Dogs might be man’s best friend, but every year, millions of Americans are treated for dog bite wounds. A dog bite isn’t just a playful gesture – it can inflict serious injuries. Small wounds can get infected, and about 27,000 dog bite victims are hurt badly enough to need reconstructive surgery each year.
If a dog is rabid, any bite is life-threatening. Dog bites can leave you temporarily or permanently unable to work. Sadly, many of the dog bite victims we see are children. If you or a family member has been bitten by a dog, we urge you to contact the Marietta dog bite lawyers at John Foy & Associates immediately.
What do I Do If a Dog Bites Me in Marietta?
The first thing you should do after a dog bite in Marietta is to see a doctor for medical attention. If it’s possible, however, it’s a good idea to get some information about the dog while you’re still at the scene. Try to find out:
- The name, address and other contact information for the dog’s owner.
- The dog’s vaccination record, and in particular, when the dog had its last rabies shot.
- Whether the dog has bitten anybody before. Neighbors or bystanders sometimes will offer helpful information about the dog’s history and temperament.
Dog owners don’t always like to answer questions, especially if their pet has just bitten somebody. Sometimes a dog’s owner is nowhere in sight. Don’t worry if you can’t find out anything.
We have a team of investigators who will go to the scene of the bite and talk to neighbors who may know who owns the dog. We’ll also search public records to find out if the dog has bitten anyone before. Through our investigation, we’ll build your case for you.
Get the strong arm
Should I Report a Dog Bite to Authorities in Marietta?
Yes. You should report any dog bites to two separate agencies in the City of Marietta. They are:
- The Marietta Police Department: Call the police right after the bite occurs and they will send officers to the scene to make an incident report. The officer may look at your injury and talk to witnesses. The report will be essential evidence in your claim.
- Cobb County Animal Control: Animal control handles all animal attack reports. They may be able to help you locate the dog or confirm its identity, and their records will show whether the dog has attacked people before.
After you get medical attention and report your dog bite, you should contact a dog bite lawyer. Your report will be necessary for your personal injury claim.
What Will Happen to the Dog If I Report a Dog Bite?
Georgia has a “one free bite” rule that prevents dogs from being punished when they bite someone for the first time. That means the dog won’t be taken away from its owner or euthanized.
However, the law makes exceptions for dogs with a history of biting and dogs from breeds that are known to be aggressive. Examples of aggressive breeds are:
- Pit bulls
- Dogs that are part wolf
- Other breeds, if they were created especially for fighting
Just because a dog is an aggressive breed does not mean that was the cause of the bite. Sometimes, the owner can be at fault or some other factor is at play. A dog bite attorney in Marietta will be able to get to the bottom of what happened.
Who Is Legally Responsible If a Dog Bites Someone?
The dog’s owner is responsible. Under Georgia law, owners must keep their dogs under control. That might mean keeping a dog on a leash, watching closely when it’s off-leash, or putting it in a crate at home when visitors are around. If a dog attacks someone, the owner has failed to keep the canine under control.
As a result, the owner is legally liable for any consequences of the dog attack – including the cost of the victim’s medical treatment. Dog owners frequently minimize the seriousness of dog bites or try to blame the victim. Don’t fall for this. No matter what they say, if their dog bites you, they are liable.
What Money Am I Entitled to in a Dog Bite Claim in Marietta?
Georgia law allows you to recover all the damages you suffer because of a dog bite. In Marietta, the Cobb County courts might award you these types of damages:
- The cost of your medical treatment
- Occupational or physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Treatment by a mental health care provider
- Any wages you lost because of the dog bite
Courts also frequently award money for pain and suffering or to compensate you for an ongoing disability. Of course, money can’t reverse the damage and emotional trauma of a dog bite, but it can ease your financial stress as you cope with sometimes debilitating injuries.
Do Dog Bite Settlements Ever Go to Trial?
There is a chance that your dog bite claim might go to trial, but that chance is very small. Almost every personal injury case is settled outside of court. Most of the time, the parties come to an agreement on an out-of-court settlement and that’s that.
However, a very small percentage of personal injury claims in Marietta do go to court. If that happens, the Marietta dog bite lawyers from John Foy & Associates will fight for you. We’ve spent 20 years protecting injury victims and getting them the compensation they need to move past their incidents.
What If I’m Bitten by My Friend’s Dog?
It’s natural to want to avoid damaging your relationships or getting friends or relatives into trouble. But you should never hesitate to report a dog bite. We have represented many dog bite victims who worried about reporting the injury, but were hugely relieved to recover the money they needed to pay for their treatment.
Remember that you are not making a claim against your friend. Your claim is with their insurance company – usually their homeowners’ policy – and your friend doesn’t have to pay anything.
What If I Was Working on the Owner’s Property?
The fact that you were working on the property doesn’t affect your rights. The homeowner is legally required to provide safe working conditions for you, and that means the dog must be controlled – possibly in a crate – while you are on the premises.
You may even be able to file a workers’ compensation claim that will make it easier to recover money. If that’s the case, a Marietta workers’ compensation lawyer can help. Our firm knows how to get workers a good settlement for their on-the-job injuries.
What does a Marietta Dog Bite Lawyer Cost?
You should never pay up-front for a lawyer to handle your dog bite case. With our Marietta dog bite attorneys, we don’t charge you a penny unless we win money for you. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means our fees come from a percentage of your settlement.
To us, this is only fair. We don’t want you to have to pay out of your own pocket after an accident. You’ve already suffered a terrible injury, so why should you risk your financial well-being just to get legal advice?
How Long do I Have to Sue for a Dog Bite in Georgia?
In Georgia, you usually have two years from the date of your dog bite to file a claim. That’s according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 9-3-33. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the deadline can be mere weeks.
You should contact a dog bite lawyer in Marietta as soon as you can. The sooner you do, the higher your chances are of getting the compensation you need. Don’t hesitate.
Talk to a Marietta Dog Bite Attorney for Free
It’s easy to find a lawyer who will take your dog bite case, but it’s hard to find a law firm that has a record of winning them. The Marietta dog bite lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been successfully representing dog bite victims for 20 years.
Our experienced attorneys are well equipped to help you. Schedule a free consultation, and we will talk with you about your case and help you understand your options. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.