Georgia Dog Bite Laws – your questions answered: What damages can be recovered if you are bitten by an aggressive dog? In Georgia, a dog bite victim may be compensated for both financial losses and for pain and suffering. In some cases, a plaintiff may also be awarded punitive damages as a means of punishing a defendant who acted with total and willful disregard for others’ safety.
The three types of damages that can potentially be recovered in dog bite cases in Georgia are known as general (for pain and suffering), special (for economic loss) and punitive (to punish or deter) damages.
- Special damages are for the actual financial losses due to medical expenses, property damage (such as clothing or jewelry), lost income and, in the case of a death, funeral and burial expenses. It is important to calculate past and future medical expenses, such as for impending re-constructive surgery, as well as future income loss because of diminished earning power for a dog bite victim who has been disfigured or disabled.
- General damages are compensation for non-financial or non-economic losses, such as physical and mental pain and emotional suffering, mental and emotional distress and, in a fatal dog attack, loss of companionship. The amount of general damages obtained through a dog bite lawsuit would be decided by a jury, or through negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. Often they are calculated as a multiple of total special damages awarded.
- Punitive damages are intended to punish a dog’s owner if the owner was especially reckless or negligent in his or her conduct leading to the bite incident. They also serve as a warning to others who would act as recklessly. Punitive damages are generally capped at $250,000 in Georgia.
As your dog bite claim representative, a Millar Law Firm dog bite lawyer will gather the evidence to show how badly you were harmed by your injuries and seek the full amount of special and general damages that your case supports. Punitive damages, if available, can be negotiated into the settlement in some cases, or awarded by a Jury to punish or deter the at fault party.