Each year, a significant number of Indiana residents face the unfortunate and traumatizing experience of a dog bite incident. And under the Indiana Code § 15-20-1-3, if a dog bite victim was acting peaceably and lawfully on the property when the bite occurred, the dog’s owner may be held liable for damages.
In this post, we will discuss the factors that determine how these damages are calculated.
Components of Damage Calculation
Damages in a dog bite case are broadly divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages, which must be calculated correctly to file a dog bite injury claim with a fair amount that allows you to recover from all your damages.
Economic damages, also known as special damages, are quantifiable costs directly linked to the incident. They may include:
- Medical Expenses: This is often the largest component and includes costs for emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and future medical needs.
- Lost Wages: If the injury causes you to miss work, you may be compensated for those lost wages. In more serious cases, like those involving a spinal cord injury, you might also be compensated for a loss of earning capacity if the injury affects your ability to work in the future.
- Property Damage: If personal property (like clothing or glasses) was damaged during the incident, the cost to repair or replace those items may be included.
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, are less tangible and more subjective, including:
- Pain and Suffering: This compensation is for the physical pain and discomfort endured because of the bite.
- Emotional Distress: Dog bite incidents can lead to psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Compensation for this trauma may be awarded.
- Disfigurement and Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury leads to scarring, disfigurement, or a reduction in life’s enjoyment, additional damages may be awarded.
Factors That Impact Damage Calculations
Several factors can influence the calculation of damages in a dog bite case:
Severity of the Injury
The severity of the injury plays a significant role in determining compensation. More serious injuries like bone fractures or disfigurement can lead to higher medical costs, increased pain and suffering, and a more significant impact on the victim’s life.
Impact on Quality of Life
If the bite impacts the victim’s ability to enjoy activities they once loved or engage in normal daily tasks, this will also be taken into consideration to maximize the amount of compensation.
Amount of Economic Loss
The extent of the economic loss – medical bills, lost wages, etc. – directly affects the compensation amount. Documentation of all costs is essential to ensure full compensation to recover from all your damages.
Under the Indiana Comparative Fault Act, if the victim is partially responsible for the incident (e.g., by provoking the dog), any compensation awarded could be reduced by their percentage of fault.
That’s why it’s important to count on the assistance of a local lawyer who can help determine responsibilities and calculate the damages you should claim.
Navigating the complexities of a dog bite claim can be difficult, but at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell, our experienced dog bite lawyers can help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you seek the justice you deserve.