German shepherd trying to bite a man hand

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Dog Bite Claim?

Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney March 2, 2023

A dog bite can be a traumatizing and stressful experience for everyone involved— especially the victim. If you were bitten by a dog, you might be entitled to compensation for any pain and suffering that you have endured. However, calculating pain and suffering is challenging. It requires an understanding of the law as well as the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney who will help you through your claim.  

If you suffered injuries in a dog attack, contact our dog bite attorneys at Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney. With offices in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, Ron and Gerald Weiss help victims navigate the claims process and ensure that they are getting the right amount of compensation for their injuries.  

While we are located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, we handle cases throughout both states.   

Damages in a Dog Bite Claim  

The aim of a dog bite claim is to return the injured party to their pre-bite state or as close to it as possible. This means that any medical costs related to the incident should be covered by the liable dog owner or their insurance company (if applicable). It also means that any lost wages due to time off from work should also be compensated. But what about other damages, such as emotional distress or psychological trauma?  

Pain and suffering awards are designed to cover non-economic losses associated with an incident or injury. These awards cover physical pain, mental anguish, fear, anxiety, depression, loss of quality of life, and more. Pain and suffering can even extend beyond the actual incident itself. For example, if the victim experiences PTSD or insomnia due to the incident, they could be awarded additional compensation in order to cover those costs. 

Calculating Pain and Suffering 

If you’ve been bitten by a dog and are looking to pursue damages, it’s important to understand the different factors that may affect how a pain and suffering award is calculated in your claim:  

  • Permanent disability & disfigurement. Permanent disability and disfigurement are two separate categories that are calculated differently. Permanent disability is based on an individual’s ability to work and earn wages in the future after being bitten by a dog. This could include things like ongoing medical bills or physical therapy costs that prevent an individual from working or earning wages. The calculation for permanent disability is based on factors such as age and occupation before the injury occurred. Disfigurement is typically calculated separately from permanent disability because it involves aesthetic damage rather than physical impairment or lost wages. 

  • Child vs. adult victim. The amount of damages awarded for a dog bite can differ drastically depending on whether the victim is a child or an adult. Generally speaking, children tend to receive more compensation than adults because their injuries tend to be more severe due to their smaller size and lack of experience with animal behavior. Additionally, since children are still developing mentally and physically at a relatively young age, their long-term health effects may be harder to assess compared to those of adults who have already finished growing. As such, courts typically award higher compensatory awards in cases involving children who were bitten by dogs due to their increased vulnerability in comparison to adults who suffer similar injuries.   

  • Future medical treatment. In addition to compensatory awards for pain and suffering or disfigurement resulting from a dog bite, victims may also be able to recover additional damages if they require ongoing medical treatment related to their injury (such as medication costs). This type of damage is referred to as “expenses for future medical treatment” and is based on evidence of past medical expenses associated with treating similar injuries in comparable cases as well as estimates of what future medical care will cost over time (including both direct costs such as medications or physical therapy sessions as well indirect costs such as transportation).   

In most dog bite cases, courts use a multiplier system based on economic damages incurred by the victim due to their injury. The multiplier system works like this: first, all of your economic damages related to the accident are added up. Then an appropriate multiplier is chosen based on factors such as the severity of injuries. Finally, this number is multiplied by your total economic damages in order to arrive at a final figure for pain and suffering compensation.  

Experienced Representation You Can Trust  

Calculating pain and suffering after a dog bite can seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that you seek fair compensation for all losses suffered due to your dog bite incident. Contact Ron and Gerald Weiss to get the experienced representation you can trust.