Dog bites can occur when you least expect them—at the park, in your neighborhood, or while you are visiting a friend. As a rule, dog owners in Buford are required to maintain control of their animals, and when they don’t, they are usually liable for a bite. And many dog bites result in high medical bills and even long-term physical and mental health conditions. You have a right to file a legal claim to recover the high costs of your bite or dog attack. Don’t face this process alone—a Buford dog bite attorney can help you.
John Foy & Associates ha been dealing with dog bite cases for more than 20 years. We have built up a reputation as one of the most respected dog bite firms in the state—and we get results. Let us give you a free consultation and put our resources to work for you and your family. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Who is legally responsible for dog bites in Buford?
The dog’s owner is responsible for any damage that a dog causes in Buford, even if the loss was not the result of a bite. However, as a victim, you must show very specific information to get money for the injuries the dog caused. You must prove:
- The dog owner was negligent in how they were keeping the dog
- The dog was vicious
- You did not provoke the dog
- In most cases, you must prove that the dog was not on the owner’s premises at the time of the bite
A dog is considered vicious if it has already harmed or bitten another person. However, Georgia law permits victims, and the court, to assume that a dog is vicious if it was not leashed at the time of the bite if leashing was required in that area. In Gwinnett County, any dog that is not restrained or under the voice control of its owner while not on the owner’s property is considered “unrestrained.”
What should I do if I cannot find the dog’s owner?
Some dogs will run free without tags. While the dog may be homeless, it is equally likely that the dog escaped its yard. If a severe biting incident occurs, call 911. If the event happened in Buford, it is also a good idea to involve Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement. The police or the county will fill out a report regarding the incident. They will also be able to use their resources to help determine who owns the dog.
You can also do your own informal investigation regarding who may own the dog by simply asking around. Ask witnesses nearby if they know who the dog’s owner may be. You can also knock on doors and talk to neighbors. Many dogs will not wander far from their neighborhoods.
At John Foy & Associates, we have our own private investigator that we can use on your behalf to help determine who may own the dog. Even if it appears like the dog is a stray, you have options.
What kind of compensation is available after a dog bite?
The most common money damages available after a dog bite include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Most dog bites are minor. In these cases, the focus will be on your medical bills and related physical problems. But, there are situations where a dog mauls a person so that they need surgery or extensive medical care. That’s when you may need to take time away from work to recover, and you may undergo significant pain and suffering as a result of the bite. All of these losses can be included in your settlement.
There are also situations where a dog bite causes severe emotional trauma. This is particularly true in dog bite cases that involve children. When a dog bites a small child, that child may not be able to interact with dogs well for the rest of their life. And the child may require therapy after the incident. Whenever someone suffered mental anguish in addition to physical harm, you can recover money damages for the psychological injury.
Are dogs required to be on leashes or behind fences?
Generally, yes. Dog owners should take care to have their dogs restrained at all times. Letting a dog run loose is often in violation of city and county ordinances. The local courts can impose criminal fines when a dog repeatedly runs at large.
You must show that a dog owner was careless or otherwise negligent in how they kept their dog to prove that the owner has legal responsibility for a dog bite. Usually, if the dog is restrained, the owner has met their obligations (but not always). However, if the owner leaves the fence gate open or only loosely ties up the dog, that could be considered negligence. In fact, if the dog starts growling at you and the owner does nothing to prevent the dog from attacking, that could be regarded as carelessness, too. This is true even if the dog was restrained at the time the bite occurred.
A dog that is not restrained when it should be and bites someone is automatically considered vicious under Georgia law. But, a dog can be considered vicious even when it is controlled as well.
You don’t have to deal with these complexities alone. It is possible to prove and win a dog bite claim—but both the owner and the insurance company are likely to make it as hard as possible. Always get the advice of a lawyer as soon as possible after a bite.
Talk to a Buford Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
In dog bite cases, forgetting just one small detail can completely undermine your case. Don’t let this happen to you. The team at John Foy & Associates can help you develop your legal claim by gathering evidence on your behalf—and get you the money you deserve. Get your free consultation and put John Foy & Associates to work for you. We never charge a dime unless you get money from your claim. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.