Every year, millions of people are bitten by dogs, and some of those bites cause serious, permanent injuries. Bites that seem minor at first can get infected or leave you at risk for rabies. Moderately serious bites may need stitches, and about 27,000 people a year need reconstructive surgery because of a dog bite.
Tragically, the victims are often young children or healthy adults whose injuries make it difficult to return to their jobs. If you or one of your family members is bitten by a dog, talk to a dog bite attorney in Douglasville as soon as possible. Our Douglasville dog bite attorneys offer a free consultation to explain your rights and your options.
If a Dog Bites Me in Douglasville, What Should I Do?
It’s important to get medical attention right away. However, if your injuries aren’t so severe that you need emergency medical care, it’s a good idea to stay at the scene and try to collect some information. If you can, find out these things:
- The dog owner’s name and address
- The dog’s history of shots, especially rabies shots
- Whether the dog has bitten or attacked people before
Getting this information may not be easy. The dog may be roaming around by itself, or the owner may be unwilling to answer your questions. Don’t worry. The investigative team at John Foy & Associates is trained to get to the bottom of dog bite incidents.
Our investigators will search the neighborhood, talk to people who may know the dog, and check public records to see if the dog has bitten anyone before. With this information, we will build a strong case to help you get the compensation you deserve after your attack.
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What’s the Procedure for Reporting a Dog Bite in Douglasville?
The City of Douglasville has two agencies involved in dog bites, and you should report your bite to both of them:
- The Douglasville Police Department. The police will come to the scene of the attack and write up an incident report that will be important evidence to support your claim.
- Douglas County Animal Control. The Animal Control agency makes a report of any animal attack. They may be able to help you find and identify the dog that bit you, and their records will show whether the dog has bitten anyone in the past.
Both of these agencies will create a report of the incident. This is valuable evidence that we will need to build a solid case when we talk to the owner’s insurer or the courts.
Will the Dog Be Put Down If I Report the Bite?
Dogs aren’t usually put down after they bite someone. Georgia has a law known as the “one free bite” rule, which says that a dog will ordinarily not suffer any consequences the first time it bites someone. However, there are exceptions for dogs that are repeat offenders or who are considered “aggressive” breeds.
Dog owners are responsible for training and controlling their animals. If a dog becomes a repeat offender, that fault isn’t on you. It’s on the owner. That said, never tease or encourage a dog to attack you. This will harm your case and it could lead to unnecessary killing. It could even deny you compensation.
Who Is Liable If a Dog Bites Me in Douglasville?
In Georgia, state law says it is always the dog’s owner. Georgia dog owners have a legal duty to train and control their canines. That may mean that the dog is on a leash while outdoors, kept in a crate when visitors are at the dog’s home, or closely supervised when off-leash at a dog park or in the countryside.
When a dog bites someone, it means the owner neglected his or her duty to control it, and the owner must pay for the consequences. The dog’s owner may try to blame you, but remember, the owner is still liable.
The owner would have to prove that you deliberately provoked the attack or negligently ignored all warning signs that the dog was going to attack. These incidents are very rare, so the odds are highly in your favor should you pursue a dog bite claim in Douglasville.
How Else Could I Be Liable for My Dog Bite Incident?
Another way you can be liable in a dog bite case is if you were trespassing on someone else’s property or some similar crime like burglary. In this case, the owner has no duty of care toward you and you may not be able to recover damages.
However, it’s not always clear-cut either. A dog owner cannot deliberately tell their dog to attack an intruder if the intruder is not a threat. Thus, it is still worth it to speak with a dog bite attorney in Douglasville to learn your options.
What Financial Recovery Can I Get in a Dog Bite Case in Douglasville?
Local courts in Douglasville and throughout the state follow Georgia law and allow bite victims to recover all of their costs and damages. In most dog bite cases, this includes:
- Doctor and hospital bills and other medical expenses
- Physical and rehabilitative therapy
- Treatment for emotional trauma and other psychological conditions
- Lost wages, if the bite caused you to miss work
The court may also award large amounts of money for disabilities, pain and suffering, or other serious and long-term losses. Money can never restore your sense of health and well-being, but it can give you the resources to support your family and get the treatment you need to heal as completely as possible.
What if the Dog’s Owner Is My Friend or Relative?
Reporting a dog bite is the first step toward getting the money you need to deal with your injuries. For this reason, you should always report a bite, even if the dog’s owner is someone you’re close to.
If you are worried about upsetting your friend or getting someone in trouble, remember that you are not attacking them, you are making a claim with their insurance company, usually their homeowner’s policy. Having your financial needs taken care of will remove a huge burden for you, and your friend does not have to pay out of pocket for your care.
What If I Was Working on the Dog Owner’s Property When I Was Bitten?
Hired workers are entitled to recover 100 percent of their costs and damages, just like everyone else. Georgia homeowners are required by law to keep their property safe for people who work there, and that includes taking steps to crate or otherwise control their dogs. You may file a dog bite claim, or you may be able to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Will I Need to Go to Court for My Dog Bite Injury?
Likely not, assuming the owner of the dog has insurance that covers dog bites. Homeowner’s insurance and rental insurance will usually handle this kind of attack. The owner may also have supplemental insurance for aggressive dog breeds, a new requirement in Georgia.
If there is no insurance, or if the insurers fail to make an adequate offer of compensation, we will go over the possibility of going to court for your injury. The choice is always yours whether you wish to proceed.
What Does a Douglasville Dog Bite Lawyer Cost?
Your lawyer shouldn’t cost anything up-front. At John Foy & Associates, we offer a free consultation, but we don’t stop there. We won’t charge you a cent unless we are able to get you money. We think this is the best way to give you the legal help you need, without forcing you to take on financial risk.
If you do win your case, we will take a percentage of your total winnings. This percentage is given up front when you’re presented with a contract to start work with us. All dog bite lawyers in Douglasville will do their best to earn you more compensation than you can get on your own plus their fee.
Speak to a Douglasville Dog Bite Attorney for Free
At John Foy & Associates, our lawyers know how to help people who have been injured by a dog. For the past 20 years, we have dedicated our law practice solely to helping victims of dog bites and other attacks and accidents. From our origins as a small local law office, we have become one of the state’s largest and best respected law firms.
Many lawyers say they handle dog bite cases, but John Foy & Associates is one of the few that has experience winning them. Set up a free consultation and we’ll sit down with you to discuss the case and your options. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form