Dog Bite Case Valuations & Settlements
In the days and weeks (and, in some cases, months and years) following a dog bite or dog attack, the victim will experience significant monetary and noneconomic losses. If the victim hopes to recover compensation for these losses, then it is important that his or her case is properly valued. This involves assigning an appropriate “dollar figure” to the victim’s case and then attempting to obtain that dollar figure through litigation and/or settlement negotiations. Valuation is not as straightforward of a process as may first appear, as it can be difficult to assign a proper dollar figure to some of the victim’s losses.
Considerations in Dog Bite Case Valuations
Valuation of a dog bite or dog attack injury case begins by identifying and documenting the victim’s economic losses. These are losses that are monetary in nature and/or that can be easily assigned a value. The most obvious economic losses are past and future medical expenses, as there are usually bills, insurance statements, or other objective information that can accurately estimate the cost of certain procedures. The cost of therapeutic services such as physical therapy, counseling, or other similar services can also be easily documented. If a victim works, the wages he or she lost as a result of being off of work will also be documented using attendance and/or pay records. If a victim is unable to return to his or her previous job or if his or her future earning potential is reduced as a result of his or her injuries, the difference in earning potential may also be compensable. In some cases, a victim’s attorney’s fees and other legal costs may be compensable.
Noneconomic losses are also compensable insofar as they can be reduced to a dollar figure. Noneconomic losses include those losses or costs that a victim experiences that defy easy valuation. Pain and suffering is the most common noneconomic loss and is meant to compensate the victim for the physical and mental pain and anguish caused by his or her injuries and reparative medical procedures. If a victim is no longer able to participate in the leisure activities he or she participated in before the attack, the value of the victim’s “loss of enjoyment of life” may also be compensated. The embarrassment or loss of self-confidence caused by scarring left after the attack may be compensable as well. Valuing each of these losses is extremely subjective – the value of one person’s “pain and suffering” may not be the same as another dog bite victim’s. Working with an experienced dog bite or scarring injury attorney can help victims gain perspective on how much compensation they may reasonably expect for these noneconomic losses.
Finally, valuation of a dog bite case will take into consideration whether punitive damages are appropriate. Punitive damages (as the name implies) exist to punish a dog owner who acts deliberately or with extreme callousness in causing the victim’s injuries. For example, a dog owner who lets his or her dog off its leash in a crowded park knowing the dog has vicious tendencies and then refuses to help a victim whom his or her dog attacks may be responsible for punitive damages.
Dog Bite Case Settlements – Good or Bad Idea?
Many personal injury and dog bite cases settle as opposed to going to trial. In the wake of a dog bite attack where liability is clearly established by the facts or by the controlling law, one party or the other may offer to settle the case by submitting an offer to the other party. This offer will typically agree to resolve the case for less compensation than the victim is asking for. Such agreements help minimize the costs of the parties while assuring the victim that he or she will receive some degree of compensation. In cases where a close family member or friend is the dog’s owner, a settlement can also help preserve those relationships. Before agreeing to settle a case, however, the victim should review the terms and conditions of the offer with his or her dog bite attorney. Settlements often require the victim to waive any future claims he or she may have against the dog owner arising from the incident. This means if the victim later decides he or she needs counseling or additional reparative surgeries, the victim may not be able to seek additional compensation from the dog owner.
How Stern Law, PLLC Can Assist in Dog Bite Case Valuations & Settlements
Stern Law, PLLC has years of experience representing victims injured in dog bite and dog attack incidents. We can help victims understand the true cost of their injuries and gather the documents necessary to justify their case valuations. Stern Law, PLLC looks after the dog bite victims’ best interests: We help our clients decide whether a settlement is appropriate in their cases and, if so, help secure the best terms for our clients. Attorney Ken Stern’s goal is simple: Help dog bite and dog attack victims get the financial compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Call attorney Ken Stern today at (844) 808-7529 to get started on the road to recovery.