In another senseless dog attack in the Atlanta area, 2 brothers, aged 6 and 8 were mauled by a neighbor’s dangerous rottweilers. The dogs had gotten out of the owner’s yard, were on the loose, and snuck up on the little boys as they were riding their bikes in the neighborhood. Thankfully, the boys were saved by neighbors and are recuperating in the hospital. As a sad side note, one of the neighbors who saved the boys frantically called to a man passing by as the boys were being mauled and the passerby would not stop and help. As an Atlanta lawyer who regularly represents dog attack victims, I think that the worst attacks often involve 2 or more dogs that escape from their owner’s yard and roam the neighborhood until they attack a helpless child. This seems to be a common scenario– at least to me.
The boys were emergency-transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) where they each received about 300 stitches to treat the bite wounds they sustained. The boys were torn apart from head to toe. Despite heroic efforts by neighbors, the dogs could not be pried off the boys and they almost killed them.
In Georgia, there are animal control laws and ordiances in place so that these types of situations are less likely to occur. In this particular dog bite case, the dogs owner was cited for violating local ordinances including having dogs at large and not having a valid county license for the dogs. In order to properly compensate victims of animal attacks causes by the negligence of (mostly, but not exlusively) dog owners, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bite liability, unless they are specifically excluded from coverage. In this case, there appears to be available homeowner’s insurance, which would indicate that the dogs owner was a homeowner, and had valid insurance. The question here is: due to the extent of the boys’ injuries, will there be enough insurance proceeds to adequately compensate them for their injuries. Not only is a dog attack physcially punishing, the emotional toll is immense and, sometimes, can last a lifetime. In a case like this, the medical bills and other “hard” damages could easily exceed $500,000, not including the other damages mentioned above — such as pain and suffering, emotional damages, reduced ability to labor and work, etc. These damages add up quickly, and that is what ultimately fuels the value of the case.