How the Millar Law Firm Will Investigate Your Case
Our firm will assign one of our dog bite attorneys to properly evaluate your case. Your lawyer will answer your questions and keep you updated as we handle your dog bite case.
- First, our firm investigates how the dog bite occurred. We will review police or animal control reports, 911 recordings, first responder and ER records, and interview witnesses to the attack to prove it was not your fault.
- The value of your injury case will be determined by the extent of the injury, by the medical records review, and after consultation with medical experts.
- Because you need compensation, we find all insurance policies that will cover your losses, such as the homeowner’s policy of the careless dog owner, and we research dog bite lawsuit settlement amounts to maximize your case recovery.
How Our Attorneys Prove Dog Bite Cases
Our team of attorneys, support staff, and investigators promptly investigate to discover whether:
The dog has been vicious or has shown aggressive tendencies.
A dog can be shown to have presented an unreasonable risk when there is a past history of:
- aggressive or threatening behavior,
- attacks on other animals, or past aggression against you or others (even the dog’s own family members).
If the owner knew the dog was aggressive or had been aggressive in the past, the owner may have been negligent in failing to take precautions to prevent harm to others.
The owner carelessly handled the dog.
A dog owner may be negligent by allowing a dog off leash or to escape a yard due to an inadequate or defective fence when there is a local ordinance or leash law.
Sometimes, the most difficult part of these cases is proving that the owner was aware of the canine’s aggressive tendencies. Proof that an owner knew or should have known their dog was dangerous or vicious is sometimes proven through public information, such as local animal control records.
Records showing that neighbors have been attacked or harassed by a dangerous dog also make great evidence to prove an owner’s knowledge of vicious propensity.
Let Us Handle the Stress
A dog bite or attack is a traumatic experience. You have to cope with physical and mental trauma. The last thing you need is more stress. Let us recover compensation for your medical bills and losses, pain and suffering, and trauma. At The Millar Law Firm, we take care of your legal rights so you can focus on other things.
Our law firm has been helping Atlanta, Georgia, dog and animal attack victims receive fair compensation since 1993. Rest assured, our lawyers are ready to take on your case and seek the fair settlement you deserve. You will not be charged for our legal services unless we recover money for your case.
To learn more about how we can represent you in your dog bite case, please give us a call at 770-400-0000 or contact us online today.
Legal Resources and Relevant Information:
- The Average Settlement for Dog Bite Cases in Atlanta
- Receive Compensation after a Dog Bite or Attack
- Finding the Best Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyer for your Dog Bite Injury
- Work Injury Dog Bite Lawsuits
- Evidence for Dog Bite Injury Cases
- Dealing With Insurance Companies for Dog Bites
- Dog Bite Laws and Ordinances in Atlanta
- Dog Bite Laws and Ordinances in Fulton County
- Procedures to Take After a Dog Bite
- Georgia Dog Bite Facts and Statistics
The Average Settlement for Dog Bite Cases in Atlanta
How much is your case worth? Each dog bite case in Atlanta is different. The value of a dog bite settlement in Atlanta and across Georgia depends on the severity of the injury and what scars and permanent injuries are left behind. Small dog-bite cases involving relatively minor injuries and scars may have a settlement value of up to $50,000.00. According to some insurance industry studies, the average dog bite settlement is in the range of $25,000.00– $40,000.00.
More serious injuries tend to have greater settlement and verdict averages. For example, when injuries were serious and left behind permanent disfigurement and disability, our law firm has settled many cases for policy limits of $100,000.00 to $300,000.00. We have received verdicts even higher when the injuries justified the award.
Read about these related dog bite injury cases:
- A Heroic nurse who recovered $300,000.00 after being attacked by a pit bull.
- A Jury award of $150,000.00 to children attacked at a duplex.
- Why dogs cost millions of dollars in Atlanta, Georgia.
Receive Compensation after a Dog Bite or Attack
It is crucial to have a solid legal case if a dog bites you. Injuries from dog bites can include amputations, permanent scarring, head injuries, disfigurement, broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and fractures. Likewise, injuries can be painful, permanent, and expensive to treat. In addition, in the most serious cases, dog bite injuries can lead to death.
Out-of-pocket economic losses can be staggering, as treatments may include plastic surgeries and ongoing care. As a victim of a Dog Bite or Attack, you should not have to shoulder this burden on your own.
A dog owner’s homeowner’s, business owner’s, or renter’s insurance can pay monetary damages.
