If you or a family member has suffered a dog bite injury in Las Vegas, Nevada, you might want to know what damages are recoverable from a dog bite injury. The damages in a dog bite case might include medical bills, lost wages, and lost earning potential. You may also recover losses such as physical pain, emotional anguish, and loss of consortium. Punitive damages might be available if the dog owner’s conduct was exceptionally reckless. You may also be eligible to receive compensation for wrongful death if your loved one died because of a dog bite attack.
Over 4.5 million individuals suffer dog bite injuries in the U.S. every year. On average, over 800,000 U.S. citizens annually obtain medical care for dog bite injuries. Summer unleashes a sharp rise in dog attacks. More incidents occur during summer than at any other time.
The best way to know the recoverable damages arising from a dog bite injury is to have trusted dog bite lawyers in Las Vegas investigate the incident and review the details of your injury claim. These lawyers can also help you bring a dog bite injury claim or lawsuit against the liable dog owner and recover the full extent of your losses.
Compensatory Damages in a Dog Bite Injury Case
You might be eligible for compensatory damages if you sustain a serious injury after a dog bite. Those compensatory damages include:
Medical bills are the most apparent costs stemming from a dog bite injury. The treatment cost for a dog-inflicted injury can be higher than you might have assumed. Data from the Insurance Information Institute (III) shows that the average cost of a dog bite claim was $49,025 in 2021. Your recoverable medical bills include your current medical expenses, such as:
- Emergency medical service fees
- Ambulance service fees
- Hospital services
- Physician’s fees
You may also recover future medical costs, including physical therapy and home modifications to accommodate physical impairments caused by the dog bite. The cost of maintaining and replacing your medical devices is another recoverable future medical expense.
Lost Wages or Income
A dog bite injury might keep you from working for a while. In this case, you may be eligible for compensation for lost wages for your entire recovery period. You can still seek reimbursement for your financial loss if you are self-employed. Ensure you involve a lawyer for an accurate estimation of your lost income.
Lost Earning Potential
You may sustain disabling injuries following a severe dog bite. You can recover reimbursement for your lost earning capacity if you cannot return to work because of those injuries.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Dog-inflicted injuries can be debilitating and painful. Surgeries, medications, and physical therapy required to restore the functionality of injured body parts can also be strenuous. You can recover compensation for physical pain and suffering stemming from your dog bite. You might receive significantly higher pain and suffering damages if the attack leaves you with permanent disfigurement.
Besides physical injuries, a dog bite can also inflict emotional injuries. Emotional injuries can arise from physical pain and aggressive medical treatment. They can also arise from the distress of the bite incident itself.
You may develop psychological effects, such as extreme fear of dogs, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, and depression. You may also suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some cases. Damages for all your emotional trauma may be recoverable in a dog bite injury case.
You can obtain compensation for any damage to your personal property or vehicle. This category of damage covers torn clothes, broken glasses, damaged shoes, and damage to anything valuable you were carrying during the incident. It also covers the damage to the bicycle or motorcycle if you were riding during the attack.
Reimbursement for property damage may also pay for the cost of treating your dog if he or she also got hurt during the attack. In Las Vegas, it’s not uncommon for a dog to attack another dog and inflict severe or fatal injuries. In one incident, a Chihuahua died after getting attacked by three Pit Bulls. Following that incident, Las Vegas lawyer George Bochanis urged dog owners to be more responsible.
Loss of Consortium
You may recover damages for “loss of consortium” if the dog-inflicted injuries have affected your relation with your spouse. These damages occur when you cannot provide your spouse with the companionship, intimacy, or support that you offered before the incident.
Recovering Punitive Damages After a Dog Bite
You may sometimes receive punitive damages because of the dog bite incident. Keep in mind, however, that courts rarely award these damages. The dog owner must have acted exceptionally recklessly or intentionally for you to recover punitive damages.
A perfect example of exceptionally negligent conduct is when a dog owner sends a dog after you deliberately. Courts award punitive damages to punish wrongdoers and warn others against engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
Determining How Much Your Dog Bite Case Is Worth
The value of your dog bite case will depend on the details of your case and the circumstances of the dog attack. Your case value would be much higher if you suffered more severe injuries than if your injuries were minor.
