Can I sue for pain and suffering after a dog attack? 42 Answers as of May 28, 2013

I had my pug dog in my yard. The next door neighbor came around the corner of his house. His 50 lb. shephard boxer mix male dog charged at me and knocked me down and my 12 lb. pug. I ended up getting stitches in my right hand index finger (5 or so). My dog had 2 punctures in his side and back. My neighbor paid my medical bills and vet bills. He had renters insurance. Since then has moved. I've been advised to sue for pain and suffering. He paid medical bills (about $2500), vet bill ($125), pharmacy bill (around $60). Am I able to sue for pain and suffering? Roughly what amount of money would I be able to sue for (being realistic)? Also would the property owner be liable as well? Would my property owner be liable as well being as it happened on the property where I reside? I am a renter. I am unemployed.

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Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
If you did not sign any release waiving your right to do so, you would definitely have a pain and suffering claim against the owner of the dog. If the owner has insurance to cover this, then you would not have access to other places for insurance. It is difficult to assess the value of your claim without seeing the medical records and scarring, if any.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 9/12/2012
Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
Yes you can sue for "pain and suffering" as well as any other damages you have as a result of being attacked by a dog. As long as you were not trespassing and did not provoke the dog, the owner of the dog is liable for all of your damages. From the information you provide, the dog's owner has paid all of your bills associated with the attack. In addition, as you were unemployed you would not have any lost wages unless you were looking for work at the time of the attack and had to hold off on your job search while you were recovering. As indicated, you can get additional money for "pain and suffering." In addition, if you have any permanent scarring you are entitled to money for that as well. There is no "magic" formula for determining how much money a person is entitled to. Each case is different. Some of the factors that attorneys use to help determine a case's value include, but are not limited to: how long was the person in pain; what body parts were affected; how did the injury affect the person's life; how long did it take for the pain to go away; and how large and noticeable the scar is. Without knowing this information I cannot tell you how much more money you should get. Neither property owner would likely be liable. The owners of the property would have had to done something wrong for them to be liable. From the limited information you provided I do not think the owners are liable. I would suggest you talk to a personal injury attorney about your case. Most offer a free consultation so it will not cost you anything to learn more about your rights and options.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/12/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
Yes sue, get an experienced attorney
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 9/12/2012
Gebler & Weiss, P.C. | Jerrie S. Weiss
If you can prove that the owner was negligent and that the negligence caused the attack, then you definitely can sue for your pain and suffering.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/12/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Yes.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/28/2013
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    If you did not sign a release when the shepherd's owner paid your medical bills, you could sue the owner for your pain and suffering, and mental and emotional distress, and if you had to miss work because of your injuries you could also sue for loss of income. One thing to keep in mind though is that in Mississippi the dog owner is not liable for any damages unless you can prove that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous. Generally to prove that you have to show that the dog has previously attacked someone else, or has acted in a hostile, threatening manner to someone else. I cannot tell you how much your pain and suffering is worth without knowing more about the extent and duration of your injuries. Based on the little information you gave I would say a jury might find your pain and suffering to be worth anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Based on the facts you give I do not see how the dog owner's landlord would be liable, nor do I see how your landlord would be liable either.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    The amount of compensation due from any injury is a question of fact specific to the circumstances of the situation. The statutory provisions regarding dog bite liability are at RCW 16.08 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=16.08). I particular, RCW 16.08.040 says " The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. You can also read relevant dog bite cases (i.e. Beeler V. Hickman, 50 Wn. App. 746, 750 P.2d 1282 (1988)) at the mrsc.org website.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Go see a personal injury attorney right away. If you can prove that the dog owner knew or should have know that his dog had vicious propensities (as defined by case law) or that the owner of the property knew that the dog had VP's, you have a strict liability case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You cant sue successfully unless you prove the dog has a vision propensity. Has he regularly charged at or attacked other people? does he have a reputation for being vicious? If you cant prove that you lose. Pain and suffering, maybe yes. But if the jury were aware that he has paid your bills they may figure he is a good guy and cut him some slack. Do you really want to sue someone who has tried to do right by you?