Recoverable Damages After a Dog Bite or Attack May Include:
- All medical bills and costs
- Lost income or wages
- Any reduction in earning potential caused by ongoing injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and counseling
- Scarring and disfigurement damages
- Punitive damages
- In fatal attacks, damages for wrongful death
Whether it is emergency room treatment, X-rays, surgery, medication, or ongoing therapy, all past and future medical costs related to the injury are included items of damages. Medical records, hospital bills, and medical experts help us assess the damages.
If you miss work and lose income while recovering from your injuries, you may claim these losses. Time sheets and other work records can establish your lost income. If the dog bite causes you to suffer a permanent disability, we can work with economists and vocational experts to determine the harm to your future earning potential.
Pain and Suffering
Although it is difficult to put a dollar value on physical suffering, we can assess the proper amount by relying on photos, witness statements, and other evidence.
Emotional Distress and Counseling
Mental health experts can determine the emotional harm that may have occurred in your dog bite case and establish the treatment required.
Scarring and Disfigurement
If you need or undergo plastic surgery to repair the scars and other permanent marks caused by a dog bite, the future costs as well as current amounts for this care can be documented and recovered.
If a dog owner willfully allowed a dog bite to happen or recklessly disregarded the safety of others, an argument for additional damages can be made. Georgia punitive damages awards are meant as a deterrent or punishment to the dog owner to encourage him or her to not allow an attack to happen again.
Loss of Consortium
If you are the spouse of one who was severely injured in a dog attack, you may be deprived of their comfort, companionship, and support. Georgia law recognizes losses of consortium as an important part of your harms and losses.
Wrongful Death Damages
If the dog bite proved fatal, surviving family members can seek medical expenses, funeral costs, and damages for the loss of life and other tangible and intangible benefits.
Our Law Firm’s mission is to make sure that all areas of your life affected by a dog or other animal bite or attack are fully covered.
Finding a Lawyer for Your Dog Bite Injury
Research Personal Injury Lawyers to Find the Best
How do you find the best dog bite attorney to handle your case? Take your time and carefully research attorneys. Compare their 5-star reviews and specialized knowledge. We have provided information and legal resources on this website we hope you will find helpful in your search for the right law firm.
Work Injury Dog Bite Lawsuits
Bitten or Attacked While Working or On The Job?
If you were bitten while working for yourself or while you were on the job for an employer, you can still bring a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. You may also have a workers’ compensation claim. A dog bite claim is similar to any other workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. Don’t let the fact that you were bitten or attacked while working stop you from seeking full justice.
For more information, read about the U.S. Postal Service Dog Bite Awareness Safety Campaign here.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact The Millar Law Firm today. When you call, you will speak with a lawyer at no charge to discuss the facts of your case and your legal options.
Evidence for Dog Bite Injury Cases
What evidence proves a dog bite case in Georgia?
Our lawyers and investigators search for evidence that a dog has been a problem or menace in the past. Often, our dog bite attorneys and investigators will speak with neighbors, animal control, and local officials, gathering records to prove the legal elements necessary to win your case in Georgia. Winning a dog bite case can be difficult without evidence that meets Georgia’s strict legal standards.
Discovering any violations of local dangerous dog and leash laws is critical. An owner’s failure to keep a dog inside a secure fence, on a leash, muzzled,
or under the control of its owner can lead to liability.
If there is a legal violation, it is not always necessary to prove the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous in these cases. Instead, you may show that the owner:
- Violated leash and restraint laws. Local leash laws, a court order, an county ordinances can all impose certain obligations on dog owners to make sure their animals are under control.
- Failed to control the dog. A dog owner’s failure to secure his or her dog on a leash or keep it confined is failing to handle or control the animal. The dog owner can be liable for allowing the dog to go free or for not muzzling the dog.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Speaking to the Dog Owner’s Insurance Company
Sometimes the owner of a dog that has attacked will offer to give you the contact information for their insurance company. There is no legal prohibition against speaking to the dog owner’s insurance company, but unless you have a very small claim and are not planning to hire an attorney, we recommend that you do not. An insurance adjuster will want to interview you about the bite or attack and may try to take a recorded statement that could be used against you later when it comes time to negotiate, settle, or handle the case in court.
It is usually best and safest to consult with an Atlanta attorney and have someone at your side when dealing with any insurance adjuster.
Legal Responsibility for Dog Bite or Attack Injury
Under both Georgia and City of Atlanta laws, the dog’s owner or keeper is legally responsible if the dog is not managed properly and bites or injures a person. Insurance under a business policy, homeowner’s policy, or renter’s insurance policy may cover your injuries.
The process begins by notifying the dog’s owner of your injury. Next you must request to be put in contact with their insurance company.
