There is no average settlement for a dog bite accident since each case is its own unique event and will have its own specific types and amounts of potential compensation. In addition, recovering damages after a dog bite can be a complex legal undertaking. You could be entitled to economic, non-economic, and wrongful death damages, where applicable.
Dog ownership is a privilege—one that comes with responsibilities. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, an Atlanta dog bite lawyer can help you build a strong case against the dog’s owner. Most will review your case at no cost or obligation and explain the circumstances that allow you to recover damages.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Accident Settlement
A dog bite can lead to serious injuries and extensive physical disfigurement. These injuries, in addition to the time you lose from work, can add up fast. If a lawyer represents you, they will determine the value of your case by calculating your:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Intangible damages
- Wrongful death damages, where applicable
Your law firm will explain what compensatory damages are and how and why they are typically awarded to injury victims. They will also review your case carefully and collect the bills, estimates, and other documents that support your compensation request.
Recoverable Economic Damages After a Dog Bite or Attack
These types of damages are typically easier to calculate since they are often well-documented. Your lawyer will request economic damages like your current and future medical bills. Recovery of these damages allows you to receive the medical care you need right now and covers the cost of future care for prolonged treatment or to repair disfiguring injuries at a later date.
Economic damages also include assistive medical devices, necessary medications, and current and future lost wages and loss of the ability to earn in the future.
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Recoverable Non-Economic Damages After a Dog Bite or Attack
Non-economic damages can be more challenging to document and assess than economic damages. Your legal team will understand how to establish their value. The non-economic damages your lawyer will request include pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, and disability and disfigurement. They also include compensation for your loss of enjoyment of life.
Wrongful Death Damages if a Dog Bite Accident Ends With a Fatality
If someone you love is fatally injured by a dog bite or attack, your family can recover damages. While nothing can atone for your loss, your lawyer will help you get financial relief and compensation.
Wrongful death damages can include the costs of making your loved one’s final arrangements and your loss of their financial and familial support. They can also include your loss of consortium and companionship.
Filing Deadlines That Pertain to Dog Bite Accident Cases
According to O.C.G.A § 9-3-33, you generally have two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after a dog bite. To recover damages, you must file your lawsuit within the allotted time.
Dog bite victims can include adults and children. If a minor is the victim of a dog bite, the statute of limitations tolls—or pauses—until their eighteenth birthday. Other factors can also cause the filing deadline to fluctuate.
The best way to understand the statute of limitations and its application to your case is to let a personal injury attorney clarify it for you.
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Additional Laws That Can Affect Your Dog Bite Accident Case
The state of Georgia takes responsible dog ownership seriously and has enacted several laws that define it. According to:
- O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, the owner is responsible for a dog that has been deemed vicious or dangerous or bites without provocation
- O.C.G.A. § 4-8-21, a dog is deemed vicious or dangerous if its bite punctures the victim’s skin, it aggressively attacks a person, or causes a person to reasonably believe the dog poses an impending threat of serious injury
As part of their investigation, your lawyer will request any police or animal control reports related to the dog in question. These reports can substantiate your claim and will be included in your evidence collection.
How We Determine Who to Pursue for a Dog Bite Accident Settlement
Like all personal injury cases, recovering damages in your dog bite case requires proof of the owner’s negligence. That means proving:
- Duty of care: The owner’s responsibility to fence or leash their pet, keep it under their control, and otherwise safeguard you from a known vicious or dangerous
- Breach of duty: Evidence that the dog’s owner failed to properly protect you from a bite or attack from their pet
- Causation: Proof that the incident would not have occurred if the owner had met their duty of care
- Damages: Proof of the financial consequences of the dog bit, including records, bills, and receipts.
Your lawyer will prove these elements of negligence for you with a compelling collection of evidence. They will also present your case file and settlement request to the appropriate insurer.
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Evidence Your Legal Team Will Collect for Your Dog Bite Accident Case File
You should consider hiring a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible since early intervention can help your lawyer collect and preserve evidence quickly. The case file your lawyer builds will include:
- Medical records and bills
- Photos of your bite injuries
- Written prognosis for future care
- Statements from eyewitnesses
Your lawyer will use your case file to negotiate a favorable settlement. They will receive, examine, and explain the merits of each offer you receive and guide you toward a well-informed final decision.
Learn More About Your Potential Dog Bite Accident Settlement
If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, our dog bite lawyer will help you file an effective insurance claim or lawsuit. We will explain the potential value of your settlement for a dog bite accident and the steps we take to achieve it.
Get started today by contacting our case evaluation team at Kaine Law to learn more about your financial recovery options.