What Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
Colorado is one of the most dog-friendly states. It’s common to see dogs everywhere you go, including hiking trails, restaurants, parks and backyard BBQs. While most dogs are extremely friendly and great companions, dog bite attacks still occur with alarming frequency.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bite attacks occur each year in the United States. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that these injuries resulted in approximately $797 million in homeowner’s insurance liability claims in 2019.
That may seem like a lot of money, but the reality is dog bite attacks often have devastating consequences for the victims. In addition to facing extensive medical bills, many dog bite victims also experience ongoing psychological trauma due to the attack. Ultimately, the compensation awarded in a dog bite case must reflect the total extent of these damages.
All dog bite cases are unique. As a result, it’s impossible to place a value on your claim without speaking to an attorney first. At Pushchak Law, we’ve made dog bite cases a primary focus of our practice, and Mr. Pushchak understands the complex factors involved in determining how much your claim is worth. He will discuss these factors and help you understand your options during a free consultation.
Colorado Adheres to Strict Liability Laws for Dog Owners
The good news is that if you are attacked by a dog in Colorado, the owner will be held strictly liable for any economic damages caused by their pet. Even in situations where there was no prior history of the dog being aggressive or where the dog owner took all necessary precautions to protect others, you will be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Current and future medical bills associated with the attack
- Ongoing rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
If you’re able to prove the dog owner acted negligently, you may also be entitled to recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, and any disfigurement. This can significantly increase the value of your claim.
You’ll need to demonstrate the following elements in order to prove negligence in a dog bite case:
- The dog’s owner had a duty to take reasonable care and control of the animal
- The owner failed to fulfill this obligation
- This breach of duty resulted in an attack that caused your injuries
Factors that Impact the Value of Your Dog Bite Case
Mr. Pushchak will evaluate the unique circumstances associated with your injury in order to ensure your settlement fairly compensates you for the total extent of your damages. The following factors will impact the value of your compensation in a dog bite case.
The Severity of Your Injuries
In general, the more severe your injuries suffered during the attack, the higher the compensation. This is due to the fact that more severe injuries typically require more extensive medical treatment. If the attack only results in a small laceration that can be repaired with a few stitches, your medical bills will most likely be relatively moderate. However, many dog attacks result in much more costly treatment that may include:
- Overnight stay at the hospital
- Ongoing medical care (in the case of a permanent disability or loss of function)
- Physical therapy and other rehabilitation
- Expensive medication
In addition, severe injuries may cause you to miss work while you recover. These lost wages will be included in your compensation. If you suffer a disability that prevents you from performing your job in the future, you may also be entitled to compensation for diminished earning capacity.
Whether Negligence Contributed to Your Injuries
Due to Colorado’s strict liability laws in dog attacks, you’re entitled to compensation for all expenses associated with your injuries. However, you generally won’t receive non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, unless the dog’s owner acted negligently.
If negligence contributed to your injuries, you may be entitled to recover additional compensation for pain and suffering, and disfigurement. It’s common to experience emotional distress and psychological trauma from a dog bite attack. This may result in:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A debilitating fear of dogs
In addition to being compensated for the issues listed above, your pain and suffering damages may be increased if you suffer a permanent disfigurement or disability from the attack since these issues often exacerbate the psychological effects of the dog bite.
If the dog owner’s actions were deemed to be reckless or egregious, you may also be entitled to recover punitive damages. These damages are added to the compensation necessary to make you whole after your injury, and they are intended to send a strong message that will prevent similar reckless behavior in the future.
Examples of reckless behavior which may warrant punitive damages include:
- Letting a dog that is known to be aggressive or vicious run loose or unsupervised
- Failing to adhere to local leash laws
- Failing to closely monitor a dog in the presence of unfamiliar children
Pushchak Law Can Help
If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, Mr. Pushchak can help. He’s witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by dog attacks, and he’ll fight aggressively to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Mr. Pushchak is committed to delivering the highly personalized care you deserve. This starts at your initial consultation and extends through the resolution of your case. He will listen carefully to your story in order to recommend the best strategy for your case. Mr. Pushchak will always be available to answer your questions or provide updates on the status of your case, even after hours and on weekends.
It’s important to remember that the insurance company isn’t on your side. Their goal is to minimize the amount they must pay on your claim. Mr. Pushchak will handle all negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf in order to ensure the settlement fairly reflects the total extent of your damages. In situations where he doesn’t feel a settlement is in your best interests, Mr. Pushchak is prepared to pursue your compensation in court.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Please contact Pushchak Law today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Denver and throughout Colorado.