The 2nd important point about dog bite cases is the age and sex of the victim.
For example, a 55 year old married man is bitten on the arm and has a severe scar from a dog bite. The value of his case may not be that of another person.
Now assume in that same example a 13 year old girl is bitten on the arm with the same number of stitches and scars. Which case is entitled to more value?
Believe it or not there are studies on this very issue which I would be able to help you with.
As a general rule scars on women carry a much higher value ($) than the same kind of scars on men.
Also a huge issue is where on the body the injured victim sustained their dog bite. An unmarried 19 year old girl who is severely scarred from a dog bite on her face is going to carry a lot higher value for her injuries than a 55 year old married man.
Why? Juries often think the 55 year old guy is married so what difference does it really make. Let’s give him some money but not a lot.
That same jury might take a much different view on the unmarried female who has suffered these horrific scars from a dog bite.
Recently Pittsburgh Wrongful Death and Dog Bite Attorney Bernie Tully received a 6 figure settlement for a minor child who was severely scarred from the effects of a dog bite.
The same injuries to a 30 year old married steelworker might be worth $50,000.
Another issue becomes what insurance company are you dealing with. Certain insurance companies like Allstate take dog bite cases pretty seriously. Other insurance companies not so much.
That is where an attorney with experience handling dog bite cases is important.
Why? Because an experienced dog bite attorney has a pretty good sense of what the insurance company will really pay.
Lastly, there is an important consideration that was just decided this month on dog bites.
The question is can the victim of a dog bite receive punitive damages for a dog bite by an owner who had prior knowledge of the vicious nature of the dog.
In that case, a Common Pleas Judge ruled that yes the owner can be responsible for punitive damages for the injuries caused to the victim.
The Court ruled that since the dog had bitten at least one, or maybe two people prior to this incident, that the owner of the dog should have taken special precautions to restrain his dog.
Why is this issue of punitive damages so important in dog bite cases?
Because it can hugely affect the amount of a jury verdict or settlement. In plain English the $ you may receive.
Plus insurance companies fear the words punitive damages. What do I mean?
If the jury agrees the value ($) of a dog bite to a married woman’s hand is worth $75,000 that is what they will award her.
However, if the jury adds punitive or punishment damages on top of the $75,000 the sky is the limit.
The jury can, for example, take the $75,000 amount and multiple it by 5 for punitive damages. $75,000 x 5 is $375,000 in this example.
See the big potential of punitive damages?
We are not dog haters.
Most of this information does not have to do with you as a responsible dog owner.
This blog only deals with individuals who are irresponsible in terms of insuring the safety of their dogs. Those are the individuals that we would target along with their insurance companies.
Call Pittsburgh Wrongful Death, Car Accident and Dog Bite Attorney Bernie Tully for a free evaluation of your dog bite case.
That is it for today.
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Bernie the Attorney