Not only can dog bites cause serious physical injuries, but they can also result in trauma and distress. When you or a family member have been bitten by a dog, you should not worry about an average dog bite settlement. Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney, knows that you are anything but average. We will learn about you and your situation before we begin to negotiate for you. Call our Charleston, SC dog bite attorney today to discuss your case.
The Elements of Your Dog Bite Settlement
Your dog bite compensation compensates you for both the economic and non-economic impacts of your injuries. From an economic perspective, you can be paid for all the costs related to the injury and the money that you were unable to make, either because you could not work or the aftermath of the attack left you unable to earn as much money (if the trauma or changes to your appearance reduced your earnings capacity).
In severe cases, dog bite victims may need reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to the skin. They may have also suffered muscle injuries or nerve damage.
In some instances, the non-economic damages may make up the bulk of your claim. These damages could include:
- The pain and suffering from the dog bite, both physically and emotionally
- The emotional distress from the actual attack, including post-traumatic stress disorder or an extreme fear of dogs
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement that changes appearance
- Embarrassment and humiliation
Oftentimes, small children are the ones who suffer the most serious injury from a dog bite. The dog views a child as a competitor for its own territory. Children may not know how to approach a dog. In turn, the animal is more likely to bite the child on the face or neck. These are where the most severe injuries will occur.
In addition, a child will need to live with the effects of a dog bite the longest. They may live the rest of their life in fear after being helpless during an attack.
The Amount of Your Dog Bite Settlement Depends Largely on Your Own Injuries
Your dog bite settlement is exactly that — yours. The value of your case does not depend on what some nameless and faceless person may have received for their own claim. Each person has their own unique injuries and the factors that impact their own case. As much as the insurance company wants to take you out of the picture, the law does not allow them.
Your exact compensation depends on your situation and how you have been affected by the dog bite. The dog’s owner must pay for your own personal damages based on your suffering. If you focus too much on an average, you may end up sacrificing financial compensation that you could have received.
Be Wary of Numbers that Claim to Be an Average Settlement
Insurance companies seem to want you to know about the average dog bite settlement. State Farm publishes annual statistics about the average dog bite settlements in each state and nationally. Overall, the “average” dog bite settlement nationally in 2022 was roughly $65,000. However, you need to take these numbers with a heavy grain of salt.
You have to wonder why State Farm is so quick to push information out to the general public. Insurance companies generally like to keep information to themselves to keep you off-balance during negotiations. Perhaps State Farm wants you to be happy if you get a settlement offer that is “above average,” knowing full well that your claim is worth far more.
You should never take anyone else’s word for what your case may be worth. You should not use any online “calculator” that purports to give you the value of your dog bite claim. Simply put, there is no such thing as a reliable tool to value your case. The only way that you know how much compensation you may be able to get is when you contact a lawyer and have them review your case.
Factors that Can Influence the Size of Your Dog Bite Settlement
The “average” settlement value may not take into account the following factors:
- The age of the dog bite victim (children may suffer more serious injuries and trauma, and their cases could be worth more)
- Whether each claimant had an attorney fighting for them (those with lawyers usually end up with more money, even after paying the lawyer’s fee)
- The effect that the dog bite will have on the rest of the victim’s life, including their appearance and their psyche
- How much insurance coverage the dog’s owner had at the time of the attack
How Trey Harrell Fights for You
A lawyer can help get you more money because they will fight for you when it is necessary. Your attorney can review your situation and determine whether there are any factors that could increase your financial compensation. From properly valuing your case to advising you to reject a settlement offer, your lawyer will add value that makes it worthwhile to hire them for your case.
The insurance company does not want to pay you the full amount of your claim. If the non-economic damages are high, the insurance company will go out of their way to minimize the harm because it is in their own self-interest. Your attorney will have to push back, using the threat of a lawsuit. Especially when the victim is a small child, the jury may sympathize with a plaintiff who has been left with serious injuries, and an insurance company may fear that.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in South Carolina Today
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney can help maximize your financial recovery. We know how to be tough when the situation calls for it. You can focus on what you need to, while we handle the legal heavy lifting. Call us today at 843-636-8739 or message us online to speak with a dog bite attorney.