Bitten by dog while delivering pizza...
(Jamestown, North Carolina)
I was delivering pizza and a homeowner's dog bit me twice. I had to get a stitch on the leg bite. My stomach aches from the first bite and my leg still has pain. I'm basically wondering how much should I settle for, and if there's anything I need to know about filing a case to get compensation.
I'm not eligible for workers' compensation benefits. My health insurance paid $450.00 but the medical bill was $645.00 and my out of pocket was $150.00. Also, my clothing and shoes were ruined by a blood stain and torn clothing.
I'm very afraid of dogs now. I'm having trouble sleeping and very nervous from the attack. How much should I settle for in North Carolina? Is there anything I need to do to make sure I get proper compensation? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Bitten by dog while delivering pizza...":
Jay (Jamestown, North Carolina):
Unfortunately your new found fear of dogs and your trouble sleeping will not be covered by the insurance company. This is true unless you are able to provide a medical narrative from a psychiatrist or psychologist directly linking your fear of dogs and trouble sleeping to the dog bites.
Securing those medical narratives will be almost impossible. Moreover, having a doctor write the narratives will be prohibitively expensive.
You can't be penalized for having medical insurance. Therefore, the insurance company owes you a minimum of $645.00. Additionally, the insurance company owes you for your out of pocket expenses such as medications, costs of travel to treatment, your lost wages (if you had to miss work for medical treatment), and an amount for your pain and suffering.
In your case, one stitch is not worth very much vis-a-vis an insurance settlement. Relatively speaking, one stitch is a very minor injury. Your stomach ache should have nothing to do with the injury. However, ask your physician if there is a connection between the two. There likely isn't.
The leg pain is likely related to the one stitch. That pain is transitory and should already have passed. However, once again, ask your physician to check to see if there's a link between the two.
Most minor injuries like yours are called "soft tissue." Soft tissue injury settlements, especially for such a minor injury as yours, settle for between 1-2 times the amount of medical bills. In your case, you will be fortunate if the insurance company offers you $1500.00. The may offer less. There is little you can do about that.
You likely won't find an attorney to accept your case. You can file a lawsuit in small claims court, but once again, you won't win without medical proof of psychiatric pain.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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