In 2017, insurance companies paid more than $600 million in settlements and jury verdicts to people who were injured by dog bites and attacks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that medical professionals treat approximately 800,000 Americans for bites each year. Shockingly, about 50% of those victims are children. Dog bite victims often sustain serious physical injuries, scars, and emotional trauma.
- I was attacked by a dog. What should I do now?
- How much is my dog bite case worth?
- What is the Statute of Limitations for a dog bite claim?
- How much does a dog bite lawyer charge?
#1: I was attacked by a dog. What should I do now?
- Seek immediate medical attention. By seeking medical attention quickly, you are able to get treated professionally and are protecting your well-being. If you do not seek medical treatment for your injuries, the dog owner and his or her insurance company may claim that your injuries were not serious or that you were not injured in the attack. By obtaining professional medical treatment, your medical records will document the serious nature of your injuries.
- Make a dog bite report with the police department, fire department, or animal control department of your city or county. Making a report is very important to document that the event took place and to have the government agency do an investigation. If this is a dog that has previously attacked other people, the city may want to take action against the owner or the dog. Some people choose not to make these reports because they do not want anything to happen to the dog or because they do not want to offend the owner of the dog, as the owner may be a neighbor or a family friend. Failing to report the incident may have a negative impact on your case.
- Take photos immediately. If you decided to take photos later on, the wound or the mark could heal without you realizing it. If you do not have proof of the extent of your injuries at the time of the bite, it may be disputed at a later time. You must be able to show that you have been seriously injured if you want to protect your legal rights. Our firm often hires a professional photographer to take pictures of the wound shortly after the incident and at a later date after the scar has reached its maximum healing.
#2: How Much Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
Claims made by dog bite and attack victims are almost always paid by the dog owner’s homeowner’s, or renter’s, insurance company.
Typical damages for which dog bite victims can receive compensation include:
- Pain and suffering: This is the right to compensation for physical pain and suffering and mental anguish you have suffered and could possibly endure in the future. This accounts for many of the damages that are recovered and are in addition to the following damages that are discussed.
- Loss of Earnings: You are entitled to recover for the loss of earnings which you suffered from your injuries. This includes wages, commissions, bonuses, and all other earnings and fringe beneﬁts. If you are not able to work because you are recovering from your injuries, the loss of income will be made up.
- Future Loss of Earnings: If your injuries have prevented you from your ability to earn income in the future, you can recover damages for the value of the reduction in earning capacity with reasonable probability which will occur in the future.
- Disﬁgurement: If the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, the victim is entitled to recovery for the disﬁgurement. Because these injuries are often in very visible places, victims are often very self-conscious of their appearance.
- Children are frequently bitten in the facial region and require plastic surgery later on in life. Depending on the age of the child at the time of the attack, many surgeons will not perform surgical revisions until the child reaches early adulthood. This means that many times, children will go through the embarrassment and humiliation of the scar through adolescence, a period in which they are very self- conscious of their appearance. This often impacts them both socially and emotionally.
- Medical Expenses: Damages include any sort of medical expenses that a victim has had to pay for at a hospital, clinic, or to a pharmacy. These include the cost of basic medical treatment, going to the emergency room, and any sort of surgical treatment or care needed to repair the damaged area of the body.
#3: Time Deadlines for Virginia Dog Bite Claims
In Virginia, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, sometimes special circumstances apply and can alter that deadline. It is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident to protect your rights.
#4: How Much Does A Dog Bite Lawyer Charge?
Insurance companies have tremendous resources. Our law firm understands that the costs associated with a lawsuit can be a barrier to justice. This is why we offer a no fee promise. This means you don’t owe us any legal fees unless we settle or win your case. If we accept your case, we will work on your behalf to get a fair settlement, and only charge legal fees if you receive a settlement or verdict.
Dog Bite Lawyer Richard Serpe
Richard Serpe has 32+ years of experience helping victims of personal injuries. He has helped numerous victims across the state get the compensation they deserve after being attacked. These clients include children, adults, mail carriers, delivery drivers, joggers, pedestrians, and others. If you’ve been attacked contact Richard Serpe for a free consultation.