Damages Cap in Cherry Hill Dog Bite Cases

Determining the cap on damages in Cherry Hill dog bite cases depends on the type or severity of the injury that was sustained, because it is very hard to say how much a case is worth. If someone has significant injuries or multiple injuries, their claim is going to be worth probably more in damages than someone who did not. An individual should seek the help of an experienced dog bite lawyer for any questions about the amount of compensation they are seeking.

Role of Medical Bills

The amount of treatment needed is going to increase the amount of medical bills that are being recovered. It would also show the impact the injury and the accident itself had on someone’s life. Demonstrating that harm will increase the value of the claim, as well. The more injuries or the more significant injuries, the more the case is worth. Hopefully, a client has a small case, because for them to have a big case would mean that they have serious problems, serious injuries, and the need for very significant treatment.

The portion of fault affects that, because the comparative negligence, if any, could reduce the amount of damages. On a bite dog claim, because it is strict liability, it is a very rare circumstance that there are any comparative negligence arguments. If there are, it could reduce the amount of damages by the percentage of fault that the plaintiff is found to be.

Impact of Damage Caps

There is no damages cap in Cherry Hill dog bite cases on compensatory, non-economic and economic losses. It only would be in a case with punitive damages and the only impact could be if, for some reason, a jury was to award more punitive damages than the cap would permit. The cap is $350,000 or five times the compensatory damages. That is what the only negative impact could be if they awarded more punitive damages than the cap would permit; the amount would be reduced.

Caps on Punitive Damages

In Cherry Hill dog bite cases, there is a cap on punitive damages, but on just non-economic damages or economic damages, there is no cap. The cap on punitive damages is either $350,000 or five times the amount of the compensatory damages, whichever is greater. The compensatory damages are a person’s economic and non-economic damages. If punitive damages are awarded, which is not easy to get, they could try to get five times the amount of compensatory damages. Punitive damages are very difficult to prove. A person would have to prove that the defendant had a wanton and willful disregard for their safety. It is meant to make an example out of the defendant to deter similar activity in the future; it is made to punish them.

In a simple negligence or strict liability case, a person is not going to have punitive damages. The standard says if the plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the harm suffered was the result of a defendant’s acts or omissions and such acts or omissions were actuated by actual malice or accompanied by a wanton and willful disregard of persons who foreseeably might be harmed by those acts or omissions. It is a tough standard to reach. In a simple dog bite case, a person is not going to be able to get punitive damages. If it can be proven that the owner deliberately was getting their dog to attack someone, a person may have a claim for punitive damages, but it is a case-by-case analysis.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is when a defendant raises that the plaintiff was also negligent in some way. It is more difficult in a dog bite case because the defendant has the burden of proof. In other situations, comparative negligence does not have to be proven by the defendant. In a dog bite case, it is a strict liability issue, so the burden of proof shifts to the defendant.

That means that the defendant has the burden to prove that the plaintiff acted unreasonably and voluntarily exposed themselves to a known risk. In a dog bite case, this means that the plaintiff knew the dog had a propensity to bite either because of the dog’s known viciousness or because of the plaintiff’s deliberate acts.

If the comparative negligence exceeds 50% for the plaintiff, they are barred from making a recovery. If it is 50% or less, the damages will be reduced by the percentage the jury found the plaintiff to be comparatively negligent.

Reason for Compensation

The compensation is typically fair in Cherry Hill dog bite cases. They are attempting to try to make the person whole, putting the injured person in the position they would have been if this never happened. Because they do not have a time machine and cannot go back and prevent it from happening, it is what they are trying to do.

The only thing that they can do sometimes gets somebody compensation to try to make it better, which is to make sure their medical bills are paid, any lost wages are taken care of, and if there are any permanent injuries or injury at all, that it is compensated for to try to make things a little bit better.

Benefit of a Lawyer

A lawyer can help an individual through various investigative techniques. If litigation is required, they can take the deposition of the defendant, depositions of other witnesses, and gather information with regard to the particular dog to try and prove what happened. A lawyer can fight against the defendant’s arguments that the injured party was somehow at fault.

Since every case is different, it is going to come down the techniques that are used and the investigation that is done in proving the case.