After a dog attack, injured victims can seek compensation for financial losses resulting from the dog bite. Some of these losses are easy to identify, such as the costs of medical care to treat injuries and lost wages if the victim could not work while recovering. However, dog bite victims can also receive compensation for emotional distress caused by the incident. This distress is more difficult to convert into dollars and cents, but that does not mean accident victims should not pursue compensation for these types of damages. The help of a seasoned attorney is necessary to properly value the worth of the victim’s emotional damages.
Examples of Emotional Distress
A dog attack is a harrowing event. The shock and fear someone experiences while the attack is happening certainly warrants compensation. Even after the attack, many victims will continue to experience emotional distress. If they have suffered terrible physical injuries, like disfigurement or permanent nerve damage, then they could have a negative emotional response to those injuries as well.
It is not unusual for dog bite victims to experience the following:
Some victims relive the experience over and over, which is a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a very serious condition that often requires medical intervention in the forms of psychotherapy and medication.
Documenting Emotional Trauma
Dog bite victims should fully document their injuries to ensure they can recover compensation for all of the damages they have suffered. Although physical scars are visible, emotional injuries are not. This makes documentation even more important.
Patients will want to keep records of any medication that a doctor prescribed to deal with emotional distress. They may also provide documentation showing treatment by therapists or counselors to address the trauma suffered in an attack.
Victims may also consider keeping a journal. This can provide ongoing documentation of the negative emotions and distress experienced, demonstrating how an animal attack has impacted their mood and emotions. This type of record may also be used to show that a person has withdrawn from friends and family or is struggling to sleep at night.
Calculating the Value of Emotional Distress
An attorney can help victims estimate how much they can receive for their emotional distress. The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit or claim is to make the victim “whole,” which means putting them back in the position they would be in had the dog attack never happened.
With medical bills and other economic damages, coming up with a number is straightforward, and factors such as the cost of care and any days of work that were missed will be considered. With emotional distress, settling on a number is trickier, as there may not be receipts or bills documenting the amount the distress has cost. Just how much compensation can “make up” for nightmares, anxiety, depression, and embarrassment?
If you take antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, the cost of that medicine will be included in your medical bills. The same is true if you see a therapist to work through your distress. However, Illinois law also allows you to receive a sum of money for the negative emotions themselves. In some cases, a multiplier may be used, and the amount of economic damages will be multiplied by a certain factor to reach an amount of compensation for emotional damages. This multiplier may vary depending on the extent of the emotional trauma experienced by a victim. It is best to meet with an attorney who can use their experience to estimate an amount of compensation that is fair.
Contact an Illinois Dog Bite Attorney for Help
Mevorah Law Offices LLC has helped many dog bite victims get compensation after an attack. If you were injured, please contact one of our skilled Aurora personal injury lawyers for more information at 630-552-6860. Consultations are free and confidential.