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5 Complications with Dog Bite Accidents

Dog bites cause painful injuries which some people wrongly minimize. Larger dogs are so powerful they can crush bones or permanently damage nerves, leading to permanent disabilities. At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, our legal team has represented countless victims seeking financial compensation.

The reality is one dog bite can result in hospitalization with serious infections, job loss, income loss, and acute pain. Call our law firm. We can negotiate for a settlement on your behalf with the dog owner or a different party who has liability for the bite.

Below, we look at five challenges dog bite victims face. These are difficult cases to win even though there is a statute which gives you the power to hold a dog owner accountable. To speak with a premises liability lawyer, contact us at (404) 529-3476.

Avoiding Medical Complications

Dog bites cause serious direct injuries, including fractures, soft tissue injuries, and organ damage. But there are also complications, such as:

  • Nerve damage. Minor nerve damage might heal on its own, but some is permanent, meaning you will have long-lasting disfigurement. Imagine a dog biting your face. One side could droop permanently because the nerves die. Other damage leaves a victim with numbness or other impaired sensation.
  • Infection. There is a high risk of serious infection. Dogs have many germs in their mouths which are dangerous to humans. You might pick up a serious illness even if you wash your wound quickly. Without proper treatment, infection can advance to sepsis and even septic shock. One reason to go to the hospital is to have a doctor check for infection and provide life-saving treatment. Even a small dog could spread an infection if he breaks skin with his teeth.
  • Scarring. When dog bite injuries heal, they can often leave permanent scars. Disfiguring scars on the face, neck, or hands are very embarrassing. Some people will no longer go out in public with serious scars.

These are the most prominent complications. They highlight the importance of prompt medical treatment.

Dealing with Emotional Trauma

Some dog bite victims struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This is especially true of children, who can feel deeply traumatized.

It’s perfectly normal to feel afraid of dogs, at least for a little while, after the attack. More serious emotional complications include increased anxiety or depression. We strongly recommend talking with your doctor about your mental health.  You might be referred to a mental health counselor and receive prescription drugs for depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety.

Identifying the Dog

Some people are bitten by dogs they know. Maybe you visited a neighbor and their dog bit you as soon as you stepped inside. Or your neighbors’ dog wandered onto your property and attacked.

But some people are attacked by dogs in public which are roaming around with no owner in sight, and no one knows who the dog belongs to. You might be able to follow the dog home, but that’s a challenge if the dog caused major wounds.

We recommend having someone call the police soon after the accident. An officer can search for the dog and locate the owner. Without knowing the owner, it’s almost impossible to seek compensation—you won’t know who to sue. You can also have friends or family try to track the dog as you go to the hospital for treatment.

Finding Sufficient Compensation

Georgia’s dog bite law empowers victims to seek financial compensation from the dog owner after most accidents (O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7). However, getting compensation is easier said than done. Some dog owners might not have any money in the bank to pay a settlement. Even if you win a jury verdict, the owner could have no way to pay.

We have better luck collecting if the owner has renter’s or homeowner’s insurance. This policy could step up and pay compensation to a bite victim. Unfortunately, some dogs are excluded from policies, especially dangerous dogs. And few renters actually purchase insurance.

Call our law firm. We can investigate whether the dog owner has a homeowner’s policy which can cover damages associated with dog bites. We usually request compensation for:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Ongoing medical treatments, include plastic surgery or rehabilitation
  • Lost income and wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish

In some cases, we might sue the owner personally if he or she has sufficient resources to pay a settlement. Or we might sue a landlord for a property defect which allowed the dog attack to happen.

Choosing the Right Law Firm

The right attorney makes a big difference. Your law firm should have the resources necessary to obtain fair compensation. Not every case is “open and shut.” Sometimes it’s unclear whether you are entitled to money. For example, Georgia’s law does not let you obtain compensation if you provoked the dog, and the owner might claim you did just that.

We can investigate any claim. You have the burden in any lawsuit of proving your allegations. While you recover from your injuries, hire a law firm which is positioned to help you.

We handle dog bite cases from start to finish, and we meet all deadlines, which helps preserve your ability to seek accountability from the dog owner. There are hundreds of lawyers in the Greater Atlanta area. It can be hard to identify which is the right firm for your needs. That’s why we offer a free consultation to discuss your case.

Call Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys Today

Were you injured in a dog attack? If so, reach out to a member of our team. You deserve a lawyer who has your back. Dog owners and landlords often fight these claims aggressively because they do not want to pay any compensation. Some of them even deny the dog is to blame but will instead try to pin the accident on your shoulders.

Call (404) 529-3476 to get in touch with our office and start the case process. We can answer all of your questions in a consultation and help you identify whether you have a solid legal case.

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