Dog bite injuries are common throughout the nation. While dogs are very loving, peaceful, and excellent companions, there are times where things can go wrong, and a dog bites a person. You can file a claim to receive compensation for damages related to your dog bite injury.
So long as you weren’t at fault for your dog bite injury, the lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help you get the maximum amount for your settlement. While our FAQs can help you with general questions, you need to talk to us as soon as possible for more assistance on your case. So please call us today to learn more about your legal options.
Do I Have to Report My Dog Bite in Georgia?
No law in Georgia requires you to report your dog bite injury to the authorities. In fact, you don’t even need a police report to hire a lawyer for any sort of personal injury. After a dog bite, you may have forgotten to call the police due to shock or trauma from your injury. However, we strongly recommend that you file a report with both police and animal control.
Our lawyers will use your report as evidence when fighting for your claim. There are a lot of benefits you gain by reporting your dog bite to the police or local animal control agency. After a dog bite, try to relax and gain control of the situation, even if this is extremely difficult. Taking the proper steps to report your dog bite can help you win your case.
Without an official report, there is no concrete evidence that your dog bite took place. This makes it much harder to prove that the dog owner is at fault for your damages. Therefore, it is crucial that you report what happened after obtaining basic evidence and seeking medical attention.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Dog Bite Injury Case?
Many people who try to negotiate a settlement on their own often end up with next to nothing in compensation. This is because many insurance companies use various tactics to get you to settle for less. Suppose you don’t have any prior legal knowledge. In that case, it can be challenging to win a settlement against a powerful and large insurance company with lots of resources at its disposal.
You should never believe that insurance companies act in your best interest. Unfortunately, they often try to protect themselves first before anything else, even if it means paying you less than what you truly deserve. Don’t let them get away with this.
A lawyer will help you level the playing field between you and the insurance company. So instead of spending long exhausting hours fighting a legal battle, you can focus on healing from your dog bite injury instead. Our lawyers can handle all of the work for you and help you win the best settlement possible for your claim.
What to Do If a Dog Bites You?
There are several steps you should take if a dog bites you:
- Get to safety immediately.
- If you need immediate medical attention, call for emergency medical services.
- If able, take photos of the dog, get the owner’s information, and take pictures of the area where your accident occurred.
- Report the dog bite to the local police or animal control agency in the area.
- Go to the hospital and get treatment for your wounds. Retain all medical records.
- Contact one of our dog bite injury lawyers as soon as possible.
When a dog bites you, it’s natural to be in shock, but try to remain calm. Do the best you can to get to safety, collect evidence, and then get to the hospital quickly. It is best not to let your dog bite injury linger.
When Should You See a Doctor After a Dog Bite?
After a dog bites you, you should see a doctor immediately. However, don’t wait too long to get your injury treated. This runs the risk of worsening your injuries through infection, scarring, and lasting damages. Prompt medical treatment can also help you get the best chances of a full recovery from a serious dog bite.
Getting medical treatment will also improve your chances of obtaining a settlement from the dog owner. When you go to the hospital, there will be a record of you receiving treatment there, which can be critical evidence when filing your claim. You can use these records to illustrate the severity of your injuries during negotiations and get compensated for your damages.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injury Claims?
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33 gives dog bite injury victims two years to file a claim to receive compensation. Two years is a relatively short amount of time to get all of your affairs in order for your case. In addition, the more time you let pass, will weaken the strength of your case.
Many people often think they have more time than they really do to file their claims. Because of this, thousands of people each year let the statute of limitations expire due to their relaxed attitude. Don’t end up paying out of pocket for your damages because you let your claim expire.
Evidence degrades quickly as time goes on. The defense and the insurance company will also have time to prepare their case against you. If you wait too long, it’ll look like your injuries weren’t bad enough to warrant compensation. Speak to one of our lawyers today.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
From start to finish, many steps go into personal injury cases like dog bites. Many people wrongfully assume that filing a claim is as easy as just filling out paperwork. Paperwork is part of the process, but ultimately, a lot more goes into it than that. You will have to fight and negotiate for a fair settlement while proving negligence and fault.
On average, it can take one to three months to fully settle your dog bite injury claim. Remember, this is only a general average, and there is no accurate way to estimate how long your specific dog bite case will take to settle without first going through all of its details. Generally, dog bite injury claims follow a simple time frame:
- Collecting evidence for your case and receiving medical treatment for your injuries.
- Consulting with a lawyer and filing a claim.
- Entering into negotiations with the defense and the insurance company.
- Receiving a settlement based on the negotiation or going to trial.
Going to trial can take even longer than settling out of court. The courts are almost always extremely busy year-round, which can cause many delays in settling your claim. However, our dog bite injury attorneys will always work hard to get you the best results for your settlement as fast as possible.
