Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and while dog bites can be “just a nip” that doesn’t break the skin, they can also cause severe injuries. About 27,000 people a year suffer dog bites so seriously that they need reconstructive surgery.
Many of these victims are young children, while others are adults who have trouble returning to work. If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog you must talk to a dog bite lawyer in Decatur, Georgia right away for advice.
If I’ve Been Bitten By a Dog in Decatur, What Should I Do?
First and foremost, get medical attention. In serious dog attack cases, that may mean calling 911. If you don’t need emergency medical care at the scene, try to get some information about the dog and its owner.
We recommend that you try to find out:
- The name of the dog owner and/or where the owner lives
- The dog’s immunization history
- Whether the dog has a history of biting people
It’s common for dog owners to refuse to answer questions after the dog has bitten someone, or the dog may be just roaming around on its own. If you can’t get any information, don’t worry. We have an investigative team that can track down this information.
to find a John Foy office near you
Should I Report a Dog Bite in Decatur?
If you are bitten by a dog in the City of Decatur, you should report the bite to two local agencies to create reports that will be used in your case:
- The Decatur Police Department. The police will come to the place where you were bitten and prepare a report. The report is a critical piece of evidence that will help you make your claim.
- Animal Control. Animal Control prepares its own reports of all animal attacks. They may be able to help find or identify the dog, and their records will show whether the dog has a history of violence.
This evidence, among others, is used by our team to make a claim with insurers. They are proof that an attack happened and gives the details of the incident. We strongly suggest making these reports before contacting a dog bite attorney in Decatur.
Decatur Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 404-400-4000
Will the Dog Be Put Down if I Report the Attack?
Many people worry about what will happen to the dog that attacked them, but most dogs are not put down after biting someone. In Georgia, dogs usually have “one free bite,” meaning that they won’t be punished if it’s the first time they’ve bitten someone.
However, if a dog has a history of biting people, or if it’s from what is considered an “aggressive” breed, there may be consequences for the animal.
A dog bite can kill someone, whether through infection or trauma. Children die each year because of untrained dogs attacking them. Owners are responsible for training and controlling their animals. Do not feel guilty if the state decides to take the ultimate step.
Who Is Legally Responsible for Dog Bites?
The dog’s owner is always liable for dog bite injuries. Georgia law requires owners to train their dogs and keep them under control. That might mean keeping a dog on a leash, crating it when visitors are around, or supervising it off-leash.
When a dog attacks someone, the owner has failed to keep the dog under control, and the owner is legally responsible for the consequences. Dog owners might try to blame you or make an excuse, but they are still liable and must face the consequences.
There is one major exception. If you were committing a crime on someone else’s property and you were attacked by their dog, the owner may not be liable in this case. Speak with a Decatur dog accident lawyer for advice if you believe this situation may apply.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Decatur, call 404-400-4000
What Kind of Financial Recovery Can I Get in a Dog Bite Case?
Decatur’s local courts follow Georgia state law, which allows you to recover all your costs and damages from the dog’s owners. This might include:
- Doctor, hospital and prescription drug costs
- The cost of physical therapy or rehabilitation
- The expenses of psychological treatment
- Lost pay if the bite caused you to miss work
If your bite was severe, you may also receive significant amounts of money for pain, suffering or disabilities. Of course, money can’t change what happened, but it can help you move forward without a heavy burden of financial stress.
What If I Was Bitten By My Friend’s Dog?
Always report a dog bite, even if the dog belongs to a friend or relative. We have assisted many dog bite victims and we know that you don’t want to get friends and family members in trouble or cause problems with loved ones.
We know how life-changing it can be to have someone else pay for the cost of the injury. Remember that your claim is not against your friend personally; it will be handled by their insurance company, usually a homeowners policy. Your friend will not have to pay your costs.
Aggressive Dog Insurance
Ever since 2014, Georgia has a law that requires owners of certain dog breeds to carry extra insurance against dog bites. As of this writing, there needs to be a minimum $50,000 policy. This protects Georgians financially against the most aggressive breeds. If you’re attacked by one, ask about this insurance.
What If a Dog Bit Me While I Was Working on Someone’s Property?
Your rights are the same as anyone else’s. Under Georgia law, homeowners must provide hired workers with a safe working environment. If someone is working on the property, dogs should be kept in a crate or under control. You may be able to file a workers compensation claim or you may file a regular dog bite claim.
What Does a Decatur Dog Bite Attorney Cost?
Your lawyer won’t cost you a cent out of pocket. At John Foy & Associates, you don’t pay anything unless we get you money. We take on the risk of winning your claim so you can get the legal help you need.
If you do win your case, we will take out a percentage of your total winnings. This percentage is in the contract we present to you before starting work, and varies depending on the complexity of your case.
Is a Trial Necessary?
Like most personal injury cases, dog bites rarely go to trial. Most dog owners will have an insurance policy that covers dog bites. Just like a car crash, we will go to the insurer instead to make a claim for compensation.
If an insurer refuses to be reasonable, then we may recommend to go to trial. Going to trial could net you more money, but it is a much longer process and there is risk you could lose. The choice is yours, but we will advise you on what we think is best for your situation.
Speak to a Dog Bite Attorney in Decatur for Free
John Foy & Associates has been helping victims of dog bites and other tragic events for more than 20 years. We started as a small law office dedicated to representing accident victims, and we have never lost that focus – even as we have grown into one of the largest and most well respected law firms in Georgia.
It’s easy to find a lawyer to handle your dog bite case, but hard to find one with a track record of winning them. Let us give you a free consultation to discuss your case and explain your options. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.