To answer this ‘how much can I sue for a dog bite?’ question, we must state right off the bat that there isn’t any blanket price that you can put for getting bit by a dog.
However, you can actually sue for up to 10,000 dollars if your lawyer knows what to do.
Nonetheless, as much as is within your power, try to settle things out of court. Court proceedings are pretty expensive for both parties, seeing as you’ll need to pay your lawyer and all such.
That aside, you could get things to move a little bit faster by getting familiar with the legal provisions for a dog bite in your state.
If, in communicating with the owner of the dog that bit you, you are able to clearly state why you think you are entitled to some form of settlement as stated in the law, it could get you somewhere really fast.
So, What Should You Do When You Are Bitten?
We would recommend that you immediately get the dog owner’s contact details. If you think you have the time, you could stay and negotiate medical compensation and such.
However, it might be a better idea to go to the doctor to have your wound checked out first.
You also want to immediately rule out the possibility of an infection, especially rabies. And to do this, you can check with your local animal control department.
Once that is done, take note of how much you have spent on medical bills as you will be communicating that with the dog’s owner when you’re negotiating compensation.
What Can You Be Compensated For?
Obviously, the primary thing you’ll need to be compensated for is medical bills. And we mean everything you spent in the hospital or paying a medical practitioner as a result of the dog bite.
So, even if it was something as mild as getting stitches and drugs or as aggravated as needing physical rehabilitation or appointments with a psychologist, the law makes it so that the owner of the dog should take care of that.
Furthermore, if you had a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by the bite or general aggression by the dog, the dog owner is liable to pay for any medical bills incurred whether pre-existing or not.
Now, in addition to the medical costs, the dog owner is responsible for any financial loss you might have incurred as a result of being incapacitated.
So, if you could not go to work as a result of your injury or you could not keep an appointment, you can ask to be compensated for the money you lost.
Another area where you can seek compensation is for ‘loss of consortium’. Basically, what this means is that if you were in some sort of relationship with the owner of the dog and this attack affected said relationship, you could sue for loss of intimacy.
Also, if said dog has attacked someone(s) before, you could be compensated for multiple damages if your state has that kind of provision.
Finally, and here is the interesting part, you could sue for pain. Now, this is not necessarily about the pain from the bite but the suffering and trauma you experience as a result of being bit. And this doesn’t have anything to do with the cost of seeing a shrink.
It might be difficult to put a price on the amount of trauma one has suffered. However, you might not have to do it if things get to the court; the jury can do that (source).
There Is Something That Could Hamper Things, Though!
And that is if you have anything to do with your being bit. In some states, the entire responsibility of a person getting bit is on the dog owner, no questions asked.
However, some states will allow for your compensation to be ducked if you somehow caused it.
So, if you aggravated the dog or were intrusive, you, more than most, should try to settle out of court.
Let’s conclude this way. If you have been bit by a dog, try to settle things amicably out of court, explaining to the dog owner what could happen if you were not compensated.
You could even suggest to them that their home owner’s insurance could cover the expenses. Some dog owners might not be aware of this.
If they, however, refuse to settle, call in your lawyer if you must. They’ll know what to do.
On the other hand though, if you have a dog, you might want to find out what you can do if they bite someone.