In 2019, the nationwide average dog bite settlement was almost $45,000. The average might be slightly higher in Missouri. The Show Me State has broad, victim-friendly laws which make it easier to establish liability.
Substantial compensation might be available, but homeowners’ insurance companies do not simply give this money away. In fact, they have large groups of lawyers who are dedicated to reducing or denying compensation to victims. They often use legal loopholes like provocation and assumption of the risk to realize their goals.
So, unless you have an experienced St. Louis dog bite lawyer in your corner, there is a good chance you might settle your claim for less than its full value. Maximum compensation is important in these cases, because as outlined below, the injuries are normally quite severe.
Most animal attack claims involve large dogs, like Doberman Pinschers or Rottweilers, and small children. The physical injuries in these situations are often gruesome.
When these animals lunge at children, the knockdown usually causes a head injury. Frequently, young victims suffer these injuries before they hit the ground. The sudden, violent motion of a knockdown causes the child’s brain to slam against the inside of the skull.
Once dogs bite, their teeth often cause tearing lacerations and deep puncture wounds. The lacerations often require reconstructive surgery. Even then, some permanent scarring or disfigurement is almost inevitable. The deep puncture wounds often cause internal bleeding. Many young victims lose so much blood that they are on the brink of hypovolemic shock by the time emergency responders arrive.
Animal attack wounds are not just physical. They cause emotional wounds as well. Frequently, young victims experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms, such as:
- Hypervigilance, which in this context is an unnatural fear of all dogs,
- Flashbacks, and
- Emotional outbursts.
Contrary to popular myth, PTSD is not a “processing disorder.” Exposure to extreme trauma enlarges the amygdala. This part of the brain controls emotional responses. When that happens, the cerebral cortex (brain area that controls logical responses) shrinks. This imbalance explains the aforementioned symptoms, particularly unexplainable emotional outbursts. All these symptoms make it difficult or impossible to function at school or at home.
About half of all dog bites become infected. Common bacterial infections include staphylococcus, capnocytophaga, streptococcus and pasteurella. These infections sometimes cause anaphylactic reactions. Additionally, if the victim had a pre-existing condition, these infections could be life-threatening.
Doctors have a very high duty of care in these situations, so it is rather easy to establish negligence, or a lack of care. Frequently, attorneys must file separate claims to protect the victims’ legal rights in these cases.
Animal attacks often cause severe visible and invisible injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced dog bite lawyer in St. Louis, contact Schultz & Myers, Personal Injury Lawyers. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.