Dog bites can be serious. Even small bites can lead to infection and disease, and a severe bite can require stitches or surgery. In many cases, one dog attack can have lifelong effects. Out of the millions of dog bites that happen every year, approximately 27,000 will require reconstructive surgery. Tragically, many dog bite victims are children. If you live in Athens and you were bitten by a dog, you should talk to a dog bite lawyer.
John Foy & Associates has the experience and expertise to help. We have worked on behalf of dog bite victims for over 20 years. We began as a small local law firm and became one of the most respected law offices in the country, largely because we devote ourselves exclusively to helping injury victims—and we have a track record of success. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, let us give you a free consultation with the best dog bites lawyers in the Athens area. Contact us at 706-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What should I do if a dog bit me in Athens?
The most important thing after any dog bite is to get as much information as you can. Your case will be much easier if you can find out who owns the dog and where they live. If you do find the owner, it also helps to ask:
- Has the dog had its shots? What shots has it had, and how long ago?
- Had the dog ever bitten anyone else?
Obviously, dog owners don’t always want to share this information. They may feel defensive, flustered, or afraid of being held responsible. They may also try to blame you for the bite. Do your best to be calm. Focus on getting the medical attention you need, and your lawyer can do the rest. At John Foy & Associates, we can send out our investigator to talk to neighbors in the area and find out who owns the dog. We can talk to them or subpoena the records we need.
Where do I report a dog bite in Athens?
All dog bites in the City of Athens should be reported to two different agencies:
- The Athens-Clarke County Police. A police report provides essential documentation of what happened, and is the first step in filing your claim.
- Animal Control. The county Animal Control service is the main agency responsible for documenting all dangerous animals and reporting dog attacks. They will know if the dog has a history of aggression.
What happens after I report a dog attack in Athens? Will the dog be put down?
It’s rare for a dog to be put down after an attack. Georgia allows offers most dogs one “free bite,” meaning if it’s the dog’s first offense you still have all your rights enforced as the victim, but the dog itself is not punished. The only exceptions are dogs that belong to certain highly aggressive breeds, such as:
- Pit bulls
- Wolf hybrids
- Breeds that were created for fighting
The most important thing after any dog attack is to look out for your own safety and get the recovery you need.
Who is responsible for dog bites?
The owner is always responsible in any dog bite case. State law says that dog owners have an obligation to keep their dog trained, controlled and properly behaved. Besides basic obedience training this means the dog should be crated, contained in a fence or on a leash. If the dog is off leash or someone is allowed on the property with the dog, the owner is supposed to supervise and control it. This simplifies dog bite cases, because the onus is always on the owner, and victims cannot be blamed for being attacked by a “friendly” dog.
What costs can I recover in a dog bite claim?
You can recover all damages or costs caused by the dog bite. The most common costs we see include:
- Medical expenses including shots, stitches, surgery and long term rehabilitation
- Psychological treatment where needed
- Lost wages caused by missing work because of the attack
- Financial awards for physical pain and suffering or other serious losses
What if the dog belongs to someone I know?
We still believe it’s best to report the dog bite. We understand that many people feel conflicted about filing a claim against a friend or family member. But there are two important considerations you should make in any dog bite case:
- If someone else’s dog bit you or your child, it’s not fair for you to have to pay the expenses on your own. Medical bills for dog bites can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars or higher.
- Your claim is not against your friend personally. In most cases it will be paid out of their home owner insurance. They do not have to pay anything out of pocket because of your claim.
What if I was working on someone’s home when the dog bit me?
You still have a right to a complete recovery. Under the law, the homeowner is responsible for keeping the premises safe for their contractors or hired workers. They should have their dogs crated or otherwise controlled while you work. You still have a valid dog bite claim, and you may have a worker’s comp claim as well. This can make it even easier to get the recovery you need.
What does it cost to hire a dog bite lawyer in Athens?
You don’t need to pay anything out of pocket. We believe in putting victims first, and making it as easy as possible for you to get professional legal help. That’s why we offer a very simple pay policy:
- Free consultation
- No upfront costs
- You pay us nothing if we don’t win you money
If we win you a financial recovery, we get our fee out of it at the end. You keep everything else.
Talk to an Athens Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Many lawyers say they take dog bite cases, but not all have experience in this field of law. You need someone who understands your case and can get you the best possible outcome. Let us give you a FREE consultation to explore your legal options. Call us at 706-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.