If you want to receive compensation for your dog bite injury in Georgia, you will have to report your injury by filing a claim against the owner responsible. There is no other way around this. While filing a claim seems like a challenging task, it’s effortless with the proper legal representation by your side.
The dog bite lawyers at John Foy & Associates will help you file your claim and negotiate for your settlement. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), roughly five million people get bitten by dogs every year. If you fall victim to a dog bite, always file a report as soon as possible.
Take Action After Getting Bit by a Dog
Getting bit by a dog can cause you to suffer severe injuries and damages. It’s essential that you take action after getting a dog bite by:
- Seeking medical attention
- Getting information on the dog and its owner
- Contacting local authorities about what happened
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-2-7 places the owner responsible for the actions of any vicious animal they own. If they fail to keep you safe from their dog, that puts them directly liable for what happened. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to win financial compensation.
Despite the law giving you the right to file a claim, you still need to take action, file a report, and receive medical treatment. Not doing so can weaken your ability to negotiate for a proper settlement that’s fair and appropriately accounts for your damages. This is why you must let the authorities know about your dog bite.
Reporting Your Dog Bite in Georgia
While it’s not mandatory to report your dog bite to the police or your local animal control, you should still always do so. Having a report on file with law enforcement will help you prove your case better when you file your claim. In addition, police or animal control reports act as an official document proving that your dog bite incident took place.
It’s also not mandatory to report your dog bite injury to the insurance companies until you’re ready to file your claim. Chances are, they’ll reach out to you first, but always be cautious about accepting or signing anything with them. They’re trying to get you to accept a low settlement offer so they can absolve themself of any responsibility towards a higher settlement.
What If I Didn’t Report My Dog Bite?
You can still file a claim if you didn’t report your dog bite to the police or animal control. If you have any other evidence of your dog bite, such as video recordings, then lacking a report may not be too detrimental to your case. However, if you don’t have an official dog bite report on file, the insurance company can use that against you.
Since there’s no dog bite report, they can claim that you must have gotten bitten by a different dog. While this may not be true, you will have an extremely difficult time trying to prove otherwise if there’s no evidence to back it up. Thus, it’s always in your best interest to file a report quickly. Even if a bit of time has passed, always file a report.
How Long After Reporting My Dog Bite Can I File a Claim?
After making a report with the authorities, you can report your damages to the at-fault party’s insurance company by filing a claim. This will then begin the process of negotiations that will decide how much compensation you can receive. You can do this anytime you want, but we typically recommend that you hold off until you build a strong case.
If you rush to file a claim for your dog bite, you risk having a weak case. This, in turn, will weaken your arguments and demands during negotiations as the insurance company will challenge them and place the blame on you. On the other hand, you have two years to file your claim, so while you don’t have too much time, you still have enough to build a solid case against the defense.
Should I Get a Dog Bite Attorney in Georgia to Help Me?
You should always try to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Here at John Foy & Associates, we have experienced dog bite lawyers on our team that can help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation available for your dog bite. Remember, dog bites can leave nasty permanent injuries and cause a slew of damages that can wreak havoc on your financial well-being.
All dog owners have a responsibility to control and keep others safe from their pets. Their failure to do so is negligence under Georgia law. Don’t wait too long to talk to one of our lawyers. The longer time passes, the harder it becomes to fight for fair compensation.
Can I Negotiate for a Settlement for a Dog Bite on My Own?
After reporting your dog bite to the proper authorities, you don’t have to go to a lawyer to file a claim and begin negotiations. However, we strongly recommend that you at least speak to us for a free consultation first. While some people can successfully negotiate a claim on their own, the vast majority aren’t.