Dog bites are a frequent cause of injury in Georgia and the United States. 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. 885,000 of these dog bites result in medical attention, and about half of these dog bites involve children. Each day, approximately 1,000 Americans seek emergency room care for a dog bite injury. Dog bite injuries can be serious and can result in death. Common dog bite injuries include infections, puncture wounds, permanent scarring, and disfigurement. Because dog bites are scary events, they frequently result in severe emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Georgia has one of the highest rates of dog bite injury claims in the county. In 2014, Georgia ranked 9th nationally in the number of dog bite claims with 388. That year, Georgia dog bite injury claims cost $12.2 million, with an average cost per claim of $31,497.
Who is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury in Georgia?
The person who owns or keeps a dog may be held liable in a dog bite case depending upon the facts of the case. In Georgia, there are generally two ways that a person who owns or has custody of a dog can be held liable. The first way is to show that the person responsible for the dog knew, or should have known, that the dog was vicious or dangerous. The second way is to show that at the time of the dog bite the owner or keeper of the dog was in violation of a local law that required that the dog be on a leash or confined.
Dog bite cases may seem straightforward, but they are very fact specific. It is important that you have an experienced personal injury attorney investigate and evaluate the facts of your case to determine who can be held responsible for your dog bite injury.
What Insurance Applies for a Georgia Dog Bite Injury?
Establishing liability in a dog bite case is only the first step. An equally important step is finding a source of insurance to pay for your damages. If you are injured by a dog bite, Georgia law says you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, missed time from work, pain and suffering, and any permanent disfigurement. In 2014, the average cost of a dog bite claim was $32,072. Some dog bite injuries result in very serious injuries and may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Finding insurance to pay for these damages is important because the person responsible for paying for your dog bite injuries may not have any money or assets.
Common sources of insurance for dog bites include the dog owner or keeper’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. However, not every homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers a dog bite injury. For example, an insurance company may try to exclude a dog from coverage, especially if it has a history of biting other people. It is important that you analyze all available insurance policies to determine whether they provide coverage for your dog bite damages.
Georgia dog bite injuries are an all too frequent occurrence. If you or a family member was injured by someone else’s dog, call The Champion Firm, P.C. for a free consultation with an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney.