Dog bites are common. Each year, around 850,000 dog bite victims receive medical treatment, with over 350,000 of them going to emergency rooms. Most people, however, don't know how much the typical dog bite victim receives from a settlement. If you're bitten by a dog, here's a look at how much you might receive for your injuries and suffering. Exact payouts vary from case to case, but your case could look something like this.
Dog Bite Settlements Average $32,072
Most dog bite victims don't become millionaires from their settlements. In 2014, dog bite settlements averaged $32,072. Although this is a 67 percent increase from 2003's average of $19,162 per settlement, $32,072 will not make you set for life.
Your own settlement may be greater or less, but this average will provide a picture of what you might get from a dog bite claim. From this $32,072, you'll need to pay several fees and expenses that will reduce how much you'll ultimately receive.
Legal Fees Can Total Thousands of Dollars
Before anything else is paid from your settlement, legal fees will first be taken out. Legal fees is a broad category that includes everything from copies that cost a few cents to depositions that can cost hundreds of dollars. Some of the more sizeable legal fees you may need to pay include the following:
- a deposition, which can cost between $364 and $412
- an expert medical witness, which costs an average of $555 an hour
- an expediting service, which can significantly increase any legal fee
For the sake of the example, assume your claim requires a deposition and two hours of an expert medical witness' time. Even without any expediting expenses added on, your legal fees would total between $1,474 and $1,522 This would reduce your settlement to between $30,549 and $30,598.
Your Dog Bite Attorney Will Charge 33 or 40 Percent
Most personal injury attorneys, including ones that take on dog bite claims, work on a contingency arrangement. For clients, like you, this is beneficial because there's no requirement to pay unless your claim is successful. If it is, they take a percentage of the settlement. AllLaw says the typical percentage is 33 percent for claims that are settled outside of court and 40 percent for those that go to trial.
Assuming your claim is settled without going to court, your dog bite lawyer will take 33 percent of your remaining settlement. In the example, this would amount to between $10,081 and $10,097. Thus, the settlement that remains would be anywhere from $20,500 to $20,513.
Your Medical Bills Could Also Total Thousands of Dollars
Finally, any medical bills associated with your dog bite injury must be paid. While your case remains unsettled, your dog bite attorney will send letters of protection (LOPs) to medical providers who treat you. LOPs guarantee payment upon your claim's settlement, and they prevent doctors and hospitals from seeking payment while your claim remains in dispute. Before giving you what remains of the settlement, your attorney is required by law to honor these letters.
If you were bitten bad enough to warrant a $32,072, your medical bills likely total thousands of dollars. If they were $7,000, they would further reduce your share of the settlement. You'd ultimately receive around $13,500.
This amount is nothing to take lightly, but it also won't make you rich. Of course, you may ultimately receive a higher or lower sum. When contacting a dog bite attorney, however, it's good to have a realistic idea of what you might receive. You likely won't become a millionaire, but you may be rewarded a decent sum if you have a valid claim and good lawyer.
For more information, check out a site like http://www.trammellandmills.com.