A dog bite or animal attack can occur anywhere (and at any time) in Valdosta. While no one wants to accept the fact that their pet can be dangerous, owners should be held responsible if they are negligent in a bite or attack. If you or a loved one were hurt in this manner, it’s time to speak with a dog bite and animal attack lawyer in Valdosta today.
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you file a claim and fight for your right to compensation for your damages. We’ve been helping dog bite and animal attack victims for more than 20 years, and we’re ready to assist you, as well. To schedule a FREE consultation and discuss your legal options today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
How to Determine if the Dog’s Owner is to Blame
When it comes to dog bites, the dog’s owner is almost always negligent. Dog owners have a legal duty to ensure their dog does not harm others. The exact laws can vary by city or county.
If an owner allows their dog to go at liberty and is not careful to contain them, keep them on a leash, or keep them at their heel, they can be responsible for damages from a bite or attack. This is covered under Georgia Code § 51-2-7.
In some cases, it might be enough to show that the animal should have been “at heel or on a leash” (but was not) at the time or bite to prove vicious propensity. You’ll also need to prove that the bite or attack happened even though you did not provoke the animal. As a defense, dog owners may try to say that you did provoke the dog in some way.
What About Other Animal Attacks?
Although most animal attacks in Valdosta result from dog bites or attacks, other animals can attack people too. If a wild animal is allowed to come onto someone’s property and it bites or attacks another person, it’s a premises liability concern.
Property owners might be liable for injuries from wild animals on their property. However, these cases can be complicated so it’s best to work with a dog bite and animal attack lawyer in Valdosta for help. They can determine your rights and your legal options based on the laws in your area.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Valdosta
If the dog owner is indeed at fault for the dog bite or attack, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury claim. In most cases, you would be able to file this claim with the owner’s homeowners’ insurance company.
Insurance companies do not make the claims process easy. Besides possibly dealing with the dog owner denying your claim, you’ll also need to handle the insurance company if it fights against your case. Insurance companies routinely look for ways to reduce what they have to pay to injury victims.
The insurer might try to reduce the value or validity of your claim through actions like:
- Saying you provoked the dog
- Claiming your injuries weren’t as serious as you said
- Offering you a lowball settlement upfront and hoping you’ll take it
- Contacting you after the accident, while you’re still vulnerable, and using anything you say against you
Having a dog bite and animal attack lawyer helps protect your legal rights even if the insurance company pushes back. An experienced lawyer will know how to handle the insurer and negotiate for a settlement that is fairer to you.
Damages You Can Claim from a Dog Bite in Valdosta
Before filing your claim, you will need to calculate your total damages from your dog bite or animal attack injuries. This can be difficult to do, especially if you are left with very serious injuries. Animal bites and attacks can be incredibly severe, even life-threatening or disfiguring, so many victims face a long road to recovery.
It’s best to try and reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before filing your claim. MMI is the point at which you’ve recovered as much as you can with treatment. You only have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim, but if you reach MMI before that, you’ll have the best idea of your total medical costs and other damages.
Your Valdosta dog bite lawyer can help you figure out the total of your damages. They’ll consider every way in which the dog bite or attack has affected your life, including losses like:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages (if a loved one dies because of an animal attack)
Pain and suffering damages are especially common in dog bite and animal attack cases. Getting attacked by an animal is very scary and can lead to lasting mental anguish or emotional trauma. Young children are especially prone to emotional damages from animal attacks.
Discuss with your lawyer all of the ways the bite or attack has affected your life. This will allow them to begin gathering evidence of your damages and accurately calculating the compensation you deserve.
Talk to a Dog Bite and Animal Attack Lawyer in Valdosta, GA for Free Today
No matter where you live, your age, or how the incident happens, a dog bite or animal attack can be incredibly painful and difficult. At John Foy & Associates, we can help ease the burden by handling the legal details. Our goal is to get you full compensation for your costs so you can begin to move on from this incident in your life.
Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get a FREE consultation and case evaluation. We’ll discuss what happened and how we can help. Plus, there are no upfront fees—and no fee at all unless we win you money. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started for FREE today.