Dogs are “man’s best friend.” But if man’s best friend feels threatened, angry, scared, or is not well-trained, dog bites can happen in Hampton. Getting bitten by a dog can mean painful injuries at the least and life-threatening conditions and trauma, even death, at the worst. With the help of an experienced Hampton dog bite and animal attack lawyer, you may be able to file a claim for treatment costs and more.
You shouldn’t have to cover the expenses of a bite you didn’t cause. John Foy & Associates has the experience and resources to help you build a strong insurance claim. To learn more and get a FREE consultation, call us today at (404) 400-4000.
Two Things You Need to Prove in a Hampton Dog Bite Case
In Georgia, dog bite injuries are legally addressed in the same way as other personal injuries. The person or party who causes an injury accident is responsible for all damages. The dog’s owner is almost always at fault when their dog bites a person.
To file a claim with the owner’s insurance for damages, you will need to prove that:
- The dog’s owner was negligent in the attack and
- The dog caused the injuries and damages you are claiming
1. Proving Negligence
The dog owner must have been negligent, or careless, in some way that led to the bite. Simply showing that the dog is classified as vicious or dangerous (or has a history of vicious behavior) is usually enough to prove negligence.
According to Henry County Animal Control Ordinances, which differentiates between “dangerous” and “vicious” dogs, a dog is deemed dangerous if it has:
- Substantially punctured someone’s skin with their teeth in more severity than a scratch or nip
- Aggressively attacked someone in a way that they could reasonably believe the dog was a threat to serious injury of any person
- Killed another pet animal off of the owner’s property (excluding kills through training, hunting, or other types of work)
If a dog bites and causes serious damage, it is considered vicious.
An owner is also negligent if they did not follow local animal control laws or ordinances. For example, vicious or dangerous dogs must be muzzled, restrained, or caged and not left unattended with minors if they are brought outside of a property enclosure. If you are not clear on the exact laws in Hampton, contact a local dog bite lawyer.
You must also show that you did not provoke the dog to bite you. Dog owners often try to claim that the dog was provoked, even if they were ultimately negligent. This is why you will need to gather proof of the owner’s negligence for your claim and contact a lawyer if you need help.
2. Proving Injuries and Damages
You can begin compiling evidence of your injuries and damages soon after the dog bite occurs. Some ways you can do this include:
- Taking pictures of your dog bite injuries, the dog, and the injury scene
- Keeping track of all expenses related to your injuries, including medical bills and pay stubs
- Filing a bite report the Henry County Animal Care and Control
- Seeing your doctor or going to the emergency room for treatment
You should also wash the bite injuries with soap and water until you can get professional medical care. Then, as soon as possible, do get treatment for your injuries.
What Happens to a Dog After Biting Someone in Hampton
After a bite has been reported to Animal Control, they will quarantine the dog for ten days to see if it shows signs of rabies. In some situations, the owner may also have to surrender their dog to be euthanized. This would only be if the dog is already classified as dangerous or vicious or if a dog control officer determines the dog is vicious after investigation.
If the dog owner has violated laws or county ordinances, they can face imprisonment of up to ten years and fines of up to $10,000.
Owners are also responsible for all damages caused by the dog. In Henry County, dog owners must carry $100,000 in liability insurance (twice the amount required by Georgia state law). As the victim of a dog bite, you would file your injury claim with the owner’s insurance company for these damages.
Common Damages in a Dog Bite Injury Claim
Damages you may face after a dog bite injury include:
- Doctor visits, hospital stays, tests, surgeries and other sources of medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages from missed work time
- Psychological treatment
- Pain and suffering
Keep track of all monetary losses you experience, such as medical bills and lost wages, as proof of your damages.
You may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering like mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, or PTSD. These damages can be worth a lot, but they are also harder to prove. A dog bite lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to demonstrate all damages.
What to Do if You Were Bitten By a Stray
You might worry the dog is stray if you can’t find the owner after the attack. While this is possible, note that many negligent dog owners let their dogs roam freely. Be sure to investigate before assuming you’re dealing with a stray.
Animal Control and your lawyer can help find out more about the dog and whether it has a history. Chances are, neighbors or other Hampton citizens have seen the dog before. They might even know the owner. The more information you can find out, the better the chance of you having a valid claim.
If no owner for the dog can be found, records from local shelters may help find who the dog once belonged to. If the dog was abandoned, for example, and the previous owner is identified, they may end up sharing some liability in the dog bite.
Talk to a Hampton Dog Bite And Animal Attack Lawyer for Free
Dog bites are scary affairs—but you don’t have to suffer through the aftermath alone. At John Foy & Associates, we have been working with dog bite victims for over 20 years. We know what it takes to build successful claims on these complicated cases. To schedule a FREE consultation to discuss your situation with us, call now (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.