Dog bites can lead to serious complications. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) mentions that one in five people bitten by dogs requires medical attention. If a dog injures someone, they can seek redress in the form of compensation. To be assured of getting something from a dog bite in Norfolk, you’ll need to understand Virginia’s stance on these cases. A personal injury attorney can help you formulate a dog bite case. But what are personal injury settlements supposed to look like? How much does can a Norfolk dog bite lawyer get for you in a personal injury claim? Do insurance companies have a say in this settlement?
Damages From a Dog Bite
Depending on how severe the attack was on the real person, the damage can range from mild to profound. Damage from a dog bite may occur to tissues, with torn skin, facial injuries, severed nerves, and muscle damage. If the person has broken bones or fractures, a trip to the doctor may last for several days. This extended stay means that medical costs will mount up. Medical bills will also consider the cost of medicine and operations that may need to be performed to save the person’s life. The physical injury will have to be dealt with along with mental trauma. With severe trauma, a person may lose the use of their limbs or become disfigured for life. Major injuries may result in impaired social function for the rest of the person’s life.
Occasionally, a dog bite may directly or indirectly result in death. The family of someone bitten by a dog may also add a wrongful death suit to a case like this. Bites can become infected if not treated properly, which may lead to catastrophic injuries in some cases. In these cases, the injury victim should seek out a dog bite lawyer to ensure that they can get the monetary compensation they deserve from a dog bite claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help to clear up doubts about the case. The attorney will even advise you on your best course of action and the type of monetary damages you may be able to claim for this injury.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Dog Bite?
In any personal injury case, you’re likely to get one or both of two types of damages. Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) are used to punish the defendant for bad behavior. They are also used as a deterrent to someone else considering the same course of action. Compensatory damages focus on the problems experienced by the dog bite victim. These compensatory damages may include loss of wages, medical expenses payment, and covering other things like pain and suffering compensation. A fair settlement will be based on what damages were done by the dog to the victim and how they coped with the incident’s fallout. Medical records can be used to prove the severity of damages and the cost of treatment.
The medical expenses associated with a dog bite aren’t just related to physical damages. Therapy to deal with mental trauma will also need to be considered. Psychological treatment is as much permanent injuries as scars and disfigurement. Pain and suffering damages also fall under compensatory damages. Since there is usually a large amount of pain from recovery, this part of the settlement may be substantial. The Insurance Information Institute (III) notes that the average cost per claim for big bites in 2020 hit $55,000. The cost of the suit will vary based on how much damage was done. Accident lawyers will have a better idea of how much a particular suit is worth.
Virginia’s Dog Bite Laws
Virginia is unique in its approach to personal injury claims regarding dog bites. Other states have specific statutes dedicated to these incidents. Virginia, instead, has a precedence-based model for its legal approach to dog bites. The “One Bite” rule that Virginia uses puts the onus for control of the animal on the owner. The owner may be held guilty if they knew that the dog might have acted aggressively against a pet or person. Despite the name “One Bite,” this rule also covers other damages that a dog may cause to a person. If a dog jumps on you and causes you to get damaged as a result, the “One Bite” rule may also be applied. Property damage is also covered under the “One Bite” rule.
Personal injury claims may extend to more than just the One Bite rule, however. The victim may take the owner to court for negligence in managing their animal. As is typical in Virginia cases, negligence requires that the victim show that the owner had a duty of reasonable care to the victim. If they can prove this and show that the owner did not maintain that reasonable duty of care, they can sue the owner for damages related to the bite. Occasionally, the dog bite victim may use the argument of “negligence per se.” Negligence per se relies on proving that they may have caused the dog bite to occur by their very action. Contravening safety protocol outlined in law as a “victimless crime” may result in a dog bite injury.
Proving Negligence for a Settlement
Virginia is a “Contributory Negligence” state. What this means is that if a plaintiff files a suit, and they are in some way responsible (no matter how minor) for their injuries, they cannot claim compensation. Because of how easy it might be to prove that a victim caused the dog to bite them on their own, it’s challenging to ensure a compensation settlement for your dog bite. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you secure a settlement and ensure that all of your bills are covered. Your initial consultation will allow them to gauge how long since the incident happened and if you have a reason to file a case.
Time Limits for Dog Bite Personal Injury Cases
A Virginia personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you if you can file a dog bite suit after a certain period. Usually, you should seek compensation as soon as the incident happened. However, at times, you may be required to stay at a medical facility for an extended period. The statute of limitations in Virginia allows a two-year deadline to file a claim in court against a dog owner.
Choosing a Legal Team to Guide You
A personal injury law firm can help you figure out how to file your dog bite claim. The combined experience of professional dog bite lawyers can help you to meet the strict deadlines for filing. They can even ensure that you don’t get lowballed by insurance adjusters. You should examine the company’s record of success in personal injury cases before deciding to choose them as your legal representation. A lawyer’s track record, especially with dog bite claims, can help you determine if they’re up to the task of representing you.
Professionals in the field are able to secure a successful settlement for innocent victims. A personal injury firm that’s dedicated to representing their clients in their dog bite injury claim will be aware of the best approach to take. Seeking fair compensation as personal injury victims requires patience and understanding from the attorney. Call VACAIL for your free consultation.