Getting bitten by a dog can mean painful injuries at the least and life-threatening conditions and trauma, and even death. But, with the help of an experienced Hampton dog bite attorney, you can file a claim to recover financial compensation at the dog owner’s expense.
You shouldn’t have to cover the expenses of a bite you didn’t cause. As long as you weren’t at fault for your dog bite, you can receive a settlement for your damages. John Foy & Associates has the experience and resources to help you build a strong insurance claim.
Two Things You Need to Prove in a Hampton Dog Bite Case
In Georgia, dog bite injuries are legally the same as other personal injuries. The person or party who causes an injury accident is responsible for all damages. Therefore, the dog’s owner is almost always at fault when their dog bites a person.
To file a claim with the owner’s insurance for damages, you and your dog bite attorney in Hampton will need to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in the attack and the dog caused the injuries and damages you are claiming.
The dog owner must have been negligent in some way that led to the bite. Simply showing that the dog is classified as vicious or dangerous, or has a history of vicious behavior, is usually enough to prove negligence.
According to Henry County Animal Control Ordinances, there are differences between “dangerous” and “vicious” dogs. If a dog bites and causes serious damage, it is considered vicious. A dog only gets deemed dangerous if it has:
- Substantially punctured someone’s skin with their teeth in more severity than a scratch or nip
- Aggressively attacked someone in a way that they could reasonably believe the dog was a threat to serious injury of any person
- Killed another pet animal off the owner’s property, excluding kills through training, hunting, or other types of work
The owner of the vicious or dangerous dog that attacked you will always be responsible for your damages. It is their responsibility to ensure that their pet doesn’t directly cause any harm to another person or living thing. Failure to do so is reckless and negligent, especially if they know their pet is a danger to others.
You must also show that you did not provoke the dog to bite you. Dog owners often try to claim that the dog was provoked, even if they were ultimately negligent. This is why you will need to gather proof of the owner’s negligence for your claim and contact a lawyer if you need help.
Proving Injuries and Damages
You can begin compiling evidence of your injuries and damages soon after the dog bite occurs. Some ways you can do this include:
- Taking pictures of your dog bite injuries, the dog, and the injury scene
- Keeping track of all expenses related to your injuries, including medical bills and pay stubs
- Filing a bite report the Henry County Animal Care and Control
- Seeing your doctor or going to the emergency room for treatment
You should also wash the bite injuries with soap and water until you can get professional medical care. Then, as soon as possible, get treatment for your injuries.
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What Happens to a Dog After Biting Someone in Hampton
After you report your dog bite to Animal Control, they will quarantine the dog for ten days to see if it shows signs of rabies. In some situations, the owner may also have to surrender their dog to get euthanized. This will only be if the dog already has a dangerous or vicious classification or if a dog control officer determines the dog is vicious after investigation.
If the dog owner has violated laws or county ordinances, they can face imprisonment of up to ten years and fines of up to $10,000. Owners are also responsible for all damages caused by the dog.
In Henry County, dog owners must carry $100,000 in liability insurance, twice the amount required by Georgia state law. As a dog bite victim, you would file your injury claim with the owner’s insurance company for these damages.
What Do I Do If I Get Bit By a Stray Dog?
You might worry the dog is stray if you can’t find the owner after the attack. While this is possible, note that many negligent dog owners let their dogs roam freely. So, be sure to investigate before assuming you’re dealing with a stray.
Both Animal Control and our lawyers can help find out more about the dog and whether it has a history. Chances are, neighbors or other Hampton citizens have seen the dog before. They might even know the owner. The more information you can find out, the better the chance of you having a valid claim.
If you can’t find the dog owner, records from local shelters may help find who the dog once belonged to. If the dog was abandoned and the previous owner gets identified, they may end up sharing some liability in the dog bite.
Common Damages in a Dog Bite Injury Claim
Damages you can recover compensation for after a dog bite injury include:
- Doctor visits, hospital stays, tests, surgeries, and other sources of medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages from missed work time
- Psychological treatment
- Pain and suffering
Keep track of all monetary losses you experience, such as medical bills and lost wages, as proof of your damages. You may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering like mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, or PTSD.
These damages can be worth a lot, but they are also harder to prove. Our Hampton dog bite lawyers can help you gather the evidence needed to demonstrate all damages.
How Much Are Dog Bite Settlements Worth?
There’s no accurate way to tell how much your dog bite settlement will be worth without first examining several factors:
- The severity of your bite
- Whether or not the dog has had a history of aggression or violence
- How devastating your damages are
- How much of an impact your injuries have had on your life
A rough general estimate for the average dog bite settlement will typically end up around $15,000 or more. Keep in mind, this is just a rough estimate, and your dog bite case could be worth more or less depending on the factors listed above. Rest assured, our Hampton dog bite attorneys will always pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible for your case.
Should I Accept the First Settlement Offer?
When you file a claim for your dog bite, the dog owner’s insurance company may contact you quickly with a fast settlement offer. While it may seem tempting to accept it, don’t do it until you contact one of our dog bite lawyers first. Insurance companies are never on your side, and they just want you to settle fast for less than what you truly deserve.
All insurance companies have one goal in mind, to protect their bottom line. Therefore, they have no incentive to give you the proper amount of financial compensation you need unless you fight for it. Fighting alone against an insurance company is extremely difficult, especially if you don’t have any legal experience. That’s why you should always retain a lawyer to help you.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Hampton, GA
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 9-3-33 only gives you two years to file a claim for your dog bite in Hampton. Even though two years may seem like a lot of time, don’t get too comfortable. Plenty of people have missed their opportunity to get a settlement because they let time pass them by.
Don’t delay in getting started building a strong case for your claim. The more evidence you have, the better your chances are to receive a fair settlement. Our lawyers will help you file at the right time and ensure that you have the best odds of getting appropriately compensated.
Talk to a Hampton Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Dog bites are scary affairs, but you don’t have to suffer through the aftermath alone. At John Foy & Associates, our Hampton dog bite lawyers have worked with animal attack victims for over 20 years.
We know what it takes to build successful claims on these complicated cases. If we can’t win compensation for your dog bite case, you owe us nothing. Contact us today to get your free consultation.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form