Dog bites can happen quickly and without notice. They can leave you with injuries and mounting medical bills. You may not even be able to engage in normal daily activities. After suffering a dog bite injury, you have legal rights. A personal injury attorney can help you seek just compensation for your injuries. Is a Dog Bite Considered Personal Injury? Yes. Dog bites are considered personal injury and fall into the category of common personal injury claims, like car accidents and slip and falls. If you’ve suffered a dog bite, you can seek compensation for your injuries from the owner of the dog. What to Do After a Dog Bite If you’ve suffered injuries resulting from a dog bite, there are specific steps you should follow. Seek Medical Attention If your injuries are severe, call 911. If your injuries are less serious, it is still essential you seek medical care as soon as possible. Complications with dog bite injuries are common, including infection. Receiving medical attention soon after the incident can lessen your chances of any complications. Gather Information If possible, collect information and evidence at the scene of the incident. This includes: Photos of the scene, Pictures of your injuries, and Witness information. Be sure to get the dog owner’s information. Also collect any information or documentation pertaining to your case, including medical bills and a record of lost wages. Report the Incident Many states require a victim report the dog bite to local authorities. Local agencies, like animal control, can gather important information, including whether the dog has its rabies vaccination. They can also decide how to handle the situation, depending on whether the dog remains a threat to others. What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite? Settlements are agreed-upon resolutions to a case. After suffering dog bite injuries, you will want to engage in settlement negotiations with the dog owner to recover compensation. The dog owner or their insurance company will pay the settlement. You may seek compensation for a variety of things, including: Medical bills, Lost wages, Pain and suffering, and Scarring. Your settlement will highly depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. No two dog bite cases are alike. Therefore, there is no average settlement for dog bite injuries. Filing a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim When looking to file a dog bite personal injury claim, follow these crucial steps. Determine Fault Typically, a dog owner will be liable if their dog caused someone harm, even if they were not negligent in restraining or supervising the animal. Most states operate under strict liability for dog bites, meaning that if you have a dog, you will be held responsible for their actions. Certain states use a “one bite” rule. This rule states that after a dog bites someone once (or harms them in another way, such as knocking them over), an owner should be aware of their dog’s propensity to harm others. In states that follow the one bite rule, if you can’t show that the dog had previously caused harm to someone, you will need to prove that the caretaker’s or owner’s negligence caused your injury. Every state has different laws regarding dog bites. When meeting with your attorney, discuss your state’s dog bite laws and how they can affect your case. Documentation Documenting all aspects of your claim can have a significant impact on your case. Some of the most important information to gather includes: Medical records, Medical bills, Record of lost wages, Witness reports, Scar evaluations, and Photo and videos. The more information and evidence you gather, the stronger your case. Every bit of information you have can help prove your case. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney If insurance is involved, the dog owner’s insurance company will likely want to speak with you. Do not talk to them without first consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies often try to get recorded statements and will utilize these statements to limit their liability. Aside from helping with the insurance company, a personal injury attorney will be your ally. Your attorney will handle all aspects of your claim, including: Dealing with the insurance company; Gathering relevant documentation; Investigating your case; and Engaging in settlement negotiations. Having a personal injury attorney will allow you to focus on your recovery while putting you at ease, knowing your claim is in good hands. Factors That Play a Major Role in Your Case Because every dog bite incident is different, many factors will affect your settlement. The following are the most prominent factors that will affect your dog bite case. Age Age can be an important factor in dog bite cases. The age of the victim matters. Often, minor children will have the ability to receive larger settlements than adults for a variety of reasons, including: Adults are more aware than children; Children are less likely to be able to defend themselves; and A dog bite will often cause permanent emotional damage. While adults can still recover fair compensation for their injuries, there is an added layer of complication when the victim is a child. Injuries The severity of the injuries incurred will undoubtedly affect your recovery. A surface injury that heals quickly will never be worth as much as a severe injury that requires surgery. Dog bite injuries can vary greatly. Some of the most common include: Puncture wounds, Lacerations, Infections, Dismemberments, Nerve damage, and Scarring. The more serious the dog bite, the more you will be able to recover for your injuries. Ongoing Issues Many dog bite injuries will eventually heal with medical treatment, and you will be able to go back to living your everyday life. However, in certain circumstances, serious injuries can leave you disabled and unable to resume your daily activities. In these cases, you can seek additional damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering. Status of Injured Person If you were lawfully on the dog owner’s property or on public property when the dog bite occurred, you should not have any...Keep Reading
