What should be the settlement amount from insurance for dog bite? 20 Answers as of June 26, 2013

Female bite between eyes. Required plastic surgery. Several counseling session for fear and anxiety. Medical bills are around $40,000. Time for insurance company to make her an offer. She does have a scar above her nose and a small one below eye. She is better and looks great. She doesn’t expect much but she should get something for time off work and the pain from everything and permanent scarring.

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Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
I cannot answer what the settlement amount should be for the dog bite without a lot more information.

Each case is different and its value is based on its particular facts and there is no magic formula to determine what a case is worth.

A person is entitled to be "made whole" or "compensated" for all injuries and damages they sustained.

There are a number of factors that determine what a case is worth. Some of these include, but are not limited to: the nature and extent of the injury; whether an injury is temporary or permanent; your medical expenses; lost wages; and pain, suffering and inconvenience.

If an injury is permanent, a person may be entitled to additional money for these items. At a minimum, the settlement should include the medical expenses and lost wages.

In addition, she would be entitled to her pain, suffering and inconvenience. Assuming the scar is not painful she would be entitled to additional money.

How much depends on how large the scar is and how noticeable it is. The larger the scar and the more noticeable it is the more money she is entitled to.

Without seeing the scar I could not provide an amount she should be entitled to.

She may want to talk to an attorney about her case and its possible worth. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation so it would not cost her anything to get additional information.

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Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 10/24/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
No bright line rule, but usually between 1 and 3 times the medical bills.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 10/24/2012
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
You have provided no facts of the incident which is a component to settlement value. If it was an unprovoked dog bite, one would expect severe emotional distress, particularly getting bitten on the face. The age of the victim is a factor, along with recovery time, missed time from work, what the loss of earnings was, etc. However, if the policy limit is $100,000, at the minimum I would make a policy limit demand. If the limit is greater that $100,000, I would obtain a report from a company that searches for similar cases (verdicts and settlements) with similar facts and injuries. This would assist in determining value and the report can be used or given to the insurance company to support your demand. These reports generally run $300 to $500, but can be well worth the investment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/19/2012
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
The injured person should at least consult with a plaintiff's lawyer who handles dog bite and other animal cases for a complete evaluation of her case including the injury.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 10/18/2012
E. Ray Critchett, LLC
E. Ray Critchett, LLC | Ray Critchett
Dog bite injuries can be serious and if this one required plastic surgery, it is likely a serious injury. I would be careful about trying to settle the claim without consulting an attorney first. I say this because you may have legal obligations to repay your health insurance carrier, Medicaid and/or Medicare. If you fail to address those issues, you could lose your health insurance coverage, be sued or lose other benefits. Unfortunately, it is difficult to wade through these issues without some assistance. Schedule an appointment with an attorney who offers a "free consultation" to find out what issues you may have to face before you can consider entering into a final settlement agreement with the insurance carrier. Also, if the injured person is a minor, you will have some other issues to address as well. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/18/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Not enough information here. Is this an adult or child? Does the dog have a vicious reputation? You have to prove that to get the case started. Did your victim do anything to antagonize the dog How does a dog get in ones face? Get you a good personal injury lawyer and don't try to handle this yourself.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/18/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Married or single female? Single females are worth more because of becoming "damaged merchandise." Typically, the value of the case depends upon the residual scarring, both physically and emotionally. It is also important to know what the policy limits are. There are 2 basic defenses to a dog bite case: 1) "It's not my dog." And 2) "you provoked the dog to bite."
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    If you had a lawyer then they would be able to give you an estimate as to a fair settlement value amount taking into account the age, and other factors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Assuming there are no liability defenses, it will depend on the nature and extent of scarring and if there is any emotional distress. Could well be over $100,000.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    EJ Leizerman & Associates | Michael Leizerman
    Sorry to hear this happened. How old is the female? If the dog owner is liable and her scar is still visible, this case could be worth much more than medical bills. I would want to know what happened and how much homeowners insurance is available. I believe that a permanent scar, especially on a girl or woman's face, is a valuable case. And the Ohio Legislature believes so, too, since they have a specific exception that says that a permanent disfigurement permits a person to receive more than the usual $250,000 cap on a settlement if proven. Let me know if I can do anything to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    It is difficult to assess a settlement value without reviewing medical records, seeing the scarring, talking to the claimant, and knowing the circumstances of the both the bite and the recovery. Personal injury attorneys are skilled and experienced in dealing with insurance companies and maximizing offers. Generally, the net recovery for an attorney-represented injury claim is frequently 2-3x that of one in which the injured person handles the matter themselves. I strongly recommend you seek out the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Atterbury, Kammer & Haag | Eric J. Haag
    A fair and reasonable settlement amount depends upon a number of factors, including the age of the victim, the prominence of the residual scarring, the amount of medical charges, the amount of future medical charges, the extent and need for future counseling, the amount of lost wages. No attorney can responsibly give an answer to the value question without reviewing the case in detail to gain information about those topics.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    I am very sorry to hear about this incident. It is difficult to give an estimate regarding the value of a claim in a forum such as this without knowing all of the facts of this case. Generally, the person who suffered the injury is entitled to compensation for her medical expenses related to the dog bite, missed time from work , pain and suffering, future medical expenses and also any permanent injury or scaring. A scar which is located in the middle of the face is certainly something she should be compensated for I would strongly suggest that prior to your attempt to settle this matter with an insurance company you seek a consultation with an attorney in your area who specializes in personal injury. He or she will be able to hear all of the important facts of this matter and give you a more fully informed opinion with respect to your legal options at this point. Settling a claim on your own can be very difficult and there are many factors and legal issues you need to be aware of prior to attempting to settle a claim.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    You should call my office immediately. There is a claim that may be worth many multiples of the specials.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    That would be $100,000.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Pivotal Law Group, PLLC
    Pivotal Law Group, PLLC | Christopher L. Thayer
    There is no set formula for determining the settlement amount of personal injury claims. Your (daughter?) is definitely entitled to an award of pain and suffering for the initial injury and any surgeries. In addition, there is a value to be assigned to the scarring, especially because it is on the face. There are a lot of cases out there involving facial scarring, so the average jury award for a similar case would need to be researched. One major question will be whether further revision surgery or other treatment may be needed in the future.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    That can vary greatly.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    With scar cases you really need to see them to evaluate them. You also need to see the medical records and get back ground information on the client as well as the dog. I'm afraid your question just can't be answered over email. You really should get an attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Assessment of an appropriate settlement requires detailed analysis of liability and damages, including application of legal principles, evidenciary factors, medical documentation, out of pocket expenses, calculation of future losses and experience in your jurisdiction as to likely range of prospective jury awards. To answer the question properly, one would need extensive examination of all the evidence, particularly the medical records. 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: 10/17/2012
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