A dog bite in Lithonia is scary, painful, and stressful. One attack can lead to expensive medical bills, extensive treatment or surgeries, and fear around dogs for years after. Thankfully, you have a right to seek compensation for your costs, and a Lithonia dog bite attorney can help.
At John Foy & Associates, our primary goal is simple: getting you the money needed to cover the costs of your dog bite injuries and get better so you can move on from the attack. We have been handling cases like these for over 20 years, and we’re here to help you too.
What to Do if a Child Is Bitten by a Dog in Lithonia
Although anyone can suffer from a dog bite or animal attack, children are the most common dog bite victims. The consequences of a dog bite can be especially hard on children, as they may deal with phobias or emotional trauma from the accident.
Whether your child was attacked or you yourself were bitten, here are some things you should do right away:
If you are able to see the dog’s owner after the attack, get their name and contact information. To seek compensation, you will need to file a claim with the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance.
Also, ask about the dog’s history and whether or not it is up to date on its shots. If the dog has not had its shots, you or your child might need to get a rabies prevention shot or some other preventative treatment. Other ways you can gather evidence include:
- Taking pictures of the scene of the attack, the dog bite injuries, and the dog itself
- Talking to any witnesses and getting their names and contact information
- Asking around if you can’t identify the dog’s owner, as nearby neighbors might be familiar with the dog
The more information you gather after your incident, the easier your lawyer’s job will be when you file your claim. Taking these steps could translate to more compensation.
Report the Dog Bite
After a dog bites or attacks you or your child, you will need to report it to DeKalb County Animal Control Field Services. Tell officers what happened, and they will respond to the accident. If the attack happens after hours, you may be transferred to the 911 line to report the bite.
Animal Control might also be able to look up if the dog has a previous history of biting other people.
See a Doctor
If you don’t need to get emergency medical treatment (which you should do right away if the injuries are serious or life-threatening), you or your child will need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Dog bites can easily become infected and worsen quickly, so time is of the essence after a dog attack.
Plus, seeing a doctor is good for the insurance claim. Insurance companies like to look for ways to deny claims or offer lowball settlements. If you take too long to get medical attention, they might use it as a way to claim you weren’t hurt as badly as you said.
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer
After the bite, you should also reach out to a trusted and experienced dog bite lawyer who serves the Lithonia area. A lawyer can begin investigating the details of the accident, including the dog owner’s liability in your injuries, and help you build a strong case seeking the fullest compensation possible.
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Does Breed Matter in a Dog Bite Case?
No, the breed of the dog does not matter in your personal injury claim. The law views each breed the same and only takes into account the owner’s negligence.
However, it does matter if the owner was aware that the dog was vicious. While aggressiveness does not necessarily correlate with breed, some dogs have a history of fighting or rough environments, which can make the dog more aggressive.
If you believe that the owner of the dog that attacked you should have been more careful in restraining it and is responsible for your injuries, you should consult with a lawyer. Irresponsible pet owners should be held accountable.
How Much Is a Dog Bite Settlement Worth?
It’s impossible to say exactly how much your settlement is worth without knowing the details of your case. Any number of factors can affect your settlement, including the extent of your injuries, the amount of negligence exhibited by the other party, and if your ability to work has been diminished.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average dog bite claim in Georgia in 2019 was almost $48,000. In fact, Georgia ranks 10th among states in the number of dog bite claims. That’s why John Foy & Associates is working tirelessly to protect the rights of injured people.
When you get a free initial consultation with your dog bite attorney in Lithonia, they will assess your case and give you a better estimate of how much compensation you can expect from your claim. Rest assured that we want your settlement to cover everything you need to recover.
Damages You Can Recover from a Dog Bite in Lithonia
In Lithonia and the rest of Georgia, anyone injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence is legally entitled to seek compensation for their damages. The damages you will likely face after a dog bite include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future treatment for your injuries, such as surgeries
- Pain and suffering, including psychological trauma resulting from your injuries
You can claim damages for expenses you’ve already paid, as well as those that you’re likely to pay in the future. Your Lithonia dog bite attorney will know how to calculate every penny of your damages and convey that number to the insurance company.
Emotional Damages Resulting from a Dog Bite or Animal Attack
Children are especially susceptible to emotional issues after a dog bite or animal attack. Plus, dog bite injuries can lead to scarring or disfigurement, which can lead to emotional damages no matter how old you are.
You have the right to recover for your mental damages as long as there are physical injuries that cause them. You may be able to get compensation for therapy or mental health treatment. A personal injury attorney in Lithonia can tell you more.
Georgia’s “One Free Bite” Rule
The state of Georgia used to have what was known as a “one free bite” rule when it comes to dog bites. Under this rule, the owner of the dog was held liable for injuries only if they knew or should have known that the dog had vicious tendencies based on past occurrences.
Many states have modified or removed this rule from their laws, and Georgia recently followed suit. The Georgia Supreme Court’s decision in Steagald v. Eason on March 6, 2017, overturned the rule. The idea behind the change is that the rule was letting vicious dog owners off the hook and potentially putting innocent people in danger of serious dog bite injuries.
How to Handle a Dog Bite if You Know the Owner
It can be awkward and uncomfortable if the dog that bit you or a loved one belonged to a family member or close friend. However, it’s important to remember that the owner is still legally responsible for what happened.
You might be tempted to let the whole thing go, but you have to consider your legal rights and your own needs. Dog bite treatment can be incredibly expensive, and dog bite injuries can be very painful. You might be dealing with treatment and emotional trauma for years after the bite, so you deserve compensation for what you’ve suffered.
Keep in mind that if the dog’s owner is found at fault, their insurance company will likely be responsible for the actual compensation—not your loved one. Chances are, they will want you to get the money needed to get better and begin to move on from the accident. Most of the time, your dog bite lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement through the owner’s insurance company so you can put the whole thing behind you.
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer in Lithonia, GA for Free
If you have questions about your dog bite case or need help getting the compensation you deserve, call the Lithonia dog bite lawyers at John Foy & Associates. Over the past 20 years, we have built up a reputation for winning cases all throughout Georgia, including dog bite accidents. Plus, it’s risk-free to work with us – we don’t get paid unless we win you money.
Get started today by scheduling a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case and your options. Call us or contact us online for your FREE consultation now.