What Damages are Recoverable From a Dog Bite Injury?

The last thing any person expects is that they will be injured by a dog attack or dog bite. However, these incidents occur more often than most people realize throughout the state of Tennessee.

After a dog bite occurs, victims should be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner. Here, we want to discuss what types of compensation should be available to dog bite victims in Tennessee. We also want to discuss this state’s “strict liability” dog bite law.

Dog Bite Injuries Can be Severe

When working to understand the severity of dog bite cases, and before beginning any discussion about the types of compensation that victims can recover, it is crucial to highlight just how severe these injuries can be.

Dogs have incredibly powerful jaws that can inflict major damage on the human body. This is particularly true for dog attacks that occur against children and the elderly. It is not uncommon for dog bite victims to sustain the following:

  • Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Major blood loss
  • Significant infections
  • Amputated fingers
  • Boken fingers or hand bones
  • Severed muscles of tendons
  • Severed arteries or veins
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Dog Bite Compensation Should Cover all of a Victim’s Expenses

Dog bite injury victims should be able to recover compensation for economic damages as well as non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages. This is also referred to as special damages and should cover any of the directly calculable expenses a dog bie injury victim suffers in Tennesee. This can include, but is not limit to, the follow:
    • Initial medical bills
    • Surgical costs
    • Rehabilitation or physical therapy
    • Medications
    • Follow up care
    • Lost income if a victim cannot work
    • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Non-economic damages. This is also referred to as general damages and is designed to cover the more immeasurable negative effects a person experiences in the aftermath of a dog bite injury. These are often referred to as pain and suffering damages and can cover a victim’s:
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Scarring and disfigurement damages
    • Emotional distress damages

The total amount of compensation available to a dog bite injury victim in Tennessee will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular situation. Those who sustain more severe injuries will likely be able to recover much more compensation, especially when factoring in all of their medical bills.

In order to properly calculate the compensation a dog bite injury victim is awarded in Tennessee, all of the bills and receipts related to the incident will be added up. Additionally, any lost income and general out-of-pocket expenses caused by the bite can be factored in. However, this only gives us economic damages. 

When calculating non-economic damages, a multiplier method may need to be used. This occurs when a dog bite injury victim or their dog bite attorney adds up all the economic damages and then multiplies them by a set number (usually 1.5 to 5) to reach the total for non-economic damages.

For example, if a person experiences $10,000 worth of medical bills and other expenses that can be easily added up, a multiplier of “three” could be used to reach a non-economic damage total of $30,000. In total, the victim should be able to receive $40,000.