section 3342 imposes strict liability on dog owners, which means that you do not need to prove the owner was negligent or that the dog had a history of biting to recover from your damages. All you have to prove is that the dog injured you either in a public place or while you were a guest on the property and you may be able to recover your damages.
You should speak to a personal injury attorney to get more details about proving your case and about evaluating any settlement offer from a dog owner or insurance company to ensure you get the full amount of damages you are entitled to under the law.
We offer free consultation for victims. Call our office to speak directly to an experienced lawyer. 1-877-702-7274