When you have suffered severe injuries from a dog attack, your damages can be astronomical. You might have undergone extensive medical procedures and multiple surgeries. You might have disfigurement. You could be unable to work or have limitations on the amount that you can work. Because some of the elements of your damages claim involve highly technical concepts, we might need to use expert witnesses to present your case to the judge or jury.
Courts rely on expert witnesses to explain scientific, medical, financial, and other technical concepts that the typical person on the street would not typically know or understand without expert guidance. For example, a person with extensive facial and upper extremity injuries from dog bites might have a permanent impairment that prevents her from using her hands well enough to perform specific job tasks. A vocational expert can explain this issue to the jury.
Expert Witnesses in Dog Bite Cases
Lawsuits for damages from significant dog mauling injuries can involve several types of expert witnesses, some of which can include:
Medical experts. These professionals can go through your medical records and verify that you needed the treatment you received because of your dog bite injuries. Let’s say that a dog attacked Nick while he was out for a run in the park. The dog lunged for Nick’s face and throat, and Nick put up his arms to protect his head. Nick suffered severe defensive wounds to his arms and disfiguring injuries to his face and throat.
A medical expert can support Nick’s argument that the dog attack justifies the massive medical bills, which include:
- Trauma care in the emergency room
- Surgery to repair torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the hands and arms
- Scar revision surgery in the hands and arms
- Months of physical and occupational therapy for Nick to regain the functions, strength, range of motion, and flexibility in his hands and arms
- Surgery to repair tissue damage to the throat and face
- Reconstructive surgery to Nick’s face
- Multiple scar revision surgeries to Nick’s face and throat
Vocational experts. These experts can paint a picture for the judge about how the injuries affect a person’s ability to make a living. After a severe injury, sometimes a person can no longer make as much money as before or cannot work at all. Vocational experts link the person’s specific injuries to the worker’s employability.
Suppose that Nick worked as a waiter in Los Angeles while he pursued an acting career. Getting mauled by a dog devastated both lines of work for Nick. He can no longer carry heavy trays at the restaurant because of the injuries to his arms. His commercial bookings as an actor dried up as there are few opportunities for actors with disfiguring facial scars. A vocational expert can validate these losses for the court.
Financial experts. After you experience a dog attack, your economic path in life can change permanently. A financial expert can calculate the amount of your losses throughout your expected lifespan. The expert can report to the court on:
- Your anticipated costs if you need long-term care as a result of your injuries
- The financial impact of residual impairment on your ability to earning a living
- How much having to change careers because of your injuries will affect your earnings over your remaining work life
Psychological or psychiatric experts. After a dog mauls a person, the victim often experiences significant psychological consequences. For some people, the psychological issues resolve in a matter of months or a few years, but others can suffer from the emotional toll for a lifetime.
After a dog attack, a victim can experience many psychological issues, including:
- Anxiety, stress, and emotional distress
- Night terrors, insomnia, and nightmares
- Difficulty trusting people, which can damage or prevent close relationships
- Fear of going out into public spaces
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Fear of animals
- Depression, anger, and a feeling of hopelessness
- The emotional burden of disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Since some people give little respect to non-physical damages, an expert in psychology or psychiatry can testify as to the legitimacy and seriousness of the injury’s psychological impact. For some dog bite victims, the ongoing emotional issues are the worst part of the entire experience.
You do not have to figure out what type of expert witness you will need in your dog bite damages case. We evaluate that factor for our clients, and we locate the appropriate expert for your case.
How to Get Help for a Dog Bite Injury Compensation Claim in Washington State
If you have experienced injuries from a dog bite, you likely have many questions about your right to compensation. We will be happy to sit down with you and answer your questions. Call us at 425-399-7000, and we will set up a time to talk with you. We do not charge legal fees until you get compensation.