To determine the compensation you might obtain, combine all financial losses caused by dog bite injury. The courts call these “economic damages.” They include all objectively measurable monetary damages, such as initial medical costs, medications, surgical expenses, follow-up care, rehabilitation, and lost wages.
You may be eligible to receive non-economic damages due to the dog bite. Non-economic damages cover the subjective, non-monetary repercussions of the dog bite injury, such as pain and suffering.
One way to calculate your non-economic damages is to use the “multiplier method.” The multiplier method involves multiplying the sum of all your economic damages by a set factor called a multiplier. A multiplier is usually between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your injury. Understanding the six dog bite levels will help you determine the actual severity of your injury and arrive at an accurate multiplier.
Let’s assume the sum of all your economic damages is $15,000. If you multiply that figure with a multiplier of “three,” your total non-economic damages will be $45,000. The value of your dog bite case may be $60,000. During settlement talks, you, your attorney, and the opposing parties will negotiate what multiplier applies to your case. If your case goes to trial, the jury may decide the multiplier that it feels is fair under the circumstances.
There’s no guarantee that you will receive a set amount or recover any damages at all. The best way to maximize your chances of recovering is to hire an experienced dog bite attorney.
Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer to Sue for Money Damages
An aggressive dog bite injury lawyer can be instrumental in helping you receive maximum compensation for your dog bite injuries. Your lawyer can help you in the following ways:
Investigate the Bite Incident and Gather Evidence
A lawyer will investigate the incident to identify the dog owner and any potential insurance company that could cover the damages. The lawyer will find out whether the dog was on a leash or confined at the time of the attack, and what breed the dog was.
Your lawyer may contact the animal control and local police department to obtain information about the history of the attacking dog. The lawyer can also review images of your injury after the incident and at different times during the recovery journey.
Get Medical Records and other Important Documents
You must prove that your dog-inflicted injuries are valid and eligible for compensation. Medical records and notes from all medical practitioners that have treated you can help prove the validity of your injuries. Obtaining these documents from medical providers is often stressful and time-consuming, especially if you do it yourself. A lawyer can help you with this process by following up with the involved medical providers to obtain all the necessary documentation on time.
A lawyer with a proven track record of handling dog bite cases might have strong connections with physicians who treat dog bite injuries. Such a lawyer can identify a physician who can provide the best expert testimony.
Determining the Value of Your Dog Bite Injury Case
A skilled dog bite lawyer can review the available evidence and the extent of your injuries to determine how much your case is worth. The lawyer will help ensure the settlement amount you request fully covers all your losses.
Communicate and Negotiate with the Dog Owner’s Insurer
A skilled lawyer is typically responsible for all communications and negotiations with the dog owner’s insurer. The lawyer understands how to counter any efforts by the insurance company to provide a low settlement amount.
Your lawyer may emphasize the current and future physical, mental, and financial consequences of your dog bite injuries. The lawyer can refer to your medical records, doctor’s notes, and photos of your injuries to support his or her arguments. Using evidence-supported arguments lowers the chances of an insurance company lowballing you.
Initiate a Lawsuit and Provide Legal Representation
It’s common for parties to settle dog bite cases outside the courtroom. Some cases, however, go all the way to trial. A lawyer can build and present a strong case that improves your chances of a successful injury verdict.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury
Seek medical treatment immediately after a dog bite incident. Don’t put off treatment, even if the attack leaves you with just some minor scratches. Don’t ignore a bite from a small dog, either. It’s important to note that small dogs can pack a big bite.
Prompt medical treatment can prevent your dog bite injuries from getting infected. It can also speed up the healing process. Receiving immediate medical attention also helps ensure you have the proper documentation of your injuries. This documentation helps preserve your right to seek compensation from the liable dog owner or his or her insurer.
Make a dog bite report at a relevant local animal control office in your state. In Nevada, you can find these offices at your local police department. You can make the report by calling, sending a written report, or visiting the office in person.
Recoverable Damages After a Fatal Dog Bite
You can bring a wrongful death claim against a liable dog owner if a family member gets killed in a dog bite attack. Recoverable damages, in this case, include medical bills, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and funeral and burial costs.