According to data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average settlement for a dog bite in Texas is just under $41,000. Texas also reports an average of 930 dog bite claims per year with over a $38 million annual claim payout. Common damages in a dog bite case include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma, and physical suffering.
If you are the victim of a dog bite and need to file a personal injury claim, you may want to consult a dog bite lawyer in Dallas, Texas, before speaking with the insurance company. An attorney can assess your damages to determine what your case is worth, then fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.
How do Damages Determine a Settlement in a Dog Bite Case?
Regardless of the state’s average settlement for dog bite claims, there is no set formula for determining how much a claim is worth. Each case is unique and needs to be handled as such.
When assessing your claim, your attorney will investigate how the dog bite affected your life and calculate the total damages accordingly. Damages you may be entitled to claim include:
The more severe your injuries are, the more medical costs you accumulate. Common medical expenses include:
- An emergency room visit
- Surgical care
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Follow-up visits
- Pain medicine
- Medical devices
Since medical costs are calculable damages, you will need to keep all of your medical reports, receipts, and invoices. Your attorney will use these documents to add up these expenses and prove them in your claim.
Time Off Work
You may have to take time off from work to recover from your dog bite injuries. If so, you can claim work-related damages, such as loss of:
- Benefits or insurance
- Earning capacity
Your employer can confirm the amount of income and benefits you lost during your recovery time. Then, your lawyer can work with your employer to calculate these damages and add them to your claim.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a legal term for the emotional or physical stress you experience during recovery. Although these damages are not calculable, your attorney can assign a value to them and recommend a dollar amount on your claim. Some examples of pain and suffering include:
- Chronic severe pain
- Emotional trauma
- Limited activity
- Poor quality of life
- Scarring or disability
- Loss of consortium
Pain and suffering refers to how the dog bite negatively impacted your life, both temporarily and permanently.
If your attorney files a lawsuit against the at-fault party, a jury may award punitive damages as a part of your dog bite claim. However, these are rare and only awarded if the jury finds that the liable party committed gross negligence, careless actions, or intentional actions against you.
These damages are not a part of your original claim. Instead, the jury awards them to make an example of the defendant, such as deterring other dog owners from committing the same act.
For a free legal consultation, call 877-239-4878
How does Comparative Negligence Factor Into a Dog Bite Case?
Texas is a comparative negligence state, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 33.001. This means that if you are found partially at fault for your injury, you can still receive compensation, but the jury may reduce the amount you can recover. In Texas, this type of comparative negligence is referred to as proportionate responsibility or contributory fault.
Some examples of when comparative negligence may apply in a dog bite case include:
- You trespassed on someone’s property.
- You provoked the dog to bite you.
- You tried to break up a fight between your dog and the other party’s dog.
- You ignored signs or verbal warnings to stay away from the dog.
In each instance, your actions triggered a dog bite. As a result, the damages you can receive will fall a certain percentage depending on the assigned percentage of fault.
How a Dog Bite Attorney in Texas Can Help
You may feel that you have a clear-cut case. However, the dog owner may challenge your claim, or the insurance company could reject it or lowball you on the settlement. Either way, you may find yourself in a complicated legal battle, feeling that your rights have been violated.
A dog bite attorney can navigate these and other legal issues you may encounter while seeking damages. For example, your attorney can:
- Investigate the accident
- Process all paperwork
- Build your case
- Fight for a fair settlement on your behalf
They can also guide you through the claims process and help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your case.
Contact our personal injury lawyers today
Get a Free Evaluation of Your Dog Bite Claim
Before you contact the insurance company, call our law firm first. Our team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins can answer your questions and start your dog bite claim right away.