Any personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, will tell you that dog bites can be traumatic experiences that cause serious physical and emotional harm. In the United States alone, around 4.5 million individuals are bitten by dogs every year. And in 2021, California ranked highest in the nation with an average settlement of approximately $60,000.
Dog bite victims often require extensive medical care and may also experience long-term complications. With the help of a reputable lawyer experienced in dog bite cases, victims can seek justice for their suffering. In this article, we will explore the average settlement for dog bite claims to help those in need of legal assistance understand their options.
What is a settlement in a dog bite case?
If you live in The Golden State and have been bitten by a canine, you may choose to pursue legal action against the owner of the animal. Working with an experienced and reliable Los Angeles dog bite attorney, will ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries. Dog bite cases typically involve settlements that are based on numerous case-specific factors, including:
- Age of the victim
- The severity of the bite
- Whether the owner knew the dog was aggressive and did nothing about it
- Medical expenses
- Possible lost wages
- Lost consortium damages
- Pain and suffering
The settlement amount will vary depending on the unique facts and circumstances of each individual situation. Victims should typically expect to receive full coverage of any medical costs incurred as well as other damages directly related to the incident, such as physical therapy sessions or lost wages if they were unable to work due to their injuries.
What is the settlement process for a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, CA?
When pursuing a personal injury case, it is essential to work with a qualified attorney who can assess your claim and provide you with options for legal recourse. An experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney will evaluate your situation and determine if filing a lawsuit is in your best interest.
As the alleged victim, you should expect your lawyer to build a strong case strategy backed by evidence from medical records and other sources that prove negligence or fault on behalf of the defendant. Your attorney will use this evidence to negotiate with insurance companies or take legal action, as needed, to seek maximum compensation for your losses.
If the insurance company makes a financial offer, your attorney will advise you of the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting the settlement. If you refuse the offer, your attorney will continue to negotiate until you reach an agreement that you find acceptable.
The other option—when negotiations fail— is to take your case to trial. However, most insurance companies prefer settling out of court.
What factors might make a dog bite case worth your time and effort?
For a reputable dog bite attorney in Los Angeles, CA, dog bite cases can often be complex and require careful consideration before committing the alleged victim’s time and effort. Generally speaking, the more severe the physical injury—such as facial scarring or disfigurement—the more substantial the case.
It’s also important to consider any psychological trauma inflicted, as well as any economic losses suffered due to medical costs or loss of work. If these factors are present, then you may want to file a lawsuit. Other factors include:
1. Age of the victim
Regarding dog bite lawsuits, the age of the victim can play a major role in the settlement of a case. For example, children are more vulnerable than adults when it comes to dog attacks, and this is taken into consideration when deciding on settlements for these cases.
- A dog bite attack can cause more emotional scarring in a child in the long-term, compared to an adult.
- Physical injuries incurred by a child may be more severe and long-lasting, compared to an adult.
- Children are less able to defend themselves during a dog attack than adults
- Scarring and disfigurement in children are also usually more profound
2. The severity of the bite
The amount of compensation someone receives in a dog bite case depends largely on the severity of the wound. If there is permanent scarring or disfigurement, it will likely increase the value of the settlement claim.
- Does the victim require reconstructive surgery?
- Is extensive physical therapy required?
- Is there nerve damage?
- Did the bite cause rabies?
- Is there permanent physical scarring or disfigurement?
3. Possible long-term emotional effects
The emotional trauma of a dog attack can be very difficult to overcome, and personal injury attorneys can report firsthand how devastating the aftermath can be for their clients. These legal experts will ensure that the victim is well compensated for this mental anguish, which often includes:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- And other issues of mental health
4. History of prior dog attacks, if applicable
When it comes to dog bite cases, the history of prior attacks by the same animal can play a significant role in how a financial settlement is reached. However, it’s also important to note that even if there isn’t an established history of prior attacks by the same animal, this doesn’t necessarily mean that owners will not be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Depending on local ordinances, courts will often look at other legal considerations—such as whether a leash law was violated or if owners were negligent in controlling their pets. A Los Angeles dog bite attorney with experience and expertise will navigate these sorts of varying laws and ordinances to ensure the highest possible financial settlement.
5. Possible trespassing issues
Trespassing is an important factor to consider when evaluating the potential for achieving a successful outcome in your case. The legal concept behind this is that any act of trespassing may impact an individual’s ability to collect compensation from another party. Your personal injury attorney will carefully explain how trespass laws work and provide insights into how these statutes could affect your claim.
Even if you were unaware or not involved with any form of trespassing, you should still discuss the matter with your attorney. Only then can they properly evaluate all legal implications associated with the event and advise accordingly.
Best Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles, California
Settling a dog bite case can be both challenging and financially rewarding. It is important to ensure all parties are kept informed, timelines are adhered to, and the settlement agreement is clear and comprehensive.
With the right approach, you can effectively resolve this type of legal dispute promptly with a positive outcome for all parties involved. Taking the time to understand your legal rights and obligations will pave the way for a successful resolution. If you are looking for a reliable and trustworthy personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, CA, with experience in dog bite cases, contact Point Law Group today.