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.
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 you or a relative was bitten by a dog, an Austell dog bite lawyer can help you.
The law office of John Foy & Associates is 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 recovery for what you’ve suffered. We’d like to offer you a FREE consultation as soon as possible to discuss your dog bite situation and help you decide what to do next. Call us today at 404-400-4000, or complete the form to the right to get started.
What Are My Rights After a Dog Attack?
Dog owners are always legally responsible for what their pets do. Under Georgia law, dog owners are required 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 are visiting their home.
If a dog attacks and bites you, the dog owner is failing to uphold their legal duty to protect you from aggressive behavior. As a result, they are liable and must pay for the attack consequences.
As a victim, this means you can the right to financial recovery for all of 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 damages—for example; if you developed a phobia or PTSD because of the dog attack (this applies as long as there was a physical injury, as well)
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) and 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 is one of two ways this can be shown:
The dog owner knew the dog was dangerous or aggressive before the bite occurred.
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. 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 (in other words, showed signs of aggression), they should have already known the dog was prone to bite too. This alone could count as negligence.
2. The dog owner failed to properly contain the dog.
The State of Georgia also hold dog owners responsible when they show negligence or don’t use reasonable care in controlling their dog. This includes letting their dogs run free in areas where it 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.
When you work with a dog bite attorney, they’ll work to gather substantial evidence like this to build a strong case for you.
Note: 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.
What If I Can’t Find the 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 residents of the neighborhood 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 lawyer can also help by speaking with people who live near where the bite happened and doing their own investigation.
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 decade. We’re here to help you pursue the money you deserve to recover from this tough situation. For a FREE consultation today, call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right.