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    You can sue for pain and suffering. Without any information about how the injury has affected you, it is difficult to say what a reasonable amount would be. If the injury is not permanent, it may only be a small amount, such as $500.00 to $2,000.00. The land owners would not be liable. Unless you can establish pain and suffering in an amount that exceeds the dog owner's insurance or ability to pay, this would make no difference, as you cannot collect the same damages more than once from different sources.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    Yes, you can sue although making a claim for it may be enough to obtain some compensation for what you've suffered. You only have two years to either settle or file suit. So keep that in mind when acting on hiring a lawyer. Coming into a lawyer's office at the last minute won't be helpful for you or him.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    Yes, you can sue the owner of the big dog and his renter's insurance should cover it unless you signed some sort of release to obtain payment of your medical bills. The value of your case depends in part on whether you will likely have a permanent scar and want plastic surgery to reduce it. Your claim should be worth at least several thousand dollars and perhaps substantially more. The owner of the big dog should have controlled his dog. The fact that the attack happened on your landlord's property does not make your landlord liable. Since your landlord was not careless he or she is not liable. Since the big dog owner has renter's insurance there is no point in trying to bring a very difficult lawsuit against his landlord.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
    Without more detail I cannot give you a settlement value estimate for your claim but it does appear that you have a claim which would include but not necessarily be limited to money damages for pain and suffering . Former neighbor's renter's insurance would cover this. To avoid problems with statute of limitations you should speak to a lawyer soon. In this type claim the lawyer's fee is a % of the amount recovered on your behalf and is not computed on an hourly basis.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Yes, Florida has a statute that imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their dogs. I can't give you an idea of how much the case is worth without knowing a lot more information, i.e., scarring, medical bills, lost wages (if there are any), etc. Check with a personal injury lawyer and he or she can probably net you more money after taking out the fees than the insurance company will offer you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    The owner of the dog is liable. The applicable statute is Civil Code section 3342: 3342. (a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner. In my opinion, neither property owner would be liable, only the owner of the dog. As far as damages, you might recover the equivalent of the medical expenses incurred. If you want to pursue, first make a claim against the dog owner's renter's insurance. Ask for at least twice that amount as they never pay what you initially ask for. If the offer made, or if none is offered, you can sue the dog owner in small claims court. His renter's insurance will pay the judgment, so long as it is a covered claim, which it likely should be. Without knowing what exclusions his policy has I cannot tell you for certain whether it is a covered claim.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    PROBABLY. It depends on the "agreement" you have with the dog owner.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    You can bring a claim for pain and suffering and for your injuries. You should contact an attorney to discuss this matter further and to determine what your damages are.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    You can sue the owner of the dog but not your landlord. Ownership of the dog not the property Is the issue. The amount depends in part on your recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You should consult with an accident lawyer who also handles dog bite cases for specific legal advice and a complete?evaluation of your case. That lawyer should advise you on what your complete recovery should be for all of your expenses and injuries, including pain and suffering.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Paris Blank LLP
    Paris Blank LLP | Irving M Blank
    You probably cannot sue the two property owners, but you can have a case against the dog's owner. It is impossible to give you a value without more information. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    Yes you can pursue a claim for pain and suffering and any medical bills not paid, including copays and meds. That amount is based on the nature of incident and injuries, including residuals. As to who are proper defs., the owner of the dog is by far the optimal def. and really no need to pursue anyone else b/c if he has liability insurance should be adequate based on what I understand.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Attorney at Law | Ernest Krause
    When you say "sue" you are talking about filing a Complaint in Superior (or Small Claims Court up to $10,000)? Superior Court is too expensive, complicated and time-consuming. You would fill out online a Small Claims Court Complaint BUT, it may be too late if a year has passed. Renters' insurance must have gotten you to sign a release so, on that score, you have no claim. And a judge would need hard evidence for your claim which is really subjective and speculative anyway. Anyway, you don't get "pain and suffering" money unless it is part of a physical injury claim. It would cost you only a forty-four cent postage stamp to write neatly and coherently to the insurance company saying you want whatever for pain and suffering.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Maybe. It depends homeowner has insurance and if the homeowner's exclude dog bites from their homeowner policy. Renter insurance does not cover dog bites.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Owner of property is not liable unless they did something that was negligent. The dog is strickly liable for the conduct of his dog and would be responsible for your injuries. The value of the settlement is quite variable and depends on numerous factors.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Holcomb Chaffin Rogers & Finn | William M. Chaffin
