Every year, some 27,000 people have reconstructive surgery because of a dog bite. Small dog bites can lead to serious infections, or victims may have to undergo painful rabies treatment. Unfortunately, young children are among the most vulnerable to severe dog bites.
If you or a close relative have been bitten by a dog, you do not have to accept the financial burden of your treatment. At John Foy & Associates, our team of dog bite lawyers in Macon can help you hold the pet owner liable and recover money for your injuries.
How Should I Respond If I’m Bitten By a Dog in Macon?
You should always get emergency medical treatment if you need it. If you don’t have to see a doctor right away, there are a few things you can do at the scene to protect your rights. What do you do when you get bitten by a dog in Macon? If you can, you’ll need to get:
- The dog’s owner’s name, address and telephone number
- The dog’s history of shots, and especially the date of its last rabies shot
- Information about the dog’s temperament and whether it has bitten other people before. Bystanders and people who come to your aid may know the dog and may have helpful information about its owner and its history. Get their names and contact information.
Don’t be surprised if the dog’s owner is defensive or refuses to answer questions. You may not even be able to find the dog’s owner at all. But don’t let that discourage you from reaching out to us about your case.
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Our Investigative Process for Dog Bite Cases
At John Foy & Associates, the first thing our Macon dog bite attorneys do in these cases is to send investigators to the area where you were attacked to interview people who live nearby. Often, someone knows the dog and who it belongs to, and this gives us the information we need to continue our investigation and search public records regarding the dog’s past bite history.
While reporting the bite to the authorities is important, we don’t rest on just that evidence. Hiring our own investigators ensures we can do a thorough job of gathering evidence to prove negligence when the police may not have the resources to dig into the case on their own.
Do I Need to Report a Dog Bite in Macon?
Yes, you should report the dog bite to two separate agencies in Macon-Bibb County. The authorities must be notified not only to protect the public, but to make a report that our dog bite lawyers in Macon can use for your case. They are:
- Bibb County Sheriff’s Office: Always contact law enforcement immediately after a dog bite, even if the dog has disappeared and the owner isn’t around. Officers will come to the scene, examine your injuries, and talk to any witnesses. The police report is a key piece of evidence in your claim.
- Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare: Though you might know it as Macon County Animal Control, Animal Welfare captures stray animals and keeps records of many animal attacks. They can search their system for past attacks involving this same dog, or their records may help you identify the dog or find its owner.
You can also gather evidence yourself by taking photographs of the dog and your injuries with your phone.
Will Anything Happen to the Dog If I Report a Dog Bite in Macon?
Georgia law has what’s known as a “one free bite” rule. This means that a dog that’s never bitten anyone before won’t usually be punished for biting you. However, the “one free bite” rule may not apply if the dog has a history of past bites or is part of a highly aggressive breed. Examples of aggressive breeds include:
- Pit bulls
- Dog and wolf hybrids
- Breeds that were created just for fighting
If the dog has bitten multiple people, or is deemed to be an aggressive breed, the state may decide that the dog needs to be put down. Please know that if they make this decision that it is not your fault. It’s the fault of the owner for not training their dog properly.
Who Has Legal Liability for My Dog Bite?
Dog bites are not the victim’s fault, even if the dog’s owner tries to blame you for “provoking” the dog. In Georgia, dog owners have a legal obligation to keep their canines under control. That might mean that they must be kept on leash, muzzled, crated, or just closely supervised when off leash.
When a dog bites someone, it means that the owner didn’t take the proper steps to control the animal. As a result, the owner is legally liable for all the damage that results, including your medical expenses. No matter what the dog’s owner says, never accept blame for a dog bite, and never minimize the extent of your injuries.
What If My Dog Bit a Trespasser?
One of the exceptions to the dog bite laws is if you are bitten while trespassing on someone else’s property. It’s a foundation of premises liability law that if someone is in a place where they shouldn’t be and they get hurt, the owner is not liable, especially if it’s part of a crime.
However, a trespasser may be able to sue successfully if the owner of the dog deliberately sicced their dog on them without good reason. Depending on the circumstances, a self-defense claim could fail.
Can I Recover Money If I’m Bitten by a Dog in Macon?
Yes. The local courts in Macon follow Georgia law and allow you to recover all your expenses and losses that result from the dog bite. Typically, bite victims are able to recover:
- The cost of medical treatment, including doctors, hospitals, surgery and prescriptions
- Rehabilitation costs, including physical therapy
- The cost of mental health treatment for issues related to the attack
- Lost wages, if you had to miss work because of the attack
In some cases, you are eligible for much more. Courts may award large amounts of money to people who were seriously injured and suffer ongoing pain or disabilities. A dog bite can be a traumatic and life-changing event, and we know that money can never undo the damage.
But money can help you stay on an even footing financially while you take the time to cope with your dog bite injuries and focus on recovery. Thus, if you are bit, you should speak with a Macon dog bite attorney for advice.
What If My Friend’s Dog Bit Me?
When a friend or family member owns the dog that bit you, you may be reluctant to report it to the authorities. We’ve represented many clients who were afraid of hurting a friend or damaging a relationship. But these same clients were relieved when they received money to pay for their medical care – often without ever going to court.
Most of the time, your friend has insurance that will pay for your injuries, and your claim will be a private matter between you and the insurance company. You will not have to make a claim against your friend personally, and your friend will probably be happy to see you get the care and treatment you need.
Can I Make a Claim If I Was Working on the Dog Owner’s Property?
Yes, workers have the same rights as everyone else. Property owners in Georgia must make their property safe for people who work there, and that includes keeping dogs under control. In some cases, workers are eligible to file workers’ compensation claims, which may make it easier to get a full financial recovery for your injuries.
Doesn’t a Macon Dog Bite Lawyer Cost a Lot of Money?
Medical care for a dog bite is expensive, and we believe you shouldn’t have to pay additional money just to get legal help. Our dog bite lawyers in Macon never charge you any money up-front, and we’ll never ask you to pay anything at all unless we win money from you.
We believe this is the fairest way to ensure that victims always have access to high quality legal help when they need it most. After all, our job is to help you win your case. If we cannot do that, why should we be compensated?
Talk to a Macon Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Lots of lawyers will tell you they take dog bite cases, but few have the experience and investigative skills to win them. At John Foy & Associates, our Macon dog bite lawyers have a long track record of getting results for victims of aggressive animal attacks.
We’d like to show you what we can do for you. We’ll give you a free consultation to discuss your case and explain your options. Call us or fill out our online contact form and get your FREE consultation today.