Dog bites are not minor injuries. In the United States alone there are roughly 4.5 million dog bites per year, many of which will develop into serious injuries. Dog bite injuries are especially serious considering that many victims are small children. That’s why Georgia has strict laws governing dog owners. No individual can own more than one dog of a breed considered to be dangerous, such as pit bulls, and all of these dog owners must carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance. This insurance is designed to help pay for dog bite victims’ medical needs and other costs—but you should ask a good lawyer to help you get what you’re owed.
If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog in Augusta, let John Foy & Associates help you. Our Augusta dog bite lawyers have been helping victims for over 20 years. We focus our entire practice on helping individuals with injuries get a financial recovery and return to the best health possible—and we offer a 100% free consultation. Contact us at 706-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What should I do if a dog bit me in Augusta?
The first thing you should do is get medical attention. All dog bites should be examined by a doctor, even if they seem minor. A seemingly small dog bite could still lead to complications including infection or damaged tendons and muscles.
If it’s possible, you should also gather as much information as you can about the dog. The most important thing to find out is who owns the dog, and whether the owner says the dog has had its shots. If the dog has not been vaccinated, or if you cannot find out, your doctor will most likely need to give you a rabies prevention shot immediately. These shots must generally be given within 24 hours to be effective.
Other information you can gather at the scene includes:
- Take pictures of the dog, the injury, and where it happened
- Find witnesses who saw what happened and ask them for their contact info
- Ask people nearby if they know who owns the dog
Who should I report a dog bite to in Augusta?
We recommend reporting all dog bites to the local sheriff and Animal Services:
- You can reach the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1065. Having an incident report from the Sheriff’s office strengthens your claim, and deputies can help capture the dog if necessary.
- The Augusta Animal Services division is the primary agency responsible for investigating dog bites. They can be reached at (706) 790-6836.
We also recommend you speak to an Augusta dog bite lawyer immediately. Often, dog owners will tell you they want to work things out without getting lawyers involved, only to try to wriggle out of paying for your medical costs. Remember, the law is on your side. Speak to a lawyer from the beginning.
What if I don’t know who the dog owner is?
When you call our law office, we can send an investigator to find out who owns the dog, where they live and how to contact them. Even dogs that are roaming freely generally have a home. Our investigator can search the neighborhood and speak to neighbors in the area. Usually someone will recognize the dog and help us find the owner.
Will the dog be put down?
No, in most cases the dog will not be put down. The law only requires putting down dogs that are deemed dangerous. In the City of Augusta, a dog is only “dangerous” if it has bitten people multiple times, or if it belongs to certain highly aggressive breeds. These breeds include:
- Pit bulls
- Fighting breeds like the dogo argentine
- Any dog that has wolf blood
You have the same rights in a dog bite case no matter what kind of dog was responsible. Even a friendly dog can suddenly turn aggressive.
Who is legally responsible for the injury?
The owner is responsible for the injury. The law requires every dog owner to make sure that their dog is:
- Well behaved
This includes using a leash when outside the house, keeping the dog somewhere secure at home (such as a fence they cannot get over), and supervising them whenever they are around people. Simply put, the law says the owner must control the dog at all times. A dog who attacks someone is not under control, and the owner is liable.
What costs can I recover if I was bitten by a dog?
You have a right to recover all costs associated with the bite. This may include:
- Doctor visits, hospital stays and medical bills
- The cost of medication
- Physical rehabilitation
- Any psychological treatment that you need after the attack
- Lost income caused by missing work
In a serious injury you could qualify for additional money as well. Your lawyer can help you understand exactly how much your financial recovery may be worth.
What if the dog belongs to a friend or neighbor?
You should still report every dog bite that happens.
Often, we talk to dog bite victims who don’t want to take action because the dog owner is a relative. But you are not asking for the dog or owner to be punished. You are simply seeking fair payment for your injuries and other costs. And the money will typically come from an insurance policy—not out of your loved one’s pocket.
What if the dog bit me while I was working on someone’s home?
Dog owners have a legal duty to keep their dogs contained or controlled anytime there is a guest on the property. This includes employees, gardeners, delivery persons, and workers of any kind. You have a right to a recovery for your dog bite, and you may also qualify for a workers comp claim.
Is there a deadline to file a claim?
Yes, legal deadlines move quickly and you should get legal help as soon after the accident as possible. In Augusta, the local courts use deadlines set by both Georgia state law and United States law. At most you could have up to two years to file a claim, but it could be much shorter. Talk to a lawyer immediately.
Talk to an Augusta Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
John Foy & Associates has 20 years of experience helping people like you. We have a strong record of success for our clients, and we never charge a penny unless we win you money. Don’t wait. Call us at 706-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.