If a dog bites you, talk to a personal injury law firm to find out if you should make a claim for damages against the owner’s insurance company. 

If you’ve been attacked by a dog and are wondering what to expect if you make a claim, consider the damages you can recover and contact a personal injury law firm experienced in handling dog bite cases. Here is a brief summary of compensation you may be entitled to.

Medical Bills

At the very least, when someone else’s dog bites you, you may not have to pay your own medical bills. If facts show that an unprovoked attack by a dog was caused by an owner who failed to take reasonable precautions to protect others from the dog, the dog owner’s insurance company is liable for resulting medical bills. For example, the insurance company should pay the costs of necessary emergency room care, antibiotics, doctor appointments, physical therapy or counseling, and surgery required later to minimize scarring.

If the dog owner had coverage on his homeowner’s or rental insurance called “Medical Payments,” the insurance company should pay medical expenses regardless of whether the owner was at fault. That kind of coverage is usually limited to $10,000 or less, but requires no determination of fault and has no deductible, so it’s a good resource to cover early medical bills. Payment comes from the insurer, not the owner, but some insurers require the cooperation or agreement of policyholders before paying “Med Pay” claims.

Missed Income

It’s not uncommon to have to miss work to heal from dog bite injuries. If you lose any of your income while you recuperate, the dog owner’s insurer may be liable to compensate you for those damages, too. And, of course, if your earning ability is diminished long-term because of the attack, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering

It can be hard to quantify pain and suffering, but many dog bite cases involve damages for pain and suffering because being attacked by a dog can have lasting physical and emotional effects. South Dakota law says you are entitled to be compensated for all harms caused by someone else’s lack of reasonable care, whether the harm is visible or not and regardless of whether it can be easily quantified. Getting financial compensation will not eliminate the physical or emotional harm done, but it is intended to help make up for the ordeal.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages might be expected in dog bite cases if the dog was known to be vicious or had a history of attacking others and its owner acted recklessly in exposing others to the danger presented. Medical bills, missed income, and pain and suffering are all compensatory damages intended to compensate an injured person, and those damages typically are paid by the dog owner’s insurance company, not the owner. By contrast, punitive damages are meant to punish the person responsible, set an example, and reduce the chance of future attacks, so punitive damage claims in South Dakota are not covered by insurance.

If a dog bit you, it’s time to talk to a lawyer who has experience with dog bite cases to find out if you’re entitled to any of these damages. Please contact Turbak Law Office, P.C. at 877-380-8517 today to request a case evaluation.