Many dog owners try to place blame on the victim or become un-cooperative after a bite. Unfortunately, many dog owners have the attitude or belief that “their” dog would never bite someone. When this happens, it is usually time to get an experienced Atlanta dog bite attorney involved.
Without professional help, unfortunately some dog bite cases may be lost based on nothing more than a technicality. Read about a challenging dog bite case that was recently dismissed here in Georgia.
Prevention, of course, is worth a pound of cure. Check out these safety tips about keeping Atlanta’s children safe from dog bites and attacks before they happen.
Atlanta Leash Laws and Animal Control
The Leash Law in Atlanta
Under Atlanta City Code Section 110-70(a), a person may not walk his or her dog in a park except on a leash, unless the park is defined as a dog-park or off-leash area.
Prohibited areas for dogs.
The City of Atlanta does not prohibit dogs from being in public areas, except for the following places:
(2) Swimming pools and pool areas
(3) Tennis courts
(4) Golf course
(5) Within fifteen (15) feet of all fences and structures
(8) Ball fields
City of Atlanta Off-Leash (Dog Park) Areas
The City of Atlanta has a long list of rules for dog parks or off-leash areas. Some of the main ones are:
- Dogs must be kept within sight of the owner.
- No more than three dogs per pet owner are allowed.
- All dogs must have a collar and a tag.
- No puppies under sixteen (16) weeks are allowed.
- No dogs in heat are allowed.
Does the City of Atlanta Prohibit Pit Bull dogs?
No. Although some Cities in the Atlanta Metro Area have passed local ordinances prohibiting pit bulls from entering certain areas such as dog parks or declaring them dangerous, the City of Atlanta has not passed any laws restricting or prohibiting ownership of pit bulls.
Some Legal Definitions Regarding Animal Control
Fulton County Ordinances, Sec. 34-196 contains some definitions and information you may find helpful:
Fulton County defines a classified animal as an animal that has been determined to be a vicious or dangerous dog or animal by the State of Georgia, or by a government agency or Court of Law.
Commercial Guard Dog or Security Dog
This is a dog that is trained to guard, patrol, or protect a public or private commercial property. A dog may not be a security or guard dog if it has been previously classified a dangerous or vicious dog.
Current Vaccination/License Tag
Fulton County requires that dogs have a vaccination license tag showing that the dog has been vaccinated and is licensed for a one year or a three year period.
This identifies a dog that
- causes a substantial puncture with its teeth;
- aggressively attacks in a way that causes a person to believe the dog poses an imminent threat, even if the attack does not happen; or
- kills or seriously injures a pet animal while off its owner’s property.
A dog is not considered dangerous if it is a military or police dog or if the person injured was willfully trespassing or tormenting the dog.
A person owning, possessing, harboring, or keeping the animal. If the owner is a minor, the term “owner” means the parent or person in loco parentis with custody of the minor.
Public Nuisance Animal
This is an animal, such as a dog, that is found repeatedly at large (loose) (except cats); or damages property; or has a tendency or disposition to attack, bite, or injure humans or other animals without provocation, whether on public or private property. An animal is also considered a public nuisance if it chases or menaces pedestrians or other persons using public streets, sidewalks, and areas.
Fulton County defines a vicious dog as one that (1) inflicts serious injury on a person or causes serious injury to a person attempting to get away from the dog’s attack; or (2) has already been classified as dangerous and has attacked a person or pet since being classified as a dangerous dog.
Fulton County Animal Control Ordinances
Owners of animals must take precautions to prevent them from causing harm or injury to others. The following ordinances explain what is expected of dog owners in Fulton County.
Running at Large
Fulton County Ordinance 34-205(a) prohibits dogs from being allowed to run at large within the unincorporated area of the County or any City within Fulton County.
Sec. 34-205(b)(1) makes it against the law for the owner to allow a dog to leave his or her premises without a leash; and the leash must be no more than six (6) feet long. The dog is required to be under the control of a competent person.
Fencing or Walls
Sec. 34-205(b)(2), (3) and (4) require a dog to be confined to the owner’s premises behind a fence or wall or kept on a leash when outside on the owner’s property. Electronic confinement systems are allowed and considered to be an acceptable enclosure, unless a dog has been classified as dangerous or vicious. In that case, an electronic fencing system may not be used to confine the dog.
Sec. 34-205(b)(5) makes it illegal to restrain a dog or other animal using a tether, unless the owner is attending the dog, and only then, temporarily and if a harness is used. It is illegal to tether a dog by its neck in Fulton County.