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Losing a loved one in an accident leaves their family and friends devastated. As they move through the stages of grief, they begin searching for answers and recognize the financial stresses associated with the loss of a loved one. Potential plaintiffs often ask what a wrongful death lawsuit average is when deciding if they want to pursue one. Unfortunately, there is no one average number. No two cases are exactly alike, so there is no way to compare cases to each other. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on a number of factors. Understanding what a wrongful death claim requires and how damages are calculated can help the family decide how to proceed. What is a Wrongful Death Suit? Wrongful death is a civil claim brought by the deceased’s surviving family or personal representative against the negligent party. It is completely separate from a criminal charge, with a different burden of proof. Every state defines wrongful death in their own way, but there are common elements: Duty of Care. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a responsibility to avoid behaviors that could cause foreseeable harm to the plaintiff (the deceased); Breach of Duty. The plaintiff must show that the defendant violated their duty of care; Causation. The defendant’s violation/breach caused the person’s death; and Damages. The deceased and their family suffered injury or damage as a result. In these situations, the family has the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case? A wrongful death claim covers those losses experienced by the next of kin after the deceased’s death. These can include: Loss of future inheritance, Loss of parental guidance (if they had minor children), Loss of spousal companionship (also called consortium), Loss of the decedent’s benefits such as retirement, and Loss of the decedent’s future income. Depending on your state, you may also be able to pursue a claim for losses suffered by the deceased prior to their death, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you understand the laws that apply to you. How Are Wrongful Death Damages Calculated? Because each case is so different, it’s hard to name a number, or even a range, for damages. However, there are several factors that may affect a settlement amount. Usually, the main consideration is the decedent’s status and circumstances at the time of death. Factors to consider include: Age of person at time of death; The deceased’s career, education, and earning capacity; Their state of health; Income at time of death; and The age and needs of the deceased’s legal dependents. The final amount of damages cannot be a guess. It must be supported by objective evidence, which can require expert witnesses. Because of this, it is so important to have a personal injury attorney on your side who knows how wrongful death cases work. If a case does reach a jury, the plaintiff can also ask for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant whose conduct is considered grossly negligent or intentional. Some states put a cap (limit amount) on this category. In Indiana, punitive damages are capped at the greater of three times compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Kentucky and Illinois do not limit punitive damages. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? Each state has its own laws stating who has standing to bring a wrongful death claim and who can collect damages. Usually, only immediate family members like spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can recover damages in a wrongful death suit. Often, these individuals also have standing to bring the wrongful death suit. However, many states require a deceased’s personal representative (executor, executrix, or court appointed administrator) to bring suit on behalf of the family members. Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable? The IRS considers any portion of a settlement or award that is “compensatory” as non-taxable. Compensatory damages are intended to repay someone for a loss that they have already sustained and are not considered “income” for tax purposes. If the case goes to trial and a jury awards punitive damage, the result may be different. It is possible that any punitive damages in a jury award or settlement may be taxed. How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complicated and overwhelming. You may be grieving and wondering if a claim is in the family’s best interest. Sometimes insurance companies contact family members shortly after an accident and offer an amount that seems substantial. But in most cases, their offer will be significantly less than the family’s actual losses. A wrongful death claim will take an additional toll on everyone involved, so having an attorney is essential. First, they will be your advocate against the responsible party, insurance company, or opposing counsel. They know the law and how to navigate the legal system on your behalf. The loss of a loved one cannot be reclaimed through a personal injury action. But a claim can compensate a family for emotional and economic harms so that they can begin to move forward. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement or represent you at trial if necessary. Suffering the Loss of a Loved One? Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. Did you lose a family member or loved one due to the negligent actions of another? The team at Gerling Law is incredibly sorry for your loss, and we want to help you if we can. Our attorneys are dedicated advocates who will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve after such a tragedy. We have successfully represented clients in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky in wrongful death suits and other personal injury matters for over 50 years. Call us at 866-651-2195 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation today!Keep Reading
