The behavior and personality of a dog often reflects the environment in which it grew up or currently lives. Sometimes, nice people adopt dogs that had very cruel previous owners. Other times, people don't notice the warning signs of a dog that may have a tendency toward irrational or violent behavior.
Unfortunately, small children can often wind up severely hurt when they interact with pets that people think are safe. It only takes a second for a dog to decide to bite, and children, being shorter, present more opportunity for a dog to cause catastrophic injuries.
Sometimes, children get bitten by dogs that belong to people you know. Other times, a neighbor's dog could jump over a fence or a free-running dog at a park could attack your child. Regardless of the circumstances, as a parent in the state of Georgia, you have rights and you may be able to help your family overcome the impact of the dog bite.
When dogs attack small children, injuries can be catastrophic
Dogs of any size can cause injury with their teeth, although there are certain breeds that present more of an overall risk than others. Large dogs and breeds created for hunting or fighting purposes can inflict massive amounts of damage in single bites. Adults can wind up with serious injuries, but for children, dog bites can be life-altering.
Short stature means that children could wind up with bites to their neck or face that will leave them with permanent disfigurement. Bites to the hands and arms can also result in severe scarring. Beyond that, the dog could cause traumatic injuries through blood loss or by ripping tissue. Dogs can also break bones, which could damage the growth plate in children and require extensive corrective surgery.
Disfiguring bites may require fewer medical interventions, but the cost of repairing that damage can last a lifetime. As children continue to grow, they will need new surgery to replace and repair the damaged tissue. The younger the child is at the time of the bite, the more surgeries they will require to go through their childhood and adult lives without disfiguring scars. It can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for families to correct the damage done by vicious dogs.
Not all scars are visible
Even if your child was lucky enough to avoid severe disfigurements or a major injury, a dog bite attack can prove incredibly traumatic for children. They may struggle with a fear of dogs or the environment in which they got attacked. Whether that was a park or a friend's house, it may take years of therapy to fully address the anxiety and other mental health issues that crop up after a vicious dog attack.
Georgia law does allow people to hold dog owners responsible for the damages they caused. However, your case must meet certain standards, which is why speaking with an attorney who understands Georgia dog bite cases can help your family make the best possible decisions about any offered insurance settlement or potential lawsuit related to your child's injuries.