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What is the Average Settlement for Dog Bite Cases in Georgia?

Jun 14, 2024 - ​Dog Bites

The average settlement for a dog bite in Georgia is around $25,000 to $50,000. Here at the Gumprecht Law Firm, we have obtained payouts of up to $100,000 depending on the circumstances of each case.

Dog attacks can be traumatic and have long-lasting impacts on victims. This article comprehensively examines the factors influencing these settlements and provides an overview of what victims might expect.

Factors Influencing Dog Bite Settlement Values

Several factors can influence the settlement amount in a dog bite claim:

Severity and Type of Injury

The extent and type of injury sustained play a significant role. Minor injuries might lead to smaller settlements, while severe injuries such as deep wounds, broken bones, or permanent disfigurement can result in much higher compensation.

Medical Expenses

Immediate medical costs, including emergency room visits, surgeries, medications, and follow-up treatments, directly impact the settlement amount. Ongoing medical needs, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation, are also considered.

Impact on Quality of Life

The settlement amount may increase if the injury significantly affects the victim’s ability to perform daily activities or enjoy life. Permanent injuries that lead to scarring, disfigurement, or psychological trauma can substantially raise the compensation.

Liability and Negligence

The circumstances surrounding the bite are critical. If the dog owner was negligent or if the dog had a known history of aggression, the settlement is likely to be higher. Clear evidence of owner liability strengthens the victim’s claim.

Insurance Coverage

The dog owner’s insurance policy limits are a practical factor. Higher policy limits generally allow for higher settlements. Conversely, the settlement amount may be capped if the policy limit is low.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are quantifiable monetary losses incurred due to the dog bite. These include:

  • Medical Bills: This covers all medical expenses related to the injury, including hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, medications, and rehabilitation.

  • Lost Wages: If the injury results in time off work, the victim can claim lost wages. In cases where the injury affects long-term earning potential, future lost wages can also be claimed.

  • Rehabilitation Costs: Extended therapy or rehabilitation sessions needed to recover from the injury can be included in the settlement.

  • Property Damage: If personal property was damaged during the incident (e.g., clothing or personal items), these costs could also be reimbursed.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are less tangible but equally important. These include:

  • Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the victim due to the bite.

  • Emotional Distress: Psychological impacts, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD resulting from the incident, can significantly affect the settlement amount.

  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury impacts the victim’s ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed, this can be considered in the settlement.

  • Scarring and Disfigurement: Permanent scars or disfigurement can lead to higher settlements due to the lasting impact on the victim’s appearance and self-esteem.

Legal and Procedural Aspects

Contacting an experienced dog bite attorney can influence the settlement by ensuring all damages are accurately documented and effectively presented. Lawyers can negotiate better settlements by leveraging their understanding of the legal framework and precedents. Consult with a Woodstock dog attack lawyer for more information.

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Important Information About  Dog Bites in Georgia

Legal Process for Claiming Settlements

The legal process for claiming settlements involves several steps:

  • 1. Immediate Actions Post-Incident: Seeking medical attention immediately is crucial. Not only does this ensure proper treatment, but it also provides medical documentation for the claim.

  • 2. Gathering Evidence: It is essential to collect evidence such as medical records, photographs of injuries, witness statements, and any documentation related to the dog (e.g., previous bite incidents).

  • 3. Role of a Lawyer: Engaging a dog bite lawyer can significantly influence the settlement process. They can navigate the legal complexities, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect the victim’s rights.

  • 4. Negotiation with Insurance Companies: Settlements are often negotiated with the dog owner’s insurance company. Having a lawyer can help get a fair settlement.

  • 5. Potential for Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case might go to court. Litigation can be lengthy, but it may result in higher compensation.

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Georgia’s Dog Bite Laws

Georgia has specific laws that address liability and responsibility in dog bite cases, focusing on the conditions under which a dog owner can be held accountable for injuries caused by their dog. Here’s an overview of the relevant legal framework:

One-Bite Rule and Owner Liability

Georgia follows a modified version of the “one-bite rule.” According to this principle, a dog owner can be held liable for injuries if they knew or should have known that their dog had a propensity for aggression or biting. This typically requires evidence that the dog had previously bitten someone or demonstrated aggressive behavior.

Negligence and Control

Dog owners in Georgia must exercise reasonable care to control their dogs. They can be found negligent if they fail to properly restrain or control their dog, especially in public places. If a dog is allowed to roam freely or is not on a leash in an area where leash laws are enforced, the owner may be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Georgia employs a comparative negligence system. If the victim’s actions contributed to the incident (e.g., provoking the dog), their compensation may be reduced proportionally. For instance, if a victim is found to be 20% at fault, their settlement amount would be reduced by 20%.

Rabies Control and Quarantine

When a dog bite is reported, local health departments and animal control officers may require the dog to be quarantined to check for rabies. Georgia law mandates specific procedures for managing animals that have bitten humans, which include quarantine or euthanasia and testing if rabies is suspected.

Statutory Requirements and Ordinances

Georgia’s Animal Protection Act outlines various regulations and responsibilities for pet owners, including mandatory rabies vaccinations for dogs. Local ordinances may impose additional requirements, such as leash laws and specific protocols for handling dangerous dogs.

How to Maximize Your Settlement

To ensure you receive the maximum settlement possible:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Prompt medical care not only aids in recovery but also provides essential documentation.

  • Document All Expenses: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury.

  • Legal Representation: An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide and negotiate on your behalf.

  • Avoid Common Mistakes: Avoid accepting the first settlement offer without consulting a lawyer. Initial offers are often lower than what you may be entitled to.

Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases in Georgia

The statute of limitations in Georgia for filing a personal injury lawsuit, including dog bite injuries, is two years from the incident date. This means that victims of dog bites have two years to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries. 

If the claim is not filed within this period, the victim may lose the right to seek legal recourse for their injuries. Some exceptions and specific circumstances might alter this period, such as cases involving minors or situations where the injury was not immediately apparent. Victims need to act promptly and consult with an attorney to ensure their rights are protected within the legal timeframe.

Speak to a Georgia Dog Bite Lawyer Now!

The Gumprecht Law Firm has ample experience helping dog bite victims. Get the compensation you deserve, contact us for a FREE consultation. 

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