Were you or a loved one attacked by a dog in Atlanta? Read about the 4 things you need to know about a dog bite, then call our attorney today.
1. Speaking to Insurance Companies
We strongly recommend that you do not speak to the insurance company. The insurance company will use a trained claims examiner who will ask you questions in a way that leads to vague answers and misleading statements, which will later be used against you. Don’t give them the opportunity to do this. You don’t have any obligation to give a recorded statement, and there’s nothing to be gained from doing so.
2. Minimal Medical Bills
When people come in to see us over dog bite claims, one of the things that they want to know is if there’s a minimum amount of medical expenses that are necessary in order to sustain a viable claim. These cases tend to be more dependent on the types of injuries rather than the medical expenses. For example, if you suffer permanent scarring, you may not have a lot of medical bills, but your claim will be worth more due to the long-term impacts of the injury. Likewise, if you sustained significant medical expenses but were found to have provoked the dog into attacking you, you won’t be able to recover much compensation. The best thing to do is evaluate the injuries and their permanency rather than simply the medical expenses.
3. Settlement Timeline
This is very hard to know initially because all cases are different. However, dog bite cases usually tend to take longer than your general motor vehicle collision case because they are more fact-intensive and require a lot more discovery into what actually happened. During the discovery process, we will have to find out if the dog had a propensity or history of attacking people before, along with if the owner had taken any measures to stop it. Those things take time to learn and figure out, and these are not the types of cases that often settle before filing a lawsuit. If the lawsuit cannot be resolved by the two parties, then the case may need to be tried in front of a jury.
A reasonable amount of time to expect for a dog bite case is somewhere between one and three years after the lawsuit has been filed. In Georgia, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident. Typically, injuries sustained in a dog bite case are not as significant as a motor vehicle collision, and so the treatment process if faster. We can often file a lawsuit well before the statute of limitations expires.
4. Case Value
When we encounter clients who have been bit by dogs and injured, one of the first things they want to know from us is what the value of their case is. However, at the beginning of a case, you can’t determine the value because you don’t know the extent of the injuries. The first thing that needs to happen in order to determine the value of a case is to know whether you’re going to fully recover or whether your injuries are going to be permanent. For instance, in a dog bite case, if you are bitten and you only need a couple stitches, that’s not going to have a lot of value. Conversely, if you suffer permanent scarring, that case is worth a lot more because those injuries will never go away. However, you can’t evaluate this until you’ve gone through all of your medical treatment.
In any type of personal injury case, you are entitled to special damages, which consists of medical expenses and lost wages. These are relatively easy to calculate. The hard part is calculating the things known as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and disruption of life. The severity to which you’ve been impacted drives the value of the compensation.
Another thing that you have to keep in mind is where that money to compensate you comes from. In the instance of a dog bite case, it’s generally the homeowner’s insurance of the dog owner. We have to look into how much insurance they have, or if they have any personal assets.
Were you or a loved one attacked by a dog in Georgia and have questions about the 4 things you need to know about a dog bite?
Contact the experienced Atlanta dog bite lawyer at The Gunnels Law Firm today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation.
Let our experience work for you.
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