This is the next post in our series on the handling of dog bite cases in Fort Worth, Texas. Our last article discussed when owners may be liable for a dog bite. It is important to understand that, in our state, an owner will only be held liable for the actions of their pet if it is shown that they failed to take “reasonable” steps in ensuring that the animal would not pose a danger to the public. Whether or not an owner will be considered as having taken such steps will always depend on the specific facts of the case. This is why it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer with substantial experience in such matters. In this article we will discuss an important topic – the determination of damages in such matters. If you or a loved one have been harmed then contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Fort Worth dog bite victims may receive compensation for economic losses and for pain and suffering
A Fort Worth dog bite victim may possibly suffer serious harm. Incidents involving a canine can result in scarring, nerve damage, and possibly the loss of limbs or appendages. Such injuries can impact one’s ability to earn a living as well as their quality of life. Fortunately, Texas law protects such victims. One who has been attacked by an animal may be entitled to recover their past medical expenses as well as the expected costs of future care. Also, if the injury has left a victim unable to return to their job then they may be entitled to their lost earnings (both past and future) less any money they can be expected to earn in a new career. Finally, one may request compensation for pain, suffering, and the extent to which scarring and/or disability has reduced their past and future happiness.
In serious cases, it is often necessary to retain expert witnesses in order to properly prove the extent to which a victim has been harmed. We previously discussed the need for experts in head injury cases. Many of these same concepts apply to matters involving dog attacks. A vocational expert will offer their opinion and testimony in regards to how the accident has hindered the victim’s ability to earn a living. Medical experts will testify in regards to the need and expected cost of future care. The defense will also have an opportunity to present experts and the jurors will decide which professionals are more trustworthy. Your attorney will pay the costs of the experts up front. It is, therefore, important that you retain a lawyer with the financial resources necessary to hire such professionals.
Fort Worth victims may possibly recover punitive damages in a dog bite case
Depending on the facts of the matter, Fort Worth victims may be able to recover punitive damages in a dog bite. While the type of compensation described above is meant to pay to a victim what they have lost, punitive damages are meant to “punish” the wrongdoer. Say, for example, it were shown that a dog owner had trained the animal to be vicious and to attack others. Now say that the animal was not reasonably restrained. Under these circumstances it may be possible to recover punitive damages. Again, it will be necessary to speak with a lawyer regarding the specific facts of your case.
If you or a loved one have been attacked then it is vital that you retain an injury attorney immediately. In addition to hiring counsel with significant financial resources, we suggest you retain a firm in which counsel is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and who also employs an on staff investigator.