Injuries from dog bites can be very serious and require many months of recovery. While you cannot technically hold the dog responsible, an experienced law firm can help you recover financially from the owner of the animal.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation. An Atlanta dog bite attorney at John Foy & Associates can help you file a claim against the dog owner responsible for your injuries. If your claim gets denied, your case can be taken to court to fight for damages. Our team of compassionate personal injury lawyers in Atlanta at John Foy and Associates can provide the guidance and advocacy you need for your dog bite claim.
What to Do Immediately After Being Bitten by a Dog
If a dog bites or attacks you, gather as much information as quickly as possible. You should also be sure to get the medical help you need immediately. Take photos of the dog and your injuries, talk to any witnesses and get their names.
You will then want to call 911 and have the police make an official report. Additionally, you should report the attack to Fulton County Animal Services.
The most crucial piece of information is the name and address of the dog owner. Any compensation you receive should come from the dog owner’s homeowners insurance. If a stray or loose dog has attacked you and you can’t identify the owner, your attorney can hire investigators to return to the scene and try to find the owner.
Who to Report Your Dog Bite to in the State of Georgia
Immediately after the bite, contact the local police to file a report. Call emergency services if medical care is needed. The police may also capture the dog and identify the owner. As a precaution, you should call Animal Control.
The next individuals who you should be contacting are personal injury lawyers. A personal injury lawyer can help you collect the financial compensation you will need to recover from your wounds. Don’t neglect your medical care. Remember that even non-scarring dog bites can lead to serious medical problems, such as rabies and tetanus.
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Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in Georgia?
In many cases, you will have the option to sue the owner of the dog for damages after an attack. However, there are certain conditions that must be met in order for you to pursue a lawsuit.
The law requires the owner to be aware of the dog’s propensity to attack or be aggressive. Atlanta dog bite lawyers will hire investigators to find out if Animal Control has been called previously for this particular dog. For a case to ensue, your attorney will need to prove that the dog owner was aware of the fact that their pet is aggressive.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?
The dog owner may not agree to file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company and instead make the incident out to be your fault to attempt to avoid paying your claim. A dog bite lawyer can protect your rights by helping you with your claim, gathering strong evidence that the other side can’t ignore, and ensuring you account for all the damages to which you’re entitled.
A dog bite attorney can also investigate if the dog has bitten anyone else. State law says that unless the dog is a vicious breed, the animal is allowed “one bite” before it is considered dangerous.
Deadlines for Filing a Dog Bite Injury Claim in Atlanta
According to the statute of limitations, as per Georgia Code § 9-3-33, you have two years from the date of your injuries to file a dog bite claim. This clock starts to run whether you are the victim or are filing on behalf of the victim, such as your child or a deceased loved one.
If you do not file your claim by this deadline, the courts have the right to deny your case, and you will be unable to receive compensation. A dog bite attorney can ensure you file on time and that your claim is comprehensive enough to not get kicked back to you, and make you miss your time to file.
Liable Parties in a Dog Bite Lawsuit
It can be very difficult to identify an owner of a stray or loose dog, especially if you have been bitten while at a public place or apartment complex. In most dog bite cases, the owner does not want to take responsibility for the victim’s damages. However, the dog’s owner is legally responsible for the injuries their animal causes.
With an experienced law firm on your side, the main goal is to have your rights protected and be properly compensated. Your lawyer will also want to ensure the dog is not able to injure another person. The fate of the dog after the bite is dependent on many things. They will look at whether the dog has bitten someone in the past, and if the animal is considered a dangerous breed.
Georgia Modified Comparative Negligence in Dog Bite Lawsuits
Situations where you possibly entered your neighbor’s yard despite the warning signs, or if you put your hand through the fence to pet the dog, could mean the owner has a legal defense to your dog bite lawsuit. You may share a portion of the blame if you unnecessarily put yourself in a dangerous position. Your lawyer can help you prepare to counter those arguments.
