Dog bites can be serious. Even minor bites can lead to infection and disease, and a severe bite can require stitches or surgery. In many cases, one dog attack can have lifelong effects. If you live in Athens and got bit by a dog, you should talk to a dog bite lawyer.
John Foy & Associates has the experience and expertise to help. We have worked on behalf of dog bite victims for over 20 years. If a dog bit you or a loved one, let us give you a free consultation with the best dog bites lawyers in the Athens area.
What Should I Do If a Dog Bit Me in Athens?
The most important thing after any dog bite is to get as much information as you can. Your case will be much easier if you can find out who owns the dog and where they live. If you find the owner, ask if the dog has had its shots and has a clean bill of health.
Obviously, dog owners don‘t always want to share this information. They may feel defensive, flustered, or afraid of being held responsible. They may also try to blame you for the bite. So, do your best to be calm.
Our Athens dog bite attorneys can send our investigator to talk to neighbors in the area and find out who owns the dog. Then, we can talk to them or subpoena the records we need.
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How do I Report a Dog Bite in Athens?
You should report your dog bite to two different agencies:
- The Athens-Clarke County Police. A police report provides essential documentation of what happened and is the first step in filing your claim.
- The county Animal Control service is the primary agency responsible for documenting all dangerous animals and reporting dog attacks. They will know if the dog has a history of aggression.
Don’t neglect to do this. It’s best to contact law enforcement and animal control as soon as you can. If your dog bite injuries don’t require prompt life-saving medical attention, try to inform the authorities first about what happened.
What Happens After I Report a Dog Attack in Athens? Will the Dog Get Put Down?
It’s rare for a dog to get put down after an attack. Georgia allows most dogs one “free bite,” meaning if it’s the dog’s first offense, you still have all your rights enforced as the victim, but the dog itself won’t get punished. The only exceptions are dogs that belong to certain highly aggressive breeds, such as:
- Pit bulls
- Wolf hybrids
- Breeds created for fighting
After any dog attack, the most important thing is to look out for your safety and get the recovery you need. While it may be said that a dog’s life may get cut short, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the financial compensation you need for your damage. Don’t underestimate how costly your injuries can be.
What Damages Can I Collect After a Dog Bite in Athens?
With help from a dog bite attorney in Athens, you can pursue compensation for several damages after a dog bites you:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and mental anguish
- Disfigurement and disability
- Wrongful death
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
In 2018, national plastic surgery statistics showed that more than 26,000 people got reconstructive surgery for dog bites. Unfortunately, surgeries and other medical treatments can cost a small fortune that the average Athens resident won’t be able to afford.
You shouldn’t have to put yourself into financial ruin just to get the proper care. Whatever damages you’ve sustained from your dog bite injury should be fully compensated by the dog owner’s insurance company. Always hold them at fault for what happened and never pay out of pocket.
Who Is Responsible for Dog Bites?
The owner is always responsible for any dog bite case. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-2-7 clearly states that dog owners have an obligation to keep their dogs trained, controlled, and properly behaved. Besides basic obedience training, this means the dog should be crated, contained in a fence, or on a leash.
If the dog is off-leash or someone is allowed on the property with the dog, the owner is supposed to supervise and control it. This simplifies dog bite cases because the onus is always on the owner, and victims can’t get blamed for being attacked by a “friendly” dog.
Fault Matters in Georgia Dog Bite Cases
Remember, even though the law is on your side, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to prove fault. There are specific ways a dog owner can defend themselves against your claim if your case is weak:
- They can claim you were trespassing on their property.
- They can claim you were intentionally provoking or aggravating their dog into biting you.
- They can claim that you were in the process of a crime or other illegal act, and the dog defended itself or its owner from you.
These defenses have worked in the past, and dog bite victims end up with nothing. When you retain one of our dog bite lawyers in Athens, we won’t let this happen. Instead, we will help you build a strong case, prove fault, and secure a settlement that appropriately reflects your damages.
What If the Dog Belongs to Someone I Know?
We still believe it’s best to report the dog bite. We understand that many people feel conflicted about filing a claim against a friend or family member. But there are two important considerations you should make in any dog bite case:
- If someone else’s dog bit you or your child, it’s not fair for you to have to pay the expenses on your own. Medical bills for dog bites can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars or higher.
- Your claim is not against your friend personally. In most cases, it will get paid out of their homeowner insurance. They won’t have to pay anything out of pocket because of your claim.
Don’t hesitate to get justice or get the money you deserve. We can help you navigate through your claim and ensure that you can file your claim.
What If I Was Working in Someone’s Home and Their Dog Bit Me?
You still have a right to a complete recovery. Under the law, the homeowner is responsible for keeping the premises safe for their contractors or hired workers. They should have their dogs crated or otherwise controlled while you work. You still have a valid dog bite claim, and you may have a worker’s comp claim as well. This can make it even easier to get the recovery you need.
How Much does a Dog Bite Lawyer in Athens Cost?
You don’t need to pay anything out of pocket for a dog bite lawyer in Athens. We believe in putting victims first and making it as easy as possible for you to get professional legal help. That’s why we offer a straightforward pay policy:
- Free consultation
- No upfront costs
- You pay us nothing if we don’t win you money
If we win you a financial recovery, we get our fee out of it at the end. You keep everything else. There are many shady law firms out there that seek to exploit dog bite victims for their money. Our results and client testimonials speak for themselves on our honesty, transparency, and dedication.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims in Athens
You only have two years to file a claim for dog bites in Athens. Two years is plenty of time to get started on your claim, but don’t wait too long. Evidence can deteriorate rapidly, and you give the defense and the insurance company ample amount of time to prepare to challenge your claim.
The best thing you can do while you focus on your recovery is to get help from one of our Athens dog bite attorneys. Don’t procrastinate and think you have all the time in the world. Plenty of people have missed the deadline to file and end up losing their settlement.
Talk to an Athens Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
You need someone who understands your case and can get you the best possible outcome. Let the Athens dog bite lawyers at John Foy & Associates give you a free consultation to explore your legal options. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to your right to schedule an appointment today.