How to Evaluate Injuries in a Dog Bite Case

Posted By Steven Whitman || 27-Nov-2012

Massachusetts typically sees a large amount of dog bite attacks, especially by pit bulls. A Boston Herald review found that there were 226 confirmed pit bull attacks on people between 2008 and 2011.

Massachusetts provides for strict liability against the dog owner in most dog attack situations. Therefore, most dog bite cases are litigated on damages, or how much money the dog bite victim is entitled to as compensation for their injuries. However, predicting how much a case may be worth is an inexact science at best. Insurance companies tend to offer payouts that won't likely cover all your damages. Therefore, it is important to choose a lawyer who has litigated many dog bite cases and can make an experienced evaluation of your case.

Predicting the value of a dog bite case is different than other accident cases such as car accidents and slip and falls. The reason is the injuries sustained in a dog attack often consist of permanent scarring or disfigurement as a result of lacerations, puncturing and tearing of tissue. The impact of these types of injuries is extremely case specific. Relevant factors are the part of the body affected, and the age, gender and occupation of the victim. For example, a visible scar of the face will command a higher settlement value than a scar on a covered part of the body. The same scar in the same place on a young unmarried female sales rep will be evaluated much differently than on a senior married male accountant.

It is also important to keep a photographic record of the injury. Photographs can show what the injury looked like in the months immediately after the attack, even if it improved over time. Further dog bite injuries do not always require as much ongoing medical treatment as other types of injuries. In a case where the medical bills are not very high, photographs can be used to demonstrate the severity of the injury.