Collecting Pain and Suffering Damages for a Dog Bite
In Florida, courts award two basic types of damages to personal injury victims: compensatory damages and punitive damages. While the former refers to damages that compensate victims for the actual cost of their medical bills, lost wages, and in some cases, pain and suffering, punitive damages are awarded merely to punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages are rarely awarded, which makes it particularly important for injured parties to present a strong case to the court regarding their economic losses, especially in cases that involve animal attacks, which tend to result in serious and expensive injuries. For help seeking compensation for your own injuries, please contact one of our dedicated dog bite attorneys today.
Compensatory damages themselves are generally divided into two groups: economic and non-economic damages. The former refers to damages that are easily calculated, such as:
- Lost wages while the injured party recuperated;
- Medical bills incurred to treat the injury; and
- The cost of repairing or replacing damaged property.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are non financial losses, that although more difficult to calculate, would still not have occurred but for the accident or resulting injury. Non-economic damages include compensation for the following losses:
- Pain and suffering;
- Physical impairment;
- Mental anguish; and
- Loss of capacity for enjoyment of life.
Although more difficult to prove than economic damages, non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are still regularly awarded to accident victims.
Proving Pain and Suffering
Proving pain and suffering can be a complicated process, as it can be difficult to put a dollar amount on the mental and physical distress that a person goes through after being bitten by an animal, or being involved in another type of accident. Fortunately, it is possible to prove pain and suffering by providing evidence of symptoms of a disorder, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This could include testimony regarding flashbacks, night terrors, and insomnia, as well as evidence of counseling or prescription medications for anxiety or depression. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire an expert witness in mental disorders to explain the symptoms suffered by the plaintiff. Often, when awarding pain and suffering, judges and juries will take into account the severity of the physical injuries sustained by the victim. If, for instance, the plaintiff suffered serious bites on his or her face that led to disfigurement or scarring and were inflicted by a large dog, the court may be willing to award more in pain and suffering damages than it would be if the victim had suffered a minor bite on the ankle from a small dog.
Legal Support for Pain and Suffering from a Dog Bite
For help ensuring that the judge or jury in your own dog bite case is properly informed about how the incident affected your life, please contact Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale at 954-566-9919 today. You can also reach a member of our dedicated dog bite legal team by sending us an online message requesting a free case evaluation.