An Atlanta Injury Attorney Representing Victims of Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
When individuals experience injurious legal matters like dog bites, there can be severe physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Stephen Apolinsky has a track record of success in helping clients get fair compensation for their cases. Recognized as one of the Top 100 Trial Attorneys in Georgia, and with over 35 years of civil litigation experience, Stephen Apolinsky can provide the legal expertise you need for your dog bite lawsuit.
As a highly regarded legal team with a history of success helping accident and injury victims receive the compensation they deserve, Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, is Atlanta’s premier legal team for matters of dog bite liability.
What is a Dog Bite or Animal Attack Injury Lawsuit?
An estimated 4.5 million people suffer a dog bite or other animal bite or attack in the US every year. About 800,000, or one in five, require medical treatment for their injuries, some requiring surgeries. About half of those victims are children, who are more likely to suffer severe injuries. Most of the children are injured by familiar dogs during everyday activities.
More than 50% of Atlanta households have at least one dog in residence. In 2022, Georgia ranked #10 on the list of top states for dog bites. The average cost for a dog bite claim here is $60,082.
Dogs who don’t bite can also cause injuries by jumping on someone or tripping them, causing them to fall. But dogs aren’t the only animals that can cause harm. Cats, parrots, and other pet birds, ferrets, and livestock can also cause injury to a person visiting someone’s property.
A person who keeps an undomesticated animal as a pet would also be subject to strict liability if it attacked a person. A plaintiff could file a lawsuit without proof that the owner was negligent.
Proving Liability & Causation in Dog Bite Injury Cases in Georgia
Georgia law defines a “potentially dangerous dog” as one that would bite a human without provocation. With this type of animal, owners are required to:
- Register the dog with the state.
- Post a clearly visible sign warning that there is a dangerous dog on the property.
- Maintain liability insurance of at least $15,000 for personal injuries inflicted by the dog or a surety bond of $15,000 or more payable to anyone injured by the dog.
Owners of a “dangerous dog” are also required to keep the animal on the property unless:
- The dog is secured to a leash not longer than six feet in length.
- While leashed, the dog must be under the physical control of someone who can prevent the dog from engaging with another animal or a person when needed.
- The dog must be in a closed kennel.
- The dog is either training or working as a hunting dog, herding dog, or predator control dog.
Other forms of negligence can include failing to supervise the dog in the presence of children, or knowingly putting an aggressive animal in a situation where it may attack.
Dog owners who are negligent with dangerous animals can be held strictly liable for any damage and injuries they cause. Owners may also face civil fines:
- Up to one year in prison and $5,000 in fines for a first offense.
- Up to ten years in prison and $10,000 in fines for a second or successive offense.
These types of injuries fall under Georgia’s premises liability laws, which cover accidents and injuries on someone else’s property. The laws include private homes as well as businesses.
Compensation and Damages Recoverable in Animal Attack / Dog Bite Injury Cases
Dog bites and animal attacks can leave you with injuries that may require expensive and long-term medical treatment such as surgery or physical therapy. Serious injuries could leave you unable to work for a time, or even permanently. Compensation can help cover medical expenses so you can recover from your injuries, such as:
- Emergency medical treatment.
- Reconstruction surgery for disfigurement.
- Physical therapy.
- Psychiatric care (many dog-bite victims develop a strong fear of dogs after an attack).
In addition to the medical expenses incurred from an animal or dog bite injury, you may also be able to recover:
- Lost wages.
- Lost future wages/lost earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress and loss of quality of life.
Georgia allows two years to file a lawsuit, starting from the date of your injuries. After that, you will not be able to recover any compensation, and your lawsuit will be dismissed. That’s why it’s vital to speak with a Georgia dog bite attorney immediately after your accident.