There’s a reason dogs are known as “man’s best friend”: many people love them and consider them part of the family. But what if a dog is aggressive or poorly trained, and it leads to a dog bite? The truth is, dog owners in Austell are responsible for the actions of their dogs – and bites can be serious, even life-threatening.
The Austell dog bite lawyers at John Foy & Associates are very familiar with dog bite cases, and we’re here to help victims. Whether you know the owner of the dog that bit you or not, you have the right to recover for what you’ve suffered. Call us today at (404) 400-4000, or complete the form to the right to get started.
Dog Bites Are Serious
A dog bite victim can suffer from extreme injuries that affect their ability to work and live as they did before. The bite can be as “minor” as puncturing the skin, severe enough to need reconstructive surgery, or anywhere in between.
In addition, dog bites can lead to emotional trauma and life-long fears associated with dogs. Either way, if a dog bit you or a relative, an Austell dog bite attorney can help you.
Get the strong arm
What Are My Rights After a Dog Attack?
Animal owners are always held accountable for what their pets do. Dog owners are required by law to keep control of their dogs – which could mean keeping them on a leash when outside unfenced, monitoring them closely when they’re off of a leash, and crating the dog when people visit their home.
If a dog attacks and bites you, the dog owner fails to uphold their legal duty to protect you from aggressive behavior. As a result, they are liable and must pay for the attack’s consequences.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bites Me?
If you don’t need emergency medical services, try to do the following:
- Call Animal Control and the police to report the dog bite incident
- Try to write down a description of the dog that bit you or take photos
- Speak to the dog owner and exchange information
- See a doctor for your injuries and retain all documentation
Afterward, you should seek legal assistance immediately. Even though you can file a claim on your own, doing so would put you at a disadvantage compared to the legal strength and resources an insurance company has.
So, while you spend time recovering and healing from your wounds, let our dog bite attorneys in Austell help you get the settlement and closure you need.
Damages You Can Collect After a Dog Bite in Georgia
As a dog bite victim, you are allowed by Georgia law to file a claim for financial recovery for all your costs resulting from the dog bite. This includes costs like:
- Medical treatment for your wounds
- Prescription medications
- Surgery costs
- Ongoing, long-term treatment like physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
It’s often hard for dog owners to admit or believe their dog could bite someone, especially if it’s the first time they’ve noticed aggressive behavior. As a result, they could downplay the severity of your injury, even if they aren’t doing it maliciously.
The dog owner may even put some of the blame on you for “provoking” the dog. However, you should remember your rights and never blame yourself. If the dog bit you, their owner is responsible for it.
Can I Sue Someone If I Was Bitten By a Dog in Austell?
To sue a dog owner in Austell, you need to be able to demonstrate the dog owner showed negligence. There are two main ways you can prove negligence.
The Dog Owner Knew Their Dog Was Dangerous
The City of Austell follows Georgia’s “one free bite” rule regarding dog bites. This means most dogs are allowed one bite before the dog’s owner is held legally responsible. However, if the dog has already bitten someone, the dog owner then has reason to know the dog could bite and will be held responsible.
This rule applies to more than just a bite, though, and includes other aggressive behaviors. For example, if the owner knew their dog had previously lunged, nipped, or chased someone, they should have already known the dog was prone to bite too. This alone could count as negligence.
The Dog Owner Failed to Control or Contain Their Dog
The State of Georgia also holds dog owners responsible when they show negligence or don’t use reasonable care in controlling their dogs. This includes letting their dogs run free in areas where they should have been leashed, the dog frequently escaping from its fence or any situation where the owner failed to keep the dog contained without supervision.
If any of these resulted in a bite, it can count as negligence. Our Austell dog bite lawyers can investigate liability in your case and determine what counts as negligence.
What If I Can’t Find the Dog’s Owner?
Sometimes a dog bite happens without an owner present, leaving the victim to figure out where to turn. If this happens to you, don’t panic. Most of the time, it’s possible to figure out who the dog belongs to. First and foremost, get yourself medical treatment if you need it. Then, contact the local police to explain what happened and what the dog looks like.
Speaking with neighborhood residents where the bite occurred can help, as they might recognize the dog. Also, the owner could return to the location at a later date, even if they weren’t present when the attack happened. Your dog bite lawyer in Austell can also help by speaking with people who live near where the bite happened and doing their own investigation.
When Is the Dog Owner Not at Fault?
Even though the law empowers you greatly as a dog bite victim, there are instances where the dog owner can be innocent of any wrongdoing:
- If you were trespassing on their property.
- If you intentionally provoked their dog into biting you.
- If the dog was defending its owner or itself from you.
The insurance company will likely try to use one of these three defenses to prevent you from filing a claim or getting the proper amount of compensation you deserve. Our lawyers will help you fight back against their tactics by supporting your case and representing your best interests throughout the whole process.
What If My Child Was Bit By a Dog?
As stated in the Insurance Information Institute’s spotlight on dog bite liability, a great majority of dog bite victims are children. Small children are often easy targets for aggressive dogs to bite and severely injure, especially because their face, neck, and limbs are easily accessible by the dog.
If a dog bites your child, you absolutely can get compensation. Dog bites on children often result in severe injuries and, in some instances, death. Don’t let the dog owner go unpunished for the negligent actions that lead to your child’s dog bite injury.
Statute of Limitations in Georgia for Dog Bites
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 9-3-33, after the dog bite occurs, you have two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit. This does not include time spent seeking a dog bite attorney or letting the insurance company know about your claim.
Keep in mind that a lot of time and work must go into a dog bite case. So, the sooner you can contact a good lawyer to help you, the better.
Talk to an Austell Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Dog bites can be scary, painful, and physically and emotionally damaging. At John Foy & Associates, we’ve worked with personal injury victims like this for over two decades. We’re here to help you pursue the money you deserve to recover from this challenging situation.
For a free consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Austell today, call us at (404) 400-4000, or fill out the form to the right.