Dog bites are serious matters. The American Veterinary Medical Assn. estimates that with as many as 70 million dogs in the U.S. in 2011, there were 4.5 million dog bites, 27,000 of which required reconstructive surgery and 1 in 5 requiring some medical attention. The state of Georgia rewrote its laws in 2012 to enact the Georgia Responsible Dog Owner Act. This law clearly states that owners may only own one dog that is deemed a dangerous breed. And these dog owners must maintain $50,000 in liability insurance. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, call a Dog Bite Attorney at John Foy & Associates, one of Atlanta’s largest personal injury law firms, at 404-400-4000. We’ve settled many high-profile serious dog bite injury claims. Our goal is to help you recover physically and financially from this traumatic experience.
What should I do if I was bitten by a dog?
If a dog bites or attacks you, get as much information as quickly as you can and certainly get the medical help you need immediately. If you are able, take photos of the dog and your injuries. Talk to any witnesses and get their names. Call 911 and have the police make an official report, and call the Animal Control. The telephone number in Fulton County is 404-613-0358. The most important piece of information is the name and address of the dog owner. Any compensation will be from the dog owner’s homeowners insurance. If a stray or loose dog has attacked you and you can’t identify the owner, call our attorneys at 404-400-4000. Our investigators will return to the scene and try to find the owner. Often someone in the area will know the dog. We’ll also determine if the dog has bitten anyone else. The law is that unless the dog is a vicious breed, the animal is allowed “one bite” before it is considered dangerous.
Who should I report a dog bite to in the state of Georgia?
First contact the local police and make a report. If necessary, call 911 if medical care is needed. The police will make an official report and if all goes well, they will capture the dog and identify the homeowner. It’s also important to call Animal Control. The Fulton County Animal Control number is 404-613-0358. And with any injury, we urge you contact our firm so that we can help get you the financial compensation you need to recover from your wounds. Get medical care: Remember that even non-scarring dog bites can lead to serious medical problems, such as rabies and tetanus.
What happens when I report a dog bite? Will the dog be put down?
What happens to the dog after the bite is dependent on many things: Has the dog bitten another person? Is it considered a dangerous breed? The law requires the owner to be aware of the dog’s propensity to attack or be aggressive. John Foy & Associates investigators will find out if Animal Control has been called about this particular dog. For a case to ensue, we need to prove that the dog owner knew his pet was aggressive. Non-aggressive dogs, under the law, are allowed one bite without consequence. This is informally called the “one-bite rule.” Vicious breeds don’t get that free bite. A few vicious breeds include pit bulls, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids and fighting breeds such as dogo argentine and presa canario. The nonprofit group, DogBites.org, estimates that two breeds, pit bulls and Rottweilers, accounted for 74% of the attacks that resulted in death in the past 10 years. Still, any breed of dog can attack.
Who is legally responsible for dog bite injuries?
The dog’s owner is responsible for dog bite injuries. “It’s the dog owner’s duty to make sure that the dog is trained, behaved and controlled so that it doesn’t hurt anybody,” says firm founder John Foy. If you consider yourself injured or hurt because of an incident with a dog, call us at 404-400-4000. Make sure you discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. Our only goal is to protect and compensate the victim. And we want to make sure the dog is not able to injure another person.
What compensation can I collect for a dog bite?
A dog bite case is a personal injury claim that seeks to recover money for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. Often young children and young women are most damaged by the physical scarring and the psychological aftermaths of being attacked by an uncontrollable animal. “It can be very traumatic if you have a big, aggressive dog coming after you,” says our firm founder John Foy.
What if I was bitten by a friend or dog’s neighbor?
If a friend or neighbor’s dog bites you, the owner is still responsible for the bite. It’s natural to underreact when something horrible has just happened. Say you’re at a neighborhood barbecue and suddenly the host’s dog bites your son. Most people want to act as if it’s not a big deal, but your son is undoubtedly injured. He certainly requires immediate medical attention. And he may have permanent scars or nightmares. No matter how socially awkward the situation, it is important to follow the proper protocol. Seek medical treatment immediately and report the incident to the police and Animal Control. Your friend may want to handle the matter privately without contacting authorities or insurance companies, but that’s the worst thing to do. When in doubt, contact John Foy & Associates, and we’ll walk you through what we can do for you. We’ll handle your case quietly and sensitively. Typically an insurance claim is made and a settlement is reached without having to file a lawsuit or go to court.
The dog owner wants to talk to me about my injuries, what should I do?
Our firm founder John Foy urges, “Do not talk to them. Nothing good comes from speaking directly to the person responsible for the injury.” If the dog owner is at the scene of the attack, keep the conversation as short and cordial as possible. Ask if they are the dog owner. Get their homeowner’s insurance information. Do not start a fight and do not discuss your injuries with them. As personal injury attorneys, we hear all the time that someone got into an accident or car wreck and the other person says: “Don’t call the police. I’m going to take care of it right now. Let me give you a hundred bucks and we’ll pretend it never happened.” These are often the cases that develop into something more serious.
What if I was bitten while working at someone’s home?
You do have a personal injury claim if you are bitten while working at someone’s home. Any dog owner has a duty to control his or her dog and to create a safe environment, especially for visitors and workers. Any dog should be trained not to be aggressive or crated when strangers are in the home. Even friendly dogs can get overly “affectionate” and hurt someone. You may have a worker’s compensation case in addition to the third-party claim against the dog owner. This is no different from getting into a car accident while you are working. Our personal injury attorneys can help you with both claims.
What if I’m not sure who owns the dog that bit me?
The number one problem in dog bite claims is determining the identity of the dog owner. It can be very difficult to identify an owner of a stray or loose dog, especially if you have been bitten while at a public place or apartment complex. Give John Foy & Associates a call at 404-400-4000 and we’ll do further investigation to determine who was the legal dog owner. Our team will talk to the neighbors to see if anyone knows the particular dog. We will call Animal Control to see if there’s a report on that dog. Don’t delay, call us immediately.