How Dog Bite Settlements Work

Posted by josephfranks on March 26th, 2020

A dog bite settlement is an agreement between the victim and the dog’s owner to solve the case outside of court. This means that the two parties will decide the compensation amount, without the victim filing a lawsuit or perusing a trial. Court trials are typically time consuming and may result in harsh penalties, such as putting the dog down. This is why most dog owners prefer a private settlement and victims accept in order to save time and legal fees. Illinois Personal Injury Attorneysuggests that you estimate the worth of your case before you agree to a proposed settlement offer.

The value of your dog bite case depends upon several factors:

1.    Your Age

Dog bite settlements are greater for children as compared to an adult victim. There are a number of reasons for this rule. Firstly, children are innocent and less competent to defend themselves from an attack. They may not be able to perceive a dangerous dog even after the animal demonstrates the hazard, such as growling or snarling. A child cannot run as fast as an adult or easily free himself/herself from the grip of a larger animal; as a result he/she is likely to encounter deeper injuries.

2.    Your Intentions

Your claim shall disqualify if you intentionally provoked the dog to attack you. If the dog bit you in response to upsetting actions on your behalf, it was clearly trying to defend itself. Similarly, if you attempted to trespass someone else’s property and were bitten in the process, your position will be compromised. The law may only support your claim if you were lawfully within the boundaries of another person’s estate. It is the same as a robber trying to break into a house is stopped by a guard dog. You will have to justify your deed before accusing the animal for being hostile towards you.

3.    The Owner’s Knowledge

If you can prove that the owner was aware of the threat his/her dog imposed, this will drastically strengthen your case. You may argue that the violent streak of the dog is evident, yet the owner did not properly bound it to the premises. Putting up signs like ‘beware of the dog’ further verify that the dog is dangerous and shall increase the chances of a higher settlement.

4.    Severity of the Attack

A dog bite that did not the pierce the skin or cause any blood loss will not be deemed as serious. Life threatening attacks that result in long term injuries or nerve damage are subject to greater compensation. Contracting an illness like rabies, receiving permanent scars, or undergoing disfigurement/amputation requires prolonged medical treatment. The dog owner will be responsible to endure all hospital fees and make up for all other economic losses. A permanent disability could change the entire course of the individual’s life, thus punitive damages may also apply.

5.    Psychological influence

Being attacked by an animal is a traumatic experience and can leave the victim mentally scarred for life. They may develop a perpetual fear against dogs, including their own household pets. The victim may lose the ability to function normally around any sort of animal and refrain from going any place they might reside. Emotional damages are a rational loss and can be used to increase your claim’s value. 

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