    You can sue for pain and suffering, if you have not signed a release at the time the renter paid through his renter's insurance. You may have. If not, the case should have a value of 2-3 times your medical costs if no scarring occurred. If it did, then it may be more valuable. As to your question about property owner responsibility that is much more difficult and without more facts it is impossible to say.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    Yes, you can sue for your pain and suffering provided you have not already signed a release in exchange for the payments you have already received. The amount for pain and suffering depends on all the circumstances, especially the severity of your injury, but it could be in the many thousands of dollars. No attorney can tell you without a thorough review of all the facts and documents just how much your case is worth. The property owner is probably not liable, but he/she may have insurance that would cover your injury.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    The dog owners can be held liable if it can be shown that the dogs were vicious; that they bit or threatened someone before or were known to be difficult to control or of a mean temperment. The property owner can be held liable also if it can be shown that he knew or should have known that the tenant had vicious dogs on the property, that he had an opportunity to have it removed, and failed to do so. If the insurance company paid the amounts you recite, did they make you sign a release? If so, you may not be able to seek any further damages. Assessment of an appropriate settlement requires detailed analysis of liability and damages, including application of legal principles, evidenciary factors, medical documentation and experience in your jurisdiction as to likely range of prospective jury awards. Many people use this site to ask what their case is worth. Our answers are always: Get in touch with a personal injury lawyer in your area. That is the best way to get the best settlement in your case
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Offices of David M. Blain
    Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
    No, no and no. Pain and suffering is something you may be awarded if YOU PERSONALLY suffered injury. You cannot recover pain and suffering because your dog (which is property in the eyes of the law) is injured in the same way you cannot recover for pain and suffering if someone scratched your car.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    You have a claim for pain and suffering, as well as possible future damages.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    You may be able to sue the owner of the dog that injured you. You would have a strict liability claim if the dog bit you. If the dog did not bite you, you may have a negligence claim against the owner of the dog.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    There is the possibility that you might recover for the pain and suffering in addition to your medical expenses. The amount requested, won or settled for is dependant on the severity of your injury. Your facts, as presented, do not appear to support any liability as to your landlord.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    The owner of the dog is liable for your pain and suffering. His renter's insurance will pay for such only if he has liability Coverage. Most policies do not have such coverage.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Christensen Corbett & Pankratz
    Christensen Corbett & Pankratz | Craig L. Pankratz
    Generally, pain and suffering damages are available in dog bite cases. The dog's owner is usually the only person liable.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Havens Law, LLC
    Havens Law, LLC | William Havens Nebeker
    Yes, you can. Pain and suffering are general damages awarded to an injured party. You may sue your neighbor however your claim is subject to any defenses your old neighbor has against you. In regards to the owner, that is a more difficult claim to be successful on, it would turn on the facts. Whether or not the owner knew of or had control of the dog or it's environs. Also, the rental agreement may place the burden of liability for injury on the owner or it may attempt to release landowner's liability. Either way, you will need to consult an attorney to begin your suit.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    I don't think you have a viable claim for additional damages. It would cost more than the likely recovery. Imagine yourself in a courtroom with other adults asking them for money. How much would you ask them to make the other guy pay? $1,000, $2,000. The only liable party is the dog owner. All in all, you fared better than most dog bite victims.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    Generally you can sue for pain and suffering . However , I am concerned that you may have signed a waiver of right to further pursue a claim when your medical and animal bills were paid. You should consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    It might be hard to sue if you can't find the dog owner and your landlord has no liability.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Yes you can go after them
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/12/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Pivotal Law Group, PLLC
    Pivotal Law Group, PLLC | Christopher L. Thayer
    You are entitled to be compensated for pain and suffering from the dog owner (or his/her insurer). The amount is not subject to any set formula, but is based primarily on the severity of your injuries, duration that you suffered any pain or disability, and the degree of permanency of any symptoms, disability or scarring. Whether or not either property owner (neighbor or landlord) are possibly liable as well would depend on additional facts. You should contact a personal injury attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/12/2012
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