Dog bites sound minor, but often they are not. Small bites can sprout infections, and a severe dog attack can alter your life forever. About 27,000 people nationwide undergo reconstructive surgery because of dog bites each year. And unfortunately, many bite victims are young children or adults whose injuries will affect their work and earnings.
If you have been the victim of an attack or a family member has suffered a personal injury lawyer in Duluth, Georgia, you should talk to our lawyers as quickly as possible. At John Foy & Associates, we have a long history of successfully helping dog bite accident victims.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Duluth?
After any injury, get emergency medical care if you need it. If you do not need to rush to the emergency room, then stay at the scene and try to gather evidence about the dog and its owner. If a dog bites you, collect this information right away:
- Step 1: The name and address of the dog’s owner
- Step 2: The dog’s history of shots
- Step 3: Whether the dog has bitten people before
Don’t be surprised if the dog’s owner doesn’t want to give you this information. Or you may have been bitten by a dog wandering around on its own. This does not mean you don’t have a claim. Don’t give up hope!
At John Foy & Associates, the first thing we will do is send an investigator to look for answers. We can go to where the attack happened and speak to those who may know the dog or its owner. We also search public records to see if the dog has a history of bites.
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Where do I Report an Animal Attack in Duluth?
Dog bites in the City of Duluth must be reported to the following agencies to generate evidence reports that can be used for your case, and to protect the public from dangerous animals:
- The Duluth Police Department. Call the police right away so they can make an incident report. You can call the non-emergency number if there is no urgent medical situation, and the police report will help you prove your claim.
- Gwinnett County Animal Welfare. Animal Welfare handles all animal attack reports. They can send a Duluth Animal Control officer to capture the dog if needed, and their records will help show whether there have been reports of violence by this dog in the past.
You can still file a claim even if you did not report the attack. Reporting it simply creates a record that can help improve your case. If you have already reported the attack, try to get the reports before calling us. We can give you a better estimate of your chances with these at the start.
What Will Happen to the Dog If I Report It?
It’s natural to worry that a dog will be punished or put down because it bit you, but most of the time that won’t happen. Georgia has a “one free bite” rule, which means that most dogs don’t suffer any consequences if this is the first time they’ve bitten anyone. However, dogs that have bitten more than one person and dogs from certain breeds that are deemed aggressive by law are considered exceptions.
The state has a responsibility to protect the public from dangerous animals, whether it’s a wild animal like a bear or a domesticated dog. Do not feel guilty if the state decides that the animal must be put down. That is a failure of the owner, not you.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries If I’m Bitten?
Owners are legally responsible if their dogs bite people. Dog owners in Georgia must keep their canines under control. That might mean using a leash, using a muzzle, keeping it in a crate while visitors are around, or watching it carefully off-leash.
If a dog attacks a victim, it means the owner has failed to keep the dog under control, and the owner is responsible for any damages that occur. A dog’s owner may try to make excuses or blame you for what happened, but legally the owner is responsible.
There are rare exceptions to owner liability in dog bite cases. The most common of these is if you were in the middle of a crime like trespassing when you got bit. Still, it does not hurt to have a consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Duluth just to confirm.
How Much Money Can I Get in a Dog Bite Case in Duluth?
The Duluth local courts use Georgia law to decide how much money you are entitled to. The money you receive will depend on your situation, but in general, you are entitled to recover ALL your costs and damages related to the bite. This might include:
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy or other types of rehabilitation
- Mental health treatment
- Lost wages
In some cases, the courts award additional compensation for pain and suffering or serious life-changing incidents like a permanent disability. We know that money can never reverse the traumatic effects of an animal attack, but it can help you pay for the treatment you need to recover as completely as possible.
What If My Friend’s Dog Bit Me?
You should still seek medical treatment, report the bite, and get whatever information you can about the dog. We understand that you may be reluctant to file a report when the dog belongs to a friend or relative. But we have seen the huge difference it can make to get the money you need to pay for your bite treatment.
Remember that you are not accusing your friend of anything—you are just making a claim with their homeowners’ insurance policy. This means your friend will be relieved to learn that he or she will not have to pay out of pocket for your treatment.
What If a Dog Bit Me While I Was Working on Someone’s Property?
Workers have the same rights as anyone else. Property owners are required by law to make their property safe for people who work there. That means that dogs must be kept under control. You should report the bite and you can file a claim. In some cases, you may even be able to make a workers’ compensation claim that could lead to a speedier financial recovery.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
It’s very unlikely you’ll have to go to court in a dog bite case. Most dog owners carry insurance that covers dog bite attacks. This can be renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and even specialty insurance for dogs.
In fact, Georgia requires owners of aggressive dog breeds to carry special insurance in case of dog bites. This law has been around since 2014 and could protect you if you’re attacked by an aggressive breed.
Instead of going to court, the insurer will pay for your claim instead. However, if the insurer refuses to pay fair compensation then we have the option of taking the matter to court. The choice of whether this is best for your circumstances is up to you.
How Much Will a Duluth Dog Bite Lawyer Cost Me?
A good dog bite attorney in Duluth shouldn’t cost you anything up-front. At John Foy & Associates, our policy is that you don’t pay a dime unless we win you money. We take the financial risk of handling your case, so you can get the legal help you need right away.
What happens if you win? In the agreement, there will be a part that explains how we’re paid. It is a percentage of your total winnings. That percentage depends on how complex and difficult your case will be to win.
Talk to a Duluth Dog Bite Attorney for Free
John Foy & Associates is one of the few law firms with a solid track record of winning dog bite cases. Sit down with us for a free consultation and we’ll talk about your situation and tell you whether you have a case. Call our office or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.