If the victim of the dog bite shares part of the blame for the accident, along with the owner of the dog in question, they may still be eligible for compensation. The ability to recover compensation when both parties share a level of fault is covered under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law.
As long as you are less than 50% responsible for the accident, you can recover compensation. However, the amount you can recover will be directly reduced by the percentage of fault that you hold. For example, if you are determined to have been 30% at fault for the attack, you will only be eligible to recover 70% of your total damages.
If you shared no fault in the matter, your lawyer will help you collect the necessary evidence to prove negligence of the dog’s owner in your pursuit of maximum compensation.
Compensation You Could Collect From a Dog Bite Claim
A dog bite case is a personal injury claim that seeks to recover money for your reasonable and necessary damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damages
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
Often young children are most damaged by the physical scarring and the psychological aftermaths of being attacked by an uncontrollable animal. An Atlanta dog bite lawyer can help you calculate your economic and non-economic damages and use this information in settlement negotiations.
Proving the Dog Had Aggressive Tendencies
To further strengthen your case, your dog bite injury lawyer will help you prove aggressive or even vicious tendencies that the dog may have had. A dog can be shown to have presented an unreasonable risk when there is a history of:
- Threatening behavior
- Attacks on other animals, or against you, others, and even the dog’s own family
The fact that an owner knew, or should have known, their dog was dangerous or vicious is sometimes proven through public information, such as local animal control records. Situations where the owner carelessly handled the dog or went around local law and allowed it off-leash or to escape a yard due to a defective fence are considered negligence.
What to Do If the Dog’s Owner Wants to Talk to You About Your Injuries
If the dog owner is at the scene of the attack, keep the conversation as short and cordial as possible. Ask if they are the dog owner and get their homeowner’s insurance information. Do not start a fight, and do not discuss your injuries with them.
Like other personal injury cases, it’s common for the other party to want to handle things personally and avoid calling the police or insurance companies. These are often the cases that develop into something more serious. Seek medical treatment immediately and report the incident to the police and Animal Control.
If a friend or neighbor’s dog bites you, the owner is still liable for the bite. No matter how socially awkward the situation may be, it is essential to follow the proper protocol. They may want to handle the matter privately without contacting authorities or insurers. However, that’s the worst thing to do. If in doubt, contact a dog bite lawyer, and they’ll walk you through the next steps.
What If You’re Not Sure Who Owns the Dog that Attacked You?
The number-one problem in dog bite claims is determining the identity of the dog owner. It can be very challenging to identify an owner of a stray or loose dog, especially if you have been bitten while at a public place or apartment complex. Your dog bite lawyer in Atlanta will do further investigation to determine who was the legal dog owner.
Your legal team can also talk to the neighbors to see if anyone knows the particular dog and then call Animal Control to see if there’s been any previous report.
What to Do If You Were Bitten While Working in Someone’s Home
You may have a personal injury claim if you are bitten while working at someone’s home. Any dog owner has a duty to control their dog and create a safe environment, especially for visitors and workers.
Friendly dogs can sometimes get overly affectionate and hurt someone. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file a third-party claim against the dog’s owner. This situation is no different from getting into a car accident while you are working. Personal injury lawyers can help you with both claims.
What to Do If Your Child Was Attacked by a Dog
If your child was the victim of a dog bite injury, you have the right to get justice on their behalf. Your dog bite lawyer will still need to gather evidence against the dog owner to support the claim.
Atlanta dog bite lawyers can help you prepare for a comparative negligence defense. This defense may be necessary if the pet owner claims your child instigated the attack. You should be able to combat this defense and prove your child’s claim for damages.
Dog Bite Lawyers in Atlanta Can Help You Get Justice
If you suffered a dog bite injury, you need legal representation to help you collect compensation. It costs nothing to schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta dog bite lawyer at John Foy & Associates. We can discuss your case, and you can learn how we can help.
Representing victims for over 20 years, our firm has the experience, skills, and resources necessary to help you pursue the monetary damages you deserve. We do not require any fees unless you win compensation for your case. Contact us today to get started.