Although dogs are man’s best friend, they can be very dangerous for some Fayetteville residents. When a dog feels threatened or uncomfortable, or just has violent tendencies, it can lash out at whoever or whatever is around it. In some cases, that can be your arms, legs, hands, or face. When a dog bites, it can cause long-term problems like disfigurement and nerve damage. It can also result in a loss of blood that can be life-threatening. When you have been bitten by a dog, you need a Fayetteville dog bite lawyer to help you start your legal case.
John Foy & Associates has over 20 years of experience helping dog bite victims in the Fayetteville area. We understand how traumatizing a dog bite can be, especially for children, who are the most frequent dog bite victims. As personal injury attorneys, we can help you determine your legal rights after a dog bite case. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
I was just bitten by a dog. What should I do?
You should always get medical attention right away if you need it after a dog bite incident. If you are unsure if you need to see a doctor, don’t take any chances and head to the hospital. You should then take the following steps if you are able to do so.
- Identify the animal that bit you.
Knowing who the dog belongs to is not only helpful for your personal injury case, it will also help you determine if the dog is vaccinated as well. You may need to get a series of rabies shots if you cannot learn if the dog was properly vaccinated. You should be sure to communicate with the owner of the dog that you were bitten so they can report the incident to their insurance company, if necessary.
Finding out who the dog’s owner is will also help you learn if this dog has attacked anyone else before. This type of information is vital for your dog bite case.
- Talk to witnesses of the attack.
If you can, get the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. Having witnesses will help you prove where you were the dog bite you and the circumstances surrounding the event.
- Take pictures of your injuries and damage.
It’s a good idea to have photos of your injuries after the incident. Showing these pictures to a judge or jury will have a bigger impact in your personal injury case.
- Call a dog bite lawyer—call John Foy & Associates.
Having an attorney who knows the dog bite laws in Georgia can be extremely helpful. Don’t wait to get a lawyer involved. Your lawyer will be able to investigate your case, talk to the insurance company on your behalf, and help you along the way through your personal injury claim. You are much more likely to have a good result if you get help from an experienced Fayetteville dog bite lawyer.
When is a dog’s owner liable for a dog bite?
A dog owner is legally responsible for their dog’s actions. But, a dog must first be considered “vicious” under Georgia law before that liability applies. A vicious dog meets the following qualifications:
- The dog has exhibited previously aggressive behavior (often including snapping, growling, or barking aggressively)
- The dog has bitten someone in the past
- The dog was not confined or on a leash in an area where it should have been
In Georgia, if a dog is supposed to be on a leash or in a fenced-in space, it can be considered vicious just by being off of its rope, even if it has never been aggressive before. This rule encourages dog owners to keep their pets on a leash and contained within fenced-in yards or other locations, but where dogs can be unleashed varies by location.
Are there criminal penalties for vicious dogs?
Dog owners can be liable to you for your injuries and damage after a dog bite. But, they can also face criminal fines in Georgia. When a dog’s owner does not leash or contain a vicious dog, they can be fined for committing a misdemeanor. The fine will be no less than $300.00. If there is more than one violation, then the punishment is increased to $500.00. If the dog is loose and bites someone, then the fines and penalties also increase.
When a dog bites or attacks someone, the dog is immediately taken by a law enforcement officer or animal control. The dog is then quarantined until it can be determined whether the dog is unsafe or unhealthy. Vicious dogs are required to be “destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner” according to Georgia law. However, Georgia gives most dogs one “free” bite, meaning most dogs will not be harmed if they’ve only attacked someone once.
How long do I have to start a dog bite claim in Georgia?
Georgia has a “statute of limitations” that applies to dog bite incidents. If you try to start a lawsuit outside of this period, then your claim will be dismissed as being late. You lose your right to get money damages if you don’t file in time.
The statute of limitations for dog bite claims in Georgia is two years from the date of the injury. You may think that two years seems like a long time, but it can take months or even years to recover from a dog bite incident completely. You may not fully understand the extent of your injuries or damage until long after the dog attack occurs. But, starting your case early will increase your chances of getting money damages because you can speak to witnesses and recall facts better just after the incident.
Talk to a Fayetteville Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
We can help you work through your dog bite claim. You don’t have to go through this process alone. John Foy & Associates can be a vital resource and helping hand through the entire process. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.