Can I Sue if My Child Is Bitten by a Dog?

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A close up of a small dog threatening to bite.Yes, if your child suffered serious injuries from the dog bite, the dog’s owner may be liable. In some limited situations, the owner or landlord of the property where the bite occurred or their insurance carrier might also be liable.

When a child is bitten by a dog, it can be very upsetting – no one wants to see their child hurt. Focus on getting your child medical attention right away, but if possible, also make a note of any witnesses who saw the dog bite. Try to get their names and contact info if needed later. If the dog’s owner is present and you don’t know them personally, ask for their name and contact info and if they have homeowner’s insurance.

How Do You File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

First, you should speak with a Georgia dog bite attorney to determine if a lawsuit is necessary. As noted above, we may be able to file a claim with an applicable insurance policy and seek a fair settlement from the insurer. This is usually a more straightforward, faster, and less stressful approach than filing a lawsuit. If there is no insurance coverage, we will file a lawsuit, but in some cases, we can successfully settle with the responsible party without going to court. If not, we will take your case to trial and fight to get you and your child the settlement you deserve.

What Kind of Dog Bite Compensation Should You Seek for Your Child?

More than half of all dog bite victims are children. This is likely due to their small size and proximity to the dog’s head. Unfortunately, small size also makes children more vulnerable to serious injuries when bitten by a dog. A bite that might pierce the skin and necessitate a few stitches for an adult could result in multiple sutures and even a broken bone for a small juvenile.

Under Georgia’s Responsible Dog Owner Act, you can seek compensation from a dog’s owner if the dog bite caused serious injury to you or your child. “Serious injury” is defined as physical injuries that:

  • Result in multiple stitches, hospital admission, or plastic surgery
  • Lead to death or a significant risk of death
  • Leaves the victim with broken or dislocated bones
  • Cause a consequential impairment to the victim’s health, such as an infection

If your child’s dog attack fits these criteria, you can seek three types of damages from the responsible party or their insurance carrier:

  • Special damages. This covers your financial losses, including your child’s current medical bills and the cost of future care. Your attorney will help you estimate future costs to ensure you receive appropriate compensation. Other financial damages might include property damage due to the dog attack or funeral or burial expenses if the dog causes a death. Lost income is not a typical damage in children’s cases, but if your child does earn income (such as a child actor or model) and the dog bite prevents them from working, you can seek compensation for the missed payments.
  • General damages. These are for non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, which may be significant in children’s dog bite cases. Being bitten by a dog is a frightening experience, and the child may be traumatized for years. They might need therapy for anxiety, depression, or PTSD, and even with treatment, the child could have lifelong difficulties due to this event. Your lawyer will work to ensure your child receives enough compensation to provide therapy and help with other support needs.
  • Punitive damages. These won’t apply in every case, as they are intended to create an additional punishment for the responsible party in cases of extreme recklessness. For example, if the dog’s owner willingly and knowingly allowed a vicious dog to roam outside and off-leash, that might be considered reckless behavior. If so, a jury could award your child punitive damages. These are typically capped at $250,000.

How Can a Dog Bite Attorney Help You Get Compensation for Your Child?

Insurance companies and owners of aggressive dogs are often eager to blame the victim when a dog bites. The insurance adjuster or dog owner may claim that your child provoked the dog or suggest that their injuries weren’t caused by the dog bite. Arguing with the insurance company could worsen the situation, as the adjuster may misinterpret something you say as further proof that they shouldn’t have to pay your claim. They may be wrong, but can you prove that in court? Sometimes this may be complicated. An attorney has the experience and knowledge to deal with the insurance carrier on your behalf and fight to get you a fair settlement for your child’s future.

You should also be concerned if an insurance adjuster is too eager to take responsibility and pay your claim. Yes, that’s what you want – but you also want to ensure you’re getting enough money to cover your child’s future expenses. Frequently children with dog bites may need to see a plastic surgeon but have to wait several months for the wound to heal first. They may also need therapy if the dog attack leads to anxiety or other mental health effects. These are only two examples of additional costs you may run into after a dog attack, but there are many others.

Without knowing how much your expenses will be, it’s difficult to decide if a settlement offer is sufficient. In our experience, early offers from insurance companies are often lowball offers that may not cover all the injured person’s damages. If you receive an offer from an insurance company, we recommend asking a lawyer to review it before you make a decision. If the offer is too low, your attorney will point out the damages that aren’t covered and help you determine a more reasonable amount of compensation. Then they will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Sometimes this process takes more time, but it usually results in a more equitable settlement to help your child.

Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Helping your child recover from a dog bite can be a lengthy and stressful process, but having the resources to secure the treatments and assistance they need can help. Don’t trust an insurance company to compensate you fairly for your child’s injuries. Instead, please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation. Attorney Ali Awad and his experienced legal team will give your child’s injuries the attention they deserve. We never charge fees until we win or settle your case, so you have nothing to lose by learning your options.


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