Even though many residents of Bainbridge love their pets, dog bites happen every day—and they can have tire consequences. Even small dog bites can lead to harmful infections or treatments in the victims. And severe dog bites can lead to the need for reconstructive surgery or other long-term medical care, which can be life-changing and painful. Dog bite victims, especially children, can also develop phobias or other emotional trauma from getting bitten. Bottom line: dog bites are serious, and victims shouldn’t have to pay for the damage they cause.
If you or loved one was bitten by a dog in Bainbridge, you need legal help to ensure you aren’t left with hefty medical bills because of someone else’s inability to control their dog. You need to contact a Bainbridge dog bite lawyer immediately.
Our compassionate team at John Foy & Associates has more than two decades of experience working with personal injury victims, including dog bite victims, who deserve financial recovery for costs that weren’t their fault. We want to help you recover as fully as possible and get on with your life after the dog attack. For a FREE consultation to discuss your situation and your options, contact us today. Call 404-400-4000, or complete the form to the right to get started.
What Makes a Dog Owner Liable For a Bite in Bainbridge?
Dog owners in Bainbridge have a legal responsibility to keep their dogs under control so attacks don’t happen. This could mean keeping the dog muzzled, on a leash, or crated to prevent bites from happening.
Even dogs that are normally harmless can snap or react aggressively if put in a stressful situation. So any time a dog bites someone, their owner was failed to uphold their duty to keep others safe—and they are liable for damages that result from the bite. A settlement for dog bite damages can include:
- Medical expenses like doctor and hospital visits and prescription medications
- Any long-term treatment like rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Lost wages from time taken off due to the dog bite and associated injuries
- Psychology treatment for mental anguish or anxiety caused by the attack
- Pain and suffering damages if your injuries are serious and cause lasting damage
Sometimes we see dog owners attempt to blame the victim for the bite, such as claiming the victim acted in a way that led the dog to bite. But ultimately, the owner—and no one else—is fully responsible for keeping their dog under control.
What Makes a Dog “Vicious” Under Georgia Law?
The state of Georgia follows the “one bite” rule, under which a dog isn’t considered dangerous or vicious unless it’s already bitten someone and the owner knows about the dog’s history. After the dog has bitten somebody else, it’s considered a clear indication that the dog is vicious. Under this rule, the dog owner is only legally responsible for dog bite damages resulting from the second bite.
However, in Georgia the dog owner is also liable for a dog bite if they knew their dog was vicious—which can apply if the owner kept the dog in a careless or reckless manner. That could include letting the dog roam freely in a neighborhood or not using a leash. This modified version of the “one bite” rule gives the dog bite victim a little more freedom in demonstrating a dog is dangerous.
Viciousness can be shown in other ways, as well, even if the dog didn’t bite. Other dangerous behaviors could be considered aggressive, such as:
- Snarling or growling
- Charging at people or other animals
- Barking aggressively
- Trying to attack another person by pulling away from the owner
Any of these could be actions that should notify the owner the dog isn’t safe around people and is therefore dangerous. A dog bite lawyer can help you gather proof of a dog demonstrating aggressive or vicious behavior, even if they hadn’t bitten anyone before you.
The Dog Owner Is a Friend/Family Member. What Should I Do?
Reporting a dog bite or filing a claim when the dog belongs to a friend or family member can be hard. You might worry about damaging your relationship with that person or getting them in trouble. We understand this.
However, it’s important to remember the claim is for your own well-being and not against your loved one personally. Plus, most of the time, the owner won’t be paying out of their own pocket for your damages from the bite. Instead, their insurance company will likely handle the claim.
We know the money you can get from a dog bite case makes a huge difference and is necessary to get the medical care you need to recover from the bite.
What If I Don’t Know Who Owns the Dog?
If you were bit and can’t figure out who owns the dog, it can be a frustrating and even scary situation. But there are things you can do:
- First, if you need any emergency medical attention for your injuries, get those right away
- Otherwise, try to get a picture or video of the dog that bit you. This will help identify them, especially if they try to run off after the attack
- Ask people at the scene about the dog. Someone who saw the bite or residents in the area might know whose dog it is and where they live. Even if they don’t know who owns the dog, they might recognize it and know if it already has a history of biting people
- Report the dog bite to local authorities: both the local police department and Animal Control. Police will create a report at the scene as evidence, and Animal Control will create a record of the dog bite and can determine if it has a further history of attacks. They may also be able to help identify the dog
- Go back to the scene. The dog may return at a later date, and the dog owner may be with the dog this time
Talk to a Bainbridge Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Dog attacks are serious matters, and you shouldn’t have to pay for the negligence of the owner. At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping dog bite victims for over 20 years. We’re ready to get started on your case today. Contact us for a FREE consultation to talk about what happened and your best options for moving forward. Call us at 404-400-4000, or complete out the form to the right to get started.