People are often curious about the potential value of their dog bite case. Without hearing the facts of your case and understanding your injuries, no dog bite attorney can tell you what your case may be worth.
But we can explain the difference between a dog bite case with potentially high value and one that has low value.
We can give you information including all Oregon jury verdicts related to dog bites and dog attacks since January 1, 2014, and we can also point you in the direction of our verdicts and settlements in dog bite cases.
Valuing a dog bite case is not much different than valuing any personal injury case. You start by how confident you are that you can prove that the dog owner or other responsible party was negligent. There are two ways to prove liability in Oregon. You can prove "strict liability" but showing the dog was dangerous and the dog's owner knew it or you can show that the dog's owner violated a local leash law.
Causation is not usually an issue in dog bite cases so we won't address it at length here. But basically, you have to prove that your injuries were caused or made worse by the dog bite or attack.
Then you have to look at the injuries and damages. What injuries were caused by the attack and what are the financial and human impacts of those injuries? Obviously, the more serious the injury the more money will be needed to repay medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses. In serious injury cases you may also have future medical expenses and lost wages. When dealing with the human impact of the injury we think about what you have been through and will have to go through in the future as a result of the dog bite. The greater the impact the injury has on a person's life, the more money it will take to make up for the harm.
Lastly, you have to believe that any judgment is collectible. This is very important. If the dog owner is a homeowner, they normally have homeowner's insurance. Homeowner's policies typically cover dog bite incidents even when the incident happens away from the home.
Dog owners who are not homeowners often have no insurance or a small renter's policy, and no assets. Those cases are rarely worth the expense of pursuing because there is little chance of collecting a dog bite settlement or verdict.
One of the first things you can look at is jury verdicts. No two cases are the same but looking at past verdicts can give you information on what types of dog attack cases have resulted in dog owners being held responsible, and which ones have not. Then you can look at the amount of money that has been recovered.
In Multnomah County, there have only been four jury trials involving dog bites or dog attacks since January 1, 2014. Two have resulted in the victim recovering money and two have resulted in the victim losing and not recovering any compensation.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 17,989 dog bite claims in 2021 in the United States and the average dog bite settlement was $49,025.00.
It is important to note that this is for all claims including people that did not consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a dangerous dog, you should get a consultation with a lawyer who has experience holding dog owners responsible for dog bite injuries.
Call us or a send a message to have your case reviewed.