Precautions to Be Taken by Owners of Dangerous Dogs
Sec. 34-281 requires owners of public nuisance, dangerous, or vicious dogs to keep the dog under restraint. When the dog is unattended and outdoors, it must be fenced in a kennel with secure sides and a top, and must not be able to tunnel underneath and escape. When in public, such a dog must be on a leash no more than six (6) feet long, and must be muzzled. A warning sign (beware of dog) must be displayed.
Impoundment of Dogs
Sec. 34-316 deals with impoundment of dogs. At-large dogs or other violators are not excused from impoundment just because the dog has a license or vaccination tag. Impounded dogs can be picked up at Fulton County Animal Control.
More information about Fulton County’s Animal Control Ordinances can be found here.
Penalties for Fulton County Dog Ordinance Violations
Persons who violate certain Fulton County dog ordinances related to public nuisance animals may be convicted of a misdemeanor. They may be fined a minimum $250.00 for a second violation and not less than $500.00 for a third violation. Sec. 34-197(c)
A person who violates Fulton Ordinances relating to a dangerous dog may be convicted of a misdemeanor and fined no less than $500.00 for a second conviction and an additional $750.00 for a third conviction. Sec. 34-197(d)
The Statute of Limitation for a Dog Bite Case
Georgia has a two-year statute of limitation for all personal injury claims, including dog bites (and for all cases happening in the City of Atlanta). In the case of a minor, suit must be filed within two years after the child’s eighteenth birthday.
Procedures to Take After a Dog Bite
There are a number of things you should do after a dog attack or bite incident. These procedures are certainly applicable when the incident has occurred in Atlanta.
Seek Medical Attention
As dog bite attorneys, we cannot recommend what type of medical care you should seek. However, we can recommend that if you or a child has been bitten or attacked, calling 911 and seeking professional medical care as quickly as possible is usually the best and safest thing to do. In Georgia after you call 911, most cities and counties will automatically notify animal control, who can meet you at the hospital or at home when you return. Hospitals and other medical care providers will also generally call animal control.
Another reason to immediately seek medical attention is due to the risk of contracting certain diseases that dogs and other animals can carry, such as rabies, tetanus, and certain bacterial infections.
Make an Animal Control Report
The City of Atlanta and Fulton County both use Fulton County Animal Services, and can be reached at 404-613-0358. Make an animal control report as soon as possible.
Obtain Proof of Vaccination
Try to determine who owns the dog and ask the owner whether the dog is current on its rabies vaccination. Also ask for information about any homeowner’s or renter’s insurance they have that may cover your medical expenses, lost income, and your trauma and pain and suffering.
If you are not sure whether a dog has been vaccinated, let your medical provider know.
Begin to investigate immediately to discover whether there are any witnesses to the incident. Seek to determine whether the dog had been vicious before, or has bitten anyone else. You may want to contact an attorney, such as our law firm, to do this investigation as we have the experience and private investigators on staff to discover the truth.
When to Seek Professional Medical Treatment
Some dog bites simply graze the skin, leading many people to believe that they can treat the wound at home. However, it is better to be safe than sorry and have even the smallest dog bites checked by a medical professional. Other wounds are more severe; some may even require an immediate trip to an emergency room. Read this article to learn more about “What Injuries Can Come from a Dog Bite.”
Georgia Dog Bite Facts and Statistics
Family pets are involved in many fatal dog attacks.
- Nearly fifty percent of the dogs involved in fatal attacks in 2014 were family pets, based on ownership information.
- Nineteen percent of all individuals fatally injured by dog attacks in 2014 were visiting or living with the dog’s owner when the attack occurred.
- Two dog breeds—pit bulls and rottweilers—contributed to seventy-four percent of the fatal dog attacks from 2005 to 2014, and seventy-six percent of the deaths from 2005-2018, according to DogsBite.org.
- Thirty-three different dog breeds contributed to the remaining fatal dog maulings during those years.
- In the fourteen-year period of 2005 through 2018, canines killed 471 Americans.
- Pit bulls contributed to sixty-six percent (311) of these deaths. DogsBite.org
- Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths. DogsBite.org
- Homeowner’s insurance usually covers most pit bull dog attacks, although we are seeing more exclusions.
- Fifty-seven percent of fatal dog attacks in 2014 involved more than one dog. A fifth of the attacks involve packs of four or more dogs.
- In 2018, only twenty-eight percent (10) of dog bite deaths involved multiple dogs, down sharply from the 13-year average (2005 to 2017) of over 45%.
- Of this subset of multi-dog attacks, ninety percent (9) involved one or more pit bulls and seventy percent (7) involved two or more pit bulls.
- Un-neutered male dogs are most likely to show aggression. According to the AVMA, seventy to seventy-six percent of reported dog bite incidents involve these dogs.