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What types of costs can be recovered after an animal attack?

You don't hear a lot about animal attacks. That's because only the worst of the worst make it into the headlines. But that does not mean they are not occurring. They happen every day in Connecticut and elsewhere.

If they should happen to be caused by a wild animal, there isn't likely to be any recourse for the victim in seeking compensation. But if the animal responsible belongs to someone who didn't keep it under control, the circumstances may well be different. Each case is unique and the extent to which damages may be sought can depend on many things. That makes consulting a skilled attorney important.

While each state's laws are different, there are certain things that tend to be common regarding what a victim can claim after an attack by a domesticated dog, cat or other animal. The more serious the injuries and damages suffered, the longer the list of things for which you might be able to seek recovery. These might include:

  • Property damage. Let's say, hypothetically, you are attacked in your yard by a dog that has been running loose in the neighborhood. You stumble and fall through your fence. The cost of repairing the fence might be compensable.
  • Medical expenses. If the attack prompted you to seek medical attention for any reason, the cost of your doctor visit and any treatments you received might be claimed.
  • Pain and suffering. There are often immediate medical costs, but the long-term costs associated with the psychological or physical aftereffects of the trauma may also warrant recovery.
  • Loss of income. The more serious the injury, the more likely it is that you may have to take time off from work. If you lose income as a result, the animal's owner or his or her insurance should expect to be held accountable.

In addition to the costs that might be recovered through a personal injury claim, it may be that more than one individual could be held responsible. Here again, it is important to seek the counsel of someone with experience in such matters.

Source: FindLaw, "Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview," accessed Dec. 30, 2015

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