Dog bite incidents are all unique. They can range from a light nip that hardly leaves a mark to a severe incident that puts the victim’s life at risk. If you were bitten by a dog, the first most important step to take is seeking medical attention.
If the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance, their pet may be covered under their health insurance, so be sure to receive that information from them. If they do not have insurance, you may have to file a lawsuit to receive a settlement. When calculating how much you can receive from a dog bite settlement there are several things to consider:
- the cost of any medical visits because of the attack
- the cost of wages lost because you missed time at work
- the cost of pain and suffering or emotional trauma caused because of the attack
How does Dog Bite Insurance Work?
If you own a dog, it’s your responsibility to control the pet at all times and make sure he or she doesn’t harm anyone. Even when others are on your property (lawfully), you must keep your dog from biting or attacking them. Train your dog to make sure that they aren’t disturbed or aggressive in the presence of mail carriers, solicitors, or other visitors. As a dog owner, it’s also your responsibility to have insurance that covers the unfortunate event of a dog bite.
Dog bites are typically covered by renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policies. Most often, the liability limits are between $100,000 and $300,000, and the owner of the dog is responsible for damages that go beyond that amount. In some states, insurers can refuse to cover specific dog breeds, but Arizona isn’t one of those states. Keep in mind that if a dog has bitten before, insurers may charge the owner more since the pet is an increased risk.
Settlement Amounts for Dog Bites
Research shows that dog bites cost insurance agencies across the nation $675 million in 2018 alone. Over the course of the year, almost 400 different incidents were reported by Arizona residents and cost an average of $44,523. According to state law, the owner of the dog is liable when the animal bites someone, even if the pet has never had a similar issue in the past.
Exceptions to this may exist if the victim provoked the animal or if they were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when the bite occurred. If the owner claims that you provoked the dog or were trespassing when their dog bit you, it’s up to them to prove it.
Factors that Impact Dog Bite Settlement Amounts
After you’re bitten by another person’s dog, you can request legal compensation by filing a claim against the person responsible for the injury. While the owner is usually responsible, a dog walker who lost control of the animal might also be responsible in some cases. Lawsuit settlements for dog bite claims vary widely, and no maximum or minimum compensation laws exist for this type of injury.
While medical costs can and do impact the settlement amounts for dog bites, the final amount will involve other factors too. Everything from lost wages, mental suffering, and long-term medical treatment needs go into the final number. You’ll also need to look at the severity of your injuries and whether they will impact your future earning abilities. For example, an injury on your hand might make you unable to fulfill your trade, such as welding. In a case like this, you might receive more compensation than someone whose professional abilities weren’t impacted.
Steps to Take for a Dog Bite Lawsuit
You most likely won’t have to go to court for a dog bite lawsuit. You and the owner of the dog (with the help of a lawyer, if necessary) can negotiate financial restitution for the attack. If the owner denies you compensation, then you may need to take it to court to seek a resolution. If you decide you want to file a lawsuit after you’re bitten by a dog, follow these guidelines to make an optimal result more likely:
Go to the Doctor
Even if the bite doesn’t look serious, it’s still a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an animal attack. The consequences of a dog bite can be serious, including infections, and even nerve damage or other permanent consequences. Make sure you hold onto all of your medical records as they’ll prove how much you spent for care and your condition according to the doctor.
Speak with a Legal Professional
You should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you can to help you with a dog bite lawsuit case. You might not just be dealing with state laws, but also city and county regulations after you sustain a bite. Talk with a legal professional who can help you win your case.
Gather Supporting Evidence
Throughout the process of making a claim for a dog bite, gather evidence that pertains to the event. This includes your personal account of the attack, eyewitness testimony, photos of the scene and injury, and the contact information for the dog’s owner, in addition to your medical records.
Quick Tips to Avoid a Dog Bite
Paying attention to a dog’s body language is a good way to notice if they’re feeling threatened. Their posture, tail, ears, and eyes will let you know if they dog is scared or angry, which makes an attack more likely. If you’re on a walk and see an unrestrained dog, it’s always a good idea to put some distance between you and the animal, just to be safe and to help prevent an attack.
Need Help with a Dog Bite Incident in Arizona?
Dog bites can be traumatic for the victim. As mentioned, these attacks can lead to serious injuries and lost wages in addition to mental anguish and suffering. If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite attack, you deserve compensation for your troubles.
If you are interested in seeking financial compensation, you should consider speaking with a lawyer, filing a dog bite lawsuit, and receiving a settlement. We’ll go over all of this information, so you can get the help you need and get back to your normal life as soon as possible.
You’ve already been through a lot, so working with a professional is a great way to ease your mind. Speak with our personal injury attorney today to see how we can help with your case.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.