The nature of the dog bite and the claims settlement process will affect how much of a settlement you’ll receive. 95% of personal injury claims settle out of court. Many of these are dog bite claims. That’s why you need to understand the dog bite claims settlement process and the settlement amount (if any) that you’ll get. You need to understand:
• What motivates the defendant to settle
• The importance of the nature and extent of your wounds and other injuries
Defendant Must Want to Settle
There has to be motivating the defendant to settle. In most instances, it’s the prospect of losing the case at trial. The types of statutes the state where you were bitten in also play a large role in determining your settlement amount. For example, if you live in a ‘strict liability’ state, the owner will be 100% liable.
It gets a little sticky when you live in a ‘one-bite’ or ‘negligence’ based state. The owner will be willing to settle if it’s obvious that you were hurt badly and his or her dog was responsible for your injuries. You will be compensated for:
Disfigurement – if you’ve been disfigured because of your accident, then you may be able to sue the defendant for bodily injuries and any related pain and suffering. Pain and suffering, includes mental anguish.
Mental anguish – it includes emotional suffering or mental distress that you feel because of your accident. Mental anguish includes fear, fright, terror, apprehension
Permanent Disability – You need expert medical testimony from a doctor to get this. You generally need to appear for a medical exam to get a doctor to testify for you.
The Plaintiff Must Have Visible Injuries
You must have suffered from visible injuries after you were bitten by the dog. That means you must have some medical expenses and bills. Your claim must also be one that would win some settlement amount if it went to court.
Special damages are easy to calculate. All the insurance adjuster has to do is add them up. General damages (pain and suffering) are a bit more complicated though. Your settlement will also be higher if you suffered from some form of disability and/or disfigurement than if you just suffered from a few minor bites.
Other factors like the prevalence of dog bites in the area where you were bitten also come into play. You should also fight for fair compensation rather than just receiving money from the other party. This will ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours and leave the other driver with some financial pain in addition to their emotional scars.