When you are sick or injured, you trust healthcare workers to do their best to heal you. But when a medical professional fails to uphold the standard of care expected in their field, a patient can suffer serious health consequences. If you’ve suffered injuries due to the actions of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, you may be wondering, Do I have a medical malpractice case? You can seek compensation by filing a claim against the negligent party. In Illinois and Indiana, this is known as a medical malpractice suit. In Kentucky, it is known as medical negligence, but the claims are essentially the same. There are several common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you understand whether you have a claim and how to pursue compensation. Common Medical Malpractice Causes While negligence can happen at any time during treatment, there are some common situations that result in medical malpractice. Diagnosis Errors & Failures A common malpractice situation is when a healthcare professional misdiagnoses or fails to identify the patient’s condition. If a condition is left uncorrected, the patient can suffer injury, and the condition may need serious intervention to correct later on. Medication Errors/Medical Records Mismanagement Proper recordkeeping and patient tracking is a vital part of providing competent care. If a patient’s records aren’t current and all treatments and medications tracked, a doctor or nurse might accidentally make a serious error. Anesthetic/Surgical Errors Surgery takes a high level of skill and education. Procedures on nerves, blood vessels, arteries, or vital organs are delicate, and mistakes can cause serious injuries. In addition, anesthesia is a critical part of surgical and medical care. Doctors who specialize in this area of medicine must make sure drugs are administered in a safe manner. What Can Make or Break Your Medical Malpractice Claim? A malpractice suit may be warranted when a medical worker’s actions fail to meet the accepted standard of care for their profession. If a patient suffers further injury or illness as a result of those actions, they can seek compensation. The basic elements of a medical malpractice claim are: Person owed a professional duty to the patient; They breached that duty; The breach caused the patient’s injury; and The patient suffered damages as a result. However, medical malpractice cases are complex and technical. They require proper evidence and expert opinions, which is why seeking legal help is important. It is the best way to make sure your case isn’t dragged down by common pitfalls. Standard Of Care A medical provider’s duty depends on the professional standard of care that applies to them. Many medical malpractice cases are tossed out because the plaintiff couldn’t prove that the defendant deviated from the standard of care that would be expected of a physician with similar education and training. Rare complications, unforeseeable issues, or bad luck may not be negligent if the professional performed as someone in their position should. In these cases, recovery is unlikely. Proving Causation Another issue can occur if the defendant is able to challenge causation. They may argue that another factor was the cause of the patient’s injury or that their actions did not affect the patient’s outcome. Proving Damages The final element of the claim requires you to show the malpractice resulted in measurable damages. If you can prove malpractice but cannot show that an injury resulted, you will not be able to win your case. A plaintiff needs proper supporting evidence, often backed by expert opinion. This includes documentation of necessary corrective medical care, future medical costs, lost wages, and more. If you cannot prove any actual damages resulted, you will not be able to recover from the negligent party. Ultimately, having the right evidence and the right experts will make your case. Any legal proceeding can be complicated, but the technical complexity of medical malpractice claims means that they require special experience and skill to prove. Seek Legal Help as Soon as Possible Medical malpractice laws are complicated, and the time for filing a claim is limited by your state’s statute of limitations. This time limit can quickly evaporate if the patient’s recovery takes a significant amount of time. Many states now require a plaintiff to file an affidavit from an expert confirming a meritorious claim or provide evidence to a panel before proceeding with their suit. Because of this, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. They can assess your case to determine what legal course of action is right for you. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you gather the right documentation to prove your claim and tell you if your state has a cap on medical malpractice damages. Injured Due to Medical Malpractice? Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. If you want to know whether you have a medical malpractice case, contact Gerling Law today. If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries due to medical malpractice in Indiana, Illinois, or Kentucky, don’t let the bills pile up while you suffer and struggle to recover. Right now, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you deserve. The team at Gerling Law is here to help you get your life back. We have over 50 years of experience successfully representing people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, and offer a free case evaluation for potential clients. Call us at 866-651-2195 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today!Keep Reading