Q: Can I file for emotional damages if my dog was attacked by another but I was physically unharmed?
Many people have developed strong attachments to their family dogs. In fact, many people consider the dog to be a member of the family. In the event another dog attacks your dog in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia, you might experience long-lasting emotional trauma, especially if you witnessed the attack.
After all, for many it's like watching a family member be attacked and seriously injured. Even if you are physically unharmed, the emotional trauma of watching your beloved pet be attacked can be severe.
But you generally cannot file a claim for your own emotional trauma after a dog attacks your dog. This is because the impact rule generally requires the plaintiff have suffered physical injury in order to recover compensation for emotional distress.
What is the impact rule and does it always apply?
Generally, unless you suffered physical injury and the emotional distress arose because of the physical injury, you cannot recover damages related to emotional trauma. However, in the case Lee v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company the Supreme Court of Georgia found that a mother who suffered physical injury in a car accident in which her daughter suffered fatal injuries, was able to sue for emotional distress.
They found she could recover these damages because she witnessed her daughter's suffering, regardless of whether the emotional trauma arose out of the physical injury she, the mother, sustained herself.
Whether this would hold up in the case of a dog is a question to ask your attorney on a case consultation.
What damages might I seek if another dog attacked my dog?
If another dog attacks and injures your dog, you may be able to recover economic damages that result from the incident. This will generally include vet bills to treat the dog's injuries, as well as any medications or other expenses you experience as a result of the dog attack. Discuss the full extent of your damages with your attorney if you choose to file a claim against the other dog's owner.
If you did suffer physical injuries through a dog bite attack, you would also be able to pursue compensation for your own medical bills, any lost wages you experience while recovering, and more. You may even be able to sue for the emotional pain and suffering you experience as a result of your own physical injuries. Again, review your case in more detail during a case consultation with a lawyer familiar with dog bite cases and damages.
Contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz in Atlanta
Set up a consultation with the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz by calling 404-474-0804 or fill out our contact form. We will review your case to determine liability for your damages and which damages you may seek if you choose to file a claim.