Will a Settlement Cover Plastic Surgery Costs for Dog Bite Treatment? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Will a Settlement Cover Plastic Surgery Costs for Dog Bite Treatment?

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If you or your child have been bitten on the face by a dog, you’re probably worried about what will happen in the future if you can’t get your scarring fixed by a plastic surgeon, especially if you can’t afford to pay for surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a hospital visit after a dog attack is more than $18,000, and that’s not including follow-up plastic surgery visits. It’s no wonder you’re concerned. Who wouldn’t be?

The good news is, your personal injury lawyer may be able to get your plastic surgery on a lien schedule. This means the surgeon will receive their fee after your case is settled. This is a great option if your insurance doesn’t cover the treatment but you need to get the surgery now and not months or years from now after your case has settled.

This post will explain how you can get a settlement for plastic surgery expenses for facial trauma after a dog bite. Don’t worry, even if you don’t have health insurance, you still have options.

Seeking Plastic Surgery Compensation for Dog Bite Treatment

Lacerations, tears and puncture wounds due to a canine bite can leave significant scars. One of the approaches to minimizing the presence of these disfigurements and scars is undergoing plastic surgery. In some scenarios, you may need multiple procedures for optimal results.

According to research, 27,000 dog bites cases out of 4.5 million require reconstructive surgery. Plastic surgery is explicitly necessary for face, scalp and neck injuries since these are highly visible spots. Although stitches can close open wounds, some injuries may call for reconstructive surgery like skin grafting.

Dog bite damage from a large dog may require sophisticated plastic surgery, for example, nasal reconstruction. In most cases, the damages from a facial dog bite will include plastic surgery expenses. You may also be awarded damages from the emotional distress you experienced as a result of being attacked and left with scarring.

Remember, some scars might not be completely fixed after plastic surgery treatment. Although more surgeries can help, there are some cases where further aesthetic enhancement can’t be attained. This form of permanent scarring can cause or exacerbate emotional trauma.

Available Compensation for Dog Bites

In 2018, State Farm offered $123 million in payouts in 3,280 dog bite cases. That averages out to $37,500 per case, but of course some of these settlements were much lower and some much higher. The amount of compensation you may get will depend on the circumstances of the attack, the severity of the bite, and your state’s laws.

On top of your damages for your medical costs and missed work, you may also be entitled to compensation for the emotional anguish you suffered due to the bite. Pain and suffering doesn’t have a bill like your other damages, but it still has value under the law.

Get Photos of the Dog Bite

Apart from getting reports from your state’s investigating agency, you need to have several still photos and videotaped evidence of your dog bites while at home, in the hospital, and as you remove and replace your bandages. Be sure to document your bite before and after each plastic surgery procedure as well. This evidence will convince the jury or insurance adjuster about the suffering and pain you endured due to the bites.

Factors That Affect Scar Injury Compensation

From a legal standpoint, every scar is different. Even similar scars are not identical. The following are the major factors that determine the value of dog bite cases:

  • Age: younger people get a higher compensation value
  • Location: more visible scars have a greater claim value
  • Severity: the more severe the bite, the higher the value
  • Permanency: Permanent scars call for more settlement
  • Marital status: juries or insurance adjusters will award a higher compensation for an individual without a spouse.
  • Gender: women generally get higher payouts than men

You’ll want to make sure you have a plastic surgeon evaluate your scars before your dog bite claim is settled. If you don’t, you might not end up with a large enough settlement to cover the full cost of your treatment.


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