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What to do when your child suffers a serious dog bite

Parents generally do whatever they can to prevent injuries to their children. In the case of a roaming or vicious dog, however, parents may not get a chance to intervene. A dog can attack suddenly, without provocation, and can cause serious damage to a child.

In addition to the penetrating trauma of the bite itself, the potential exists for serious psychological damage to a child attacked by a dog.

In some cases, a homeowner's or renter's insurance policy will offer a settlement to the injured child shortly after the incident. In these cases, you should never accept the settlement without speaking with an experienced attorney first. Many times, insurance companies will offer low first settlements in the hopes of avoiding future financial liability.

Expenses from a dog bite attack can keep accruing for years. From ongoing therapy to address post-traumatic stress, fear of being outside or fear of dogs to repeat plastic surgery procedures required as the point of injury grows, expenses can continue.

Dog owners are generally liable under state law

If a dog was loose and not on a leash, under Georgia state law, the dog's owner is generally considered liable for the injuries it caused. Even if you were visiting the home of the dog's owner, that person could still be found liable for injuries the dog caused.

While the law does not explicitly state exceptions, generally the only time liability decreases is if your child was trespassing or abusing the dog. A dog that attacks and bites without provocation is a dangerous animal and one that should have been carefully controlled by its owner. Failing to control and leash it incurs serious liability.

The courts may hold the dog's owner responsible for medical bills, including trauma care, emergency transportation, plastic surgery, bone setting and ongoing physical or psychological therapy required for the full recovery of your child. It's awful enough that your family has to deal with a child's serious injury and the emotional fallout of that injury. You shouldn't also be burdened financially by someone else's failure to control an animal.

An attorney can advocate for your child

When your child is seriously hurt, money is often the last thing on your mind. Sadly, whether you're worried about it or not, expenses will accrue after a dog bite attack. Working with an attorney can ensure your child gets compensation for the injury, as well as pain and suffering. A lawyer can negotiate with insurers or file a civil lawsuit to help ensure that your family doesn't have to incur serious debt after a dog bite attack.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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