Were you or a loved one attacked by a dog in Georgia? Check out these 5 common dog bite questions, then contact our Atlanta attorney today!
1) What should I look for when choosing a dog bite attorney?
Dog bite cases require specialized knowledge and attention, and you always have to make sure that you have an attorney who has experience handling these cases all the way to a conclusion and has consistently received good resolutions. These cases involve unique statutes and laws, which needs to be applied, along with the evidence that’s gathered, in a specific way to put your case in the best possible light.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking for an attorney to handle a dog bite case is to make sure that your attorney knows the ins and outs of how the insurance system works. Insurance companies have their own way of doing things and it’s important to know what motivates them internally. Before beginning to represent individuals in personal injury claims, I spent years representing insurance companies. Now, I am able to take that knowledge and put it to use for people who have been injured by the carelessness of others.
Finally, it’s important to make sure that you have an attorney that insurance companies know will take cases through to trial. When it comes time to resolve cases, the attorneys who will not try cases do not get the best settlement offers. Most cases settle before trial, but some cases require prosecution all the way through to a jury in order to receive a reasonable and fair resolution. At the Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a significant amount of our time in trial, and we know how the system works and how to position cases to get the best possible verdicts for our clients.
2) Should I speak to insurance companies after a dog bite injury?
We are often asked whether a person who has been injured by a dog bite should give a recorded statement to the insurance company of the person who owned the dog. We strongly recommend that you do not do this. 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.
3) Do I need a minimum amount of medical bills to file a dog bite injury claim?
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.
4) How long will my dog bite injury case take?
When we have clients who have been injured by dog bites, one of the first things they want to know is how long it’s going to take to resolve their case. 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.
I think 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.
5) How much is my dog bite claim worth?
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 your injury?
After checking out these 5 common dog bite questions, 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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