If you have been bitten by a dog in Alpharetta, you are not alone. About 27,000 people need reconstructive surgery each year because of dog bites. Dog bites may lead to infections, require surgery or stitches, and dramatically change lives, especially when the victims are young children.
A dog can bite with powerful jaws and knock a person down. The costs for the related injuries can leave a person with high medical bills. You should not have to absorb the costs alone. A dog bite attorney in Alpharetta from John Foy & Associates can make sure you’re fairly compensated by the animal’s owner.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Children, the elderly, and the disabled, were more at risk of suffering catastrophic injuries from dog attacks. Because they’re not able to properly defend themselves, these individuals can suffer trauma to the head, neck, and back, from being knocked over.
Some common injuries victims of dog attacks may face include:
- Serious lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurements
- Contracting rabies
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage and paralysis
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries
Regardless of how minor you believe your injuries may be, it’s important you seek medical attention. The notes and documentation a medical professional makes can be used as evidence in your case. You may even have more severe injuries than you initially thought. The dog owner should be responsible for providing compensation for your injuries.
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What Should You Do If You’ve Been Bitten By a Dog in Alpharetta?
If you need immediate medical attention, call 911. However, if you are able, you can do some things at the scene to protect yourself and begin gathering evidence to help your case. Try to get the following information about the dog that bit you:
- The dog owner’s name, and where the owner lives
- Whether the dog has had its shots, and when
- Whether the dog has bitten other people in the past
Don’t be surprised if the dog’s owner doesn’t want to answer your questions, if you can even find the owner. Just get as much information as you can, and our law firm’s investigative team will go back to the place where you were bitten and talk to neighbors who may know the dog, its owner and its history.
Your dog bite attorney in Alpharetta can also research records that may reveal previous attacks.
Should You Report a Dog Bite in Alpharetta?
Yes. In the City of Alpharetta, you should report any dog bite incident to two different agencies:
- The Alpharetta Police Department: Call the police right away so that officers can come to the scene, interview any witnesses, and prepare an incident report. The report is an important piece of evidence in your claim.
- Fulton County Animal Services: Animal Control keeps records of all animal attacks. They can help you identify the dog that attacked you and whether it has a history of violence.
What Will Happen to the Dog That Bit You in Alpharetta?
Most of the time, the dog won’t be punished or put down for biting you. Georgia’s laws ensure this by giving most dogs “one free bite,” meaning they won’t suffer any consequences the first time they bite someone.
However, if a dog is a repeat offender or is from a breed that’s known for its aggression, the one free bite rule won’t apply. Examples of aggressive breeds are:
- Wolf mixes
- Breeds created especially for fighting
Who Is Legally Responsible When a Dog Bites Someone?
Dog owners are always liable for the behavior of their animals. Under Georgia law, dog owners must train their dogs and keep them under control at all times. Depending on the dog and the circumstances, this might mean putting the dog on a leash, crating it, or watching it closely while off-leash.
When a dog bites someone, it’s a sign that the owner didn’t fulfill his or her duty to control the dog. This makes the owner legally liable for your bite, period, no matter how much the owner tries to excuse the dog’s behavior or blame you for “provoking” the dog. Your dog bite lawyer in Alpharetta can investigate the circumstances more thoroughly to determine liability.
What Financial Recovery Can You Get if You’re Bitten by a Dog in Alpharetta?
The local courts in Alpharetta follow Georgia law, which permits you to recover all your costs and damages. In a typical dog bite case, this might include:
- Medical costs
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Mental health treatment
- Lost pay, if you had to miss work because of the attack
In some cases, the court will award additional amounts of money as damages for pain and suffering, or other severe losses. Our Alpharetta dog bite attorneys will work to help you recover all costs associated with your attack.
While money cannot undo the traumatic effects of a dog attack, it can ease financial stress and make it easier for you to continue with your treatment and healing from your injuries.
What If the Dog’s Owner Is Your Friend?
If the dog’s owner was a friend, neighbor, or family member, you should do the same things you would do if the dog owner was a stranger. Many dog bite victims are afraid to report a bite because they didn’t want to get their friend in trouble or cause problems in the relationship. However, the benefits of getting necessary money to pay for treatment can outweigh this.
Remember, in most cases, your claim will be handled and paid by your friend’s insurance company. You won’t have to take your friend to court and they will not have to pay out of pocket.
Can You Recover Money If You Were Bitten While Working on the Dog Owner’s Property?
Hired workers have the same rights as everyone else and they can still recover money if they were bitten while on the job. Under Georgia law, homeowners must provide a safe environment for people who work on their property. That means that dogs must be kept under control. You can file a dog bite claim and you may even be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim.
What Does an Alpharetta Dog Bite Lawyer Cost?
You don’t have to pay anything out of pocket to get the legal help you need. Many qualified law firms start every case with a free consultation. Upon hiring an Alpharetta, GA, dog bite lawyer, they may not even charge you anything unless they win money for you. This lets you get the help you need, when you need it most, without worrying about paying legal fees.
What If You’re Partially Responsible for the Dog Biting You?
In situations where you played a role in the attack and antagonized the animal, such as possibly entering onto someone’s property despite warning signs, hitting the animal, or putting your hand through fence posts to pet the dog, your dog bite lawsuit could be more complicated. The dog owner now has a legal defense to your lawsuit to which your lawyer can help you prepare for.
If you were injured from a dog bite, are pursuing compensation from a claim, and are partially liable for the accident, you can still collect compensation so long as you are less than 49% responsible, according to Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law under Ga. Code § 51-12-33. Your percentage of fault will be determined by a judge.
How Can Your Alpharetta Dog Bite Lawyer Can Prove Vicious Behavior?
Your attorney can collect any records of previous attacks by a dog and prove if it breaks Georgia’s modified one bite rule. Additionally, if you can show that the dog was a threat to others through actions of lunging or snapping without provocation, you may be able to prove the liability of the owner and the dog’s vicious propensity (per Ga. Code § 51-2-7).
The parameters for identifying vicious propensity, according to state law, vary on a case by case basi. For instance, “Beware of Dog” signs may not be sufficient evidence of a dog’s aggressive behavior. However, it may be sufficient to show that the dog was required to heel or be on a leash.
If you’re found guilty of provoking the attack in any way, the dog may be exempt from being considered dangerous. The severity of the attack itself, as well as any previous attacks, can be used to determine whether a dog showed vicious propensities.
To determine if you can recover full compensation under Georgia laws, you will want to work with a qualified dog bite attorney in Alpharetta.
Talk to an Alpharetta Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
It’s easy to find a lawyer to handle a dog bite case, but it’s hard to find a firm with more experience winning them than John Foy & Associates. Our 20-year track record ensures that we commit ourselves to helping people who have been injured or attacked, and never siding with insurance companies or the owners of aggressive dogs.
Schedule a free consultation with our Alpharetta dog bite lawyers so that we can talk about your options. Call us or fill out the form to your right and speak with a member of our team today.