Will My Dog Bite Case Settle Out of Court?
Most personal injury claims, including dog bite injury claims, settle out of court. This is typical because most insurance companies don’t want to enter into a drawn-out legal battle through trial. More often than not, they’d rather just pay the settlement you’re asking for, as a lengthy trial can end up costing way more than the amount you request in your settlement.
Insurance companies often wave the white flag and cease trying to argue with you whenever a lawyer becomes involved during negotiations. While this isn’t true in every single case, in most instances, it is. This is one of the significant benefits of having an attorney representing you.
Usually, the only time a dog bite injury would escalate to trial is if the settlement you require is worth several hundred thousand or millions. Then, the insurance company and the defense might consider fighting it out in court. Our attorneys will never hesitate to do what needs to be done to get you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
Who Can I Sue for My Dog Bite Injury?
For all dog bite injuries, you sue the owner of the dog for any damages you’ve incurred due to your injuries. After all, you can’t sue an animal for what happened to you. It’s not the dog’s fault that you got bit. It’s the owner for not having proper control over their pet.
It is negligent to have a potentially vicious animal roam freely and without care. Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs, and there are no exceptions. Georgia doesn’t technically have a one-bite rule, but the law does require that you have the proper evidence necessary to prove your claim.
When filing a claim against the dog owner’s insurance policy for a settlement, it is best to leave that up to legal professionals like the dog bite injury attorneys at John Foy & Associates. You don’t need to fight for your claim alone.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
The average settlement for a dog bite injury claim is usually several thousand dollars. However, there is no true average because your settlement depends highly on:
- The context of your case.
- The severity of your dog bite injuries.
- How devastating of an impact your damages have caused in your life.
- Any lasting negative effects resulting from your dog bite injury.
Because each case is different, we can’t provide a true average for you other than what generally occurs. For a more concrete calculation of your potential settlement, it is best to talk with one of our lawyers for a free case review.
Our dog bite injury attorneys will accurately calculate your settlement. We will include all of your economic and non-economic damages. We promise that nothing will get left out of your final settlement total.
What Evidence Would I Need to Prove Negligence in a Dog Bite Injury Claim?
Even though the law holds dog owners responsible for any dog bite incidents, you still need to prove that your damages were related to your dog bite injury. Additionally, you also need evidence to show that your dog bite incident didn’t happen because:
- You provoked or aggravated the dog intentionally.
- You were not trespassing on private property the dog was defending.
- The dog was defending itself or its owner from you.
As long as you provide the evidence to show this, there is a good chance that you can recover a settlement for your damages. The law is on your side, but the burden of proof still lies with you. If you need assistance figuring out how to obtain evidence and keep it safe, please contact our dog bite injury lawyers today.
What Damages Can I Claim After a Dog Bite Injury?
You can compensate for several damages related to your dog bite injury:
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Disability and disfigurement
- Property damages, if applicable
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and mental anguish
Although death is rare, dog bites can cause wrongful death to occur, especially for small children and elderly victims. Dogs are fast, agile, and extremely strong. For vulnerable groups of people, dog bites can do serious harm that can prove to be fatal. This is why you must get fairly compensated. Never let the insurance company try to downplay any of your injuries or the resulting damages.
As long as your damages resulted from your dog bite injury, you can get a settlement for them. While money won’t be able to fix everything, it can give you what you need to help you move on and recover from your wounds. In addition, we will help you hold the negligent dog owner liable for what happened so you can get properly compensated.
What Are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?
The most common injuries associated with dog bites tend to be:
- Lacerations and open wounds
- Blood loss
- Broken bones
- Loss of limb or fingers
- Lasting scars and disfigurements
- Potential disability depending on the location of the bite
- Infections and disease
The severity of your dog bite will typically dictate the kind of injuries you sustain. For example, loss of a limb isn’t common in grown adults, but it’s very possible for small children bitten by dogs. Also, while dogs’ mouths are cleaner than human mouths, an infection can occur since you still have an open wound.
These injuries should illustrate the necessity for prompt medical treatment. Your health and well being is the most important thing you have. If you require critical medical attention, don’t delay in getting to a hospital.
What Can I Do to Prevent Dog Bites and Animal Attacks?
Preventing dog bites and animal attacks are pretty simple:
Don’t aggravate any animal.
- Don’t make direct eye contact or turn your back to an aggressive animal.
- Don’t run away or make any sudden movements.
If you see an aggressive or potentially dangerous animal, avoid it and try to move around it. Always take warning signs seriously and be cautious around areas where animals, wild or domesticated, tend to be.
Even though dog and animal owners have a higher duty of care to exercise with their pets, you should still always be vigilant yourself. Do your best not to put yourself into a position where an animal feels forced or compelled to attack you.