Damages in DC Dog Bite Cases

In the District of Columbia, a person is entitled to both economic and non-economic damages as a result of a dog bite case. Anyone who is a victim of a catastrophic dog bite should understand that they may be entitled to be compensated for any injuries. With that said, if you are looking to recover damages in a dog bite case, it is pertinent that you contact an experienced dog bite injury attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist you in recovering the damages you are entitled to.

Determining Damages

The amount of damages a person may claim in a dog bite injury case depends on the nature and extent of the injury. The greater the injury and the longer lasting the effects of the injury, the larger the claim may be. Ultimately, it is up to a judge or jury as to the appropriate value of any given claim.

The plaintiff offers the testimony necessary for the jury in court to consider for damages. The plaintiff testifies and presents proof of their injuries. The jury is free to calculate that information as it deems fit.

The damages are presented through evidence and through the appropriate witness. It is up to the jury to place whatever weight, if any, it deems appropriate on the evidence presented.

Factors in Determining Damages

The amount of damages that may be claimed in a dog bite injury case usually correlates to the nature and extent of the injury sustained. Ultimately, the judge or jury will determine the award of damages in the case. The judge or jury is free to attribute the appropriate weight to the damages that it feels necessary when determining a person’s appropriate award. Further, the jury is free to reject any evidence offered during the course of the trial.

Further, there are certain legal defenses available to a defendant in a dog bite case such as the assumption of risk and/or contributory negligence. If the injured person is at fault in any way, then, as a matter of law, they cannot recover damages for their injuries. 

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

A person is entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages as well as any lost wages in a DC catastrophic dog bite injury case. Economic damages is a legal term that describes the cost of medical treatment incurred as a result of the injury sustained by a dog bite. These economic damages usually manifest themselves in medical bills and expenses as well as lost wages or time missed from work.

Non-economic damages is a legal term for the more subjective complaints of pain and suffering and inconvenience. These types of damages typically take the form of testimony from the injured person or from a witness who is able to describe the injured person both prior to the incident as well as after the incident occurred.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are essentially never awarded in a dog bite case. Punitive damages are a legal mechanism that allows the jury to consider evidence outside the normal course of a trial to consider whether punitive damages would be appropriate. Punitive damages are a legal method to punish a person for an intentional act to deter that act from occurring again in the future.

Dog bite cases typically do not involve an intentional aspect like they may with human beings. Instead, they arise from the actions of the dog that are often unexplained. Therefore, it is not appropriate for punitive damages to be awarded in a dog bite case.

Caps on Compensation

There are no caps on damages in dog bite cases. However, a monetary cap on the compensation can be put in place by a state legislature, for instance by the governing body of the District of Columbia. There are many different factors that go into whether a cap should exist.

If there was a cap on damages, it is possible that could negatively affect a catastrophic dog bite injury case.

Elements to Note

People should understand that damages in a DC catastrophic dog bite case can take on many forms. Therefore, anyone who sustained an injury in a DC catastrophic dog bite should consult with a qualified and trained personal injury attorney to obtain assistance in prosecuting the claim in the best manner possible.