Getting bitten by a dog can affect the victim—physically and mentally—for many, many years. Severe dog bites often involve serious costs from reconstructive surgeries or other long-term treatment. Even “minor” bites can be painful and become infected if not treated. And that’s not to mention the emotional impact of a dog bite. Many people, especially children, can develop debilitating phobias or other mental issues after an animal attack.
Dog bites are so pervasive in Georgia that the Department of Public Health considers them a health concern, especially for children and the elderly. In 2016, Georgia was ranked in the top 10 U.S. states for dog bite insurance claims. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite in Georgia, you should know dog bite victims are entitled to recover for their damages.
Here’s what you can expect from an average settlement for a dog bite claim.
What Costs Can I Recover for a Dog Bite in Georgia?
As with any personal injury in Georgia, the person responsible for the accident is liable for all damages. As a victim, you can seek financial recovery for the costs of your dog bite.
The costs you may be able to recover for include:
- Medical bills and doctor visits
- Prescription medications
- Ongoing costs like surgeries or physical therapy
- Lost wages from time having to miss work (and loss of future earning potential)
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish, such as depression or anxiety
- Permanent disabilities
The total cost of these expenses can add up quickly. Thankfully, Georgia law is on your side. With the help of a dog bite lawyer, you can make an insurance claim against the dog’s owner for your damages.
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What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite?
The exact amount for each dog bite settlement varies depending on the case details. But according to the most recent data, the average settlement for a dog bite claim in Georgia is just over $32,000. This is based on analysis done by the Insurance Information Institute (III) in 2014—and that number has continued to rise since 2003.
With an average cost of tens of thousands of dollars, bites are a serious matter. Although insurance companies don’t like seeing such a high number, it’s good news for dog bite victims who face the high and painful costs of a dog attack.
This doesn’t mean it will be easy to get this amount of money in a settlement, however. Dog bites make up about a third of all home insurance claims, and insurance companies are always looking for ways to reduce their costs. That’s why, if you suffered a dog bite or other animal attack, you need an experienced dog bite lawyer. They can make sure the dog owner’s insurer doesn’t take advantage of your vulnerable state, and they’ll pressure them to pay out what you actually deserve.
How Do I Get a Fair Settlement for My Dog Bite Injuries?
Dog bite claims are submitted to the at-fault dog owner’s homeowners insurance. To seek financial recovery for all your damages, your claim will need to contain thorough evidence of the attack and the dog owner’s fault.
There are three main parts your dog bite insurance claim will need to contain:
- Presentation of Georgia dog bite law.
- Medical evidence of your injuries, including other applicable evidence.
- Demand of payment based on your damages and losses.
The evidence should include information about you as the victim, the dog that bit you, your medical treatment, lost wages, pictures of your injuries, statements from witnesses to the attack, and other evidence like scarring or disabilities resulting from the attack. This also includes medical records with doctor reports on your long-term prognosis and future medical costs or disabilities.
Even with plenty of evidence, the dog owner’s insurance company may deny your initial claim or try to offer you a lump sum of money upfront. This is a common tactic, and the goal is to get you to accept a smaller settlement and close the case. Never accept the first offer.
Make sure you have a good dog bite lawyer who can fight for your rights as a victim. They will present the evidence and calculate a fair settlement value based on your costs and other losses, including emotional pain and suffering.
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer Today for Free
The average dog bite settlement in Georgia totals tens of thousands of dollars—and depending on your situation, a good attorney may be able to get you that or more. Never try to navigate the legal process alone after a dog bite or animal attack. You have rights, and you can seek recovery for what you lost.
At John Foy & Associates, we have a 20+ year track record of standing up to insurance companies and getting victims the money they deserve. And we’ll start with a FREE consultation to discuss your case and how we can help. For your free consultation, call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the Free Case Evaluation form on this page today.