According to one estimate, the typical dog bite victim will receive around $64,000. But that is just an estimate, and the really important question is how much you can receive for your specific injuries. At Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC, our animal attacks lawyers have negotiated many settlements following dog attacks. We know what factors go into calculating a reasonable settlement, and we look at the different categories of damages our clients typically receive.
Dog bites can lead to serious injuries which might require:
- Wound care
- Admission to the intensive care unit
Infection is a little-appreciated consequence of animal attacks. Any infection could also lead to sepsis and weeks in the hospital. It’s hard to say how much money your medical care will cost. Some people only need to clean out a wound and cover with a bandage, whereas others need thousands of dollars in care.
Property Damage—Including Injuries to Pets
We don’t typically think of our pets as property, but that’s what they are under Wisconsin law. And if a dog mauls your own pet, you can seek compensation for veterinary care or, if your pet dies, a replacement.
Many dog bite wounds are so serious people need to take some time off work just to recover. For example, you might need weeks of rehabilitation to regain the use of an injured limb. You should receive compensation for any lost wages or income, even if you are a gig or temporary worker.
Pain and Suffering
Dog bites cause intense pain, emotional distress, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Small children can suffer from recurring nightmares and might develop a life-long fear of dogs. These types of non-economic damages warrant compensation, and our animal attacks lawyer will seek the most available under the law.
Limitations on Your Compensation
A major question is whether the dog owner has any money to pay a settlement. You might have a right to compensation, but there’s always the practical consideration of whether the defendant can pay.
Some dog owners have renter’s or homeowner’s insurance. That type of insurance policy can provide a pot of money to cover a dog bite settlement. If you can sue a kennel or landlord, they also should have insurance.
What happens if there is no insurance? You might still sue the owner personally for a personal injury. However, you want to know if the defendant owns any property you can reach to satisfy a judgment—like money in a bank account or personal property you could sell.
Another limitation is whether you contributed to the attack. For example, you might have been teasing the dog or run into it accidentally, in which case you provoked the animal. Your own negligence can reduce any compensation you receive—or possibly defeat your legal claim entirely.
Maximizing Your Compensation