If you have been the victim of a dog bite in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona, you might be wondering how much your personal injury claim is worth. Recognizing the value of your claim is crucial, as it can help you make informed decisions about pursuing legal action and seeking appropriate compensation for your injuries. To accurately assess the value of your claim, you should obtain the assistance of an experienced Flagstaff personal injury attorney at Griffen & Stevens who can evaluate the unique circumstances of your case and determine how much you should recover from the dog's owner.
Types of Compensation for a Dog Bite Under Arizona Law
You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries under Arizona's strict liability dog bite law, which holds a dog owner liable to compensate a dog bite victim even if the owner’s dog never bit anyone before. When calculating the value of your dog bite claim, a skilled Flagstaff personal injury lawyer will carefully assess the damages you can recover and factors that can strengthen or weaken your case. The compensation you deserve can include the following:
You should be reimbursed for your past and future medical costs to treat your injuries. Your claim can cover medical bills related to hospitalizations, surgeries, diagnostic tests, doctor visits, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical treatments resulting from the dog bite injuries.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering compensation compensates you for the physical pain, emotional trauma, and mental anguish you endured due to the dog bite incident and while coping with your injuries. If you suffer scarring and disfigurement, you can seek pain and suffering damages for your reduced self-esteem and quality of life.
If your injuries have caused you to miss work, you can recover your lost wages, sick and vacation time, and other benefits of your job. If you have become permanently disabled or have suffered a diminished earning capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for your reduced future earning potential.
If personal property, such as your clothing or cellphone, was damaged during the attack, you might be able to recover damages for the repair or replacement of those items.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Dog Bite Claim
The value of a dog bite claim varies based on numerous factors that can affect the strength of a victim's case. A skilled personal injury attorney will evaluate these factors to determine the appropriate compensation amount you should pursue. Some of the key factors include the following:
Severity of Your Injuries
The nature and severity of your injuries will significantly impact your claim's value. More severe injuries that result in extensive medical treatment and long-lasting effects, such as scarring and disfigurement, often warrant higher compensation.
The strength of your claim depends on the quality and quantity of evidence you can provide. This includes medical records, photographs of your injuries, eyewitness accounts, paystubs, expert witness reports, and other documentation supporting your case.
If the dog owner's liability is clear, this will strengthen your case and increase the value of your claim. However, if there are valid disputes about liability, your claim's worth could be reduced.
The dog owner's insurance policy will influence the compensation available. You can only recover damages up to their policy limit, no matter how seriously you are injured.
Arizona follows a pure comparative negligence law. Under this rule, your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault if it is determined that you contributed to the dog bite incident in any way.
Statute of Limitations
The time limit to file your claim can affect its value. Failing to file a lawsuit within this deadline could potentially bar you from seeking compensation altogether.
If you made mistakes, such as not seeking immediate medical care or agreeing to give a recorded statement, you could weaken your claim and give the insurance company reason to deny your claim or try to force you to accept less compensation in your settlement.
Remember, every dog bite claim is unique, and the compensation you are entitled to will depend on the specific details of your case. Seeking the guidance of a dedicated Flagstaff personal injury lawyer is essential to accurately assess your claim's value and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.