Every year, about 4.7 million people suffer from dog bites in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And Cartersville is no exception. Dog bites can happen at any time – even from dogs who have never shown aggression before – and they can be painful and costly.
Bite victims may find themselves having to get painful rabies shots, infected wounds, long recovery times, or even reconstructive surgery if the bite is serious enough. Children are especially at risk of dog bites, and the consequences can be emotional as well as physical.
If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, whether you know the owner or not, you need a legal professional on your side. It’s time to call a Cartersville personal injury lawyer.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been working with dog bite victims in Georgia for more than two decades. Beginning as just a small law office, we’ve grown to one of the largest and more respected personal injury firms in the state—and we care about justice.
We never side with or back down from insurance companies who often try to reduce their payout to victims. We’re on your side, and we’re ready to fight for the financial recovery you need to cover your medical bills and start moving on.
For a FREE consultation with one of our dog bite lawyers, call us today or complete the form to your right and we’ll get started.
What Are My Rights After a Dog Attack?
Under Georgia law, the owner of the dog that attacked you is always liable for your damages, including your medical costs in getting treated for the bite(s). The owner also has a legal duty to keep the dog properly enclosed or restrained, and make sure they are well-trained, so it doesn’t pose a threat to other people.
When a dog owner fails to exercise this control and their dog bites someone, they must pay the consequences. As a dog bite victim, you have the right to recovery for all your costs and damages that result from the dog attack. Don’t let an owner try to place blame on you or shirk their responsibility. They are still liable for your injuries.
To ensure your rights are upheld after a dog bite or attack, you’ll want to document the situation as much as possible. Do things like:
- Take pictures of your injuries and the place where the bite happened
- Get pictures and note any identifying features of the dog
- Contact the owner of the dog, if you know who it is, immediately
- If you don’t know the owner, ask any witnesses if they know who the dog belongs to
- Get medical treatment right away, especially if your injury is serious. Any serious bites or scratches can mean possible rabies exposure
You’ll also want to report the dog bite to Cartersville police by calling 911 right after the bite happens if your skin has been punctured and you’re bleeding. Police will then notify Bartow County Animal Control of the bite and have an Animal Control officer respond. They will either contact you or meet you at the hospital.
Even if the bite is not serious, you can still get an infection. Wash the area with warm water and soap for ten minutes, then contact your doctor. They may give you antibiotics or recommend a Tetanus shot.
Another crucial step in protecting your rights after a dog bite is calling a dog bite lawyer. It’s easy for owners or their insurance companies to claim you somehow provoked the dog or brought the bite on yourself.
You need legal protection and a professional who can ensure you seek the fullest financial recovery. Contact a Cartersville dog bite lawyer today.
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The Dog Owner Is a Friend/Family Member. What Should I Do?
If the offending dog belongs to a family member or a good friend, we understand being hesitant to report the bite. Many victims are worried reporting the injury will be somehow “telling on” their loved one or even put their beloved dog at risk of being put down.
But reporting a dog attack, and claiming damages, is not meant to damage the relationship between you and the owner. It’s about protecting your rights and making sure you can get compensated for the costs of your injuries.
Plus, the family member or friend shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for your costs themselves. Their insurance company, usually through their homeowner’s policy, will be covering the damages instead. That’s what coverage like this is meant for.
In addition, in most cases the dog will not have to be put down after a dog bite. In Georgia, there’s a “one bite rule” where dogs are not considered dangerous if they’re only bitten once. They are only at risk of potentially getting put down if they have a known history of being vicious.
What If the Dog Was a Stray?
If the dog is a stray, finding out the identity of the owner can be challenging, especially if the bite happened in a public place or complex where many people live. Police and Animal Control will usually help you in looking for the dog’s owner and checking whether a report on the dog already exists.
This is also where your dog bite lawyer is extremely helpful. They will begin investigating the situation and talking to owners to determine whether there’s a legal owner of the dog and how they can be reached. Call a good lawyer today to get started with this process as soon as possible.
Talk to a Cartersville Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Don’t suffer alone after a dog bite. No matter if it’s fairly minor or serious, you’ll have treatment costs and possibly even emotional damages resulting from the attack.
You shouldn’t have to pay for these. At John Foy & Associates, we’re here to help you investigate the situation and make sure insurance pays for what you’ve suffered from the dog bite.
For a FREE consultation to talk about your case and your best options right away, contact us today.