When a dog attacks, it can leave a person with stitches, pain, life-changing injuries, and a lifetime of trauma. Dog bites are not uncommon in Jonesboro, and they can be terrifying events for both children and adult victims. In many cases, the dog owner will claim their dog was not at fault, or was even provoked, and try to deny any claim. But more often than not, the law is on the victim’s side. You may have a right to recover damages for your injuries, medical costs and more. Talk to a Jonesboro dog bite lawyer.
The dog bite attorneys at John Foy & Associates can help you. John Foy has a 20+ year reputation of fighting for those who were injured—including dog bite victims and their families. Our law firm has become one of the most respected personal injury firms in the state, and we have helped numerous people in Jonesboro recover substantial money for their claims. Our commitment is simple: we charge you nothing if we cannot win money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to discuss your dog bite claim—and help you get answers. Give us a call at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
Is the dog owner liable for a dog bite in Jonesboro?
In many cases, yes. The City of Jonesboro follows Georgia state law, which says that a dog has to be considered “vicious” in order for the owner to be liable in most cases. While “vicious” may sound extreme, the truth is it’s easier to prove than you think. There are two main ways that a dog can be considered vicious in Georgia:
- If the dog is off-leash or uncontrolled. Generally speaking, dog owners have a duty to control their animal. In most cases that means using a leash. While a dog does not have to be leashed in its own home or in certain dog parks, in most public places a leash is When the owner fails to use a leash, or fails to use the leash to control the dog, and the dog goes on to bite someone—the dog can be considered vicious.
A leash isn’t the only way for a dog to be controlled. For example, if a dog is free to roam its own yard, there should be a dog-proof fence keeping it in. A dog that gets out of its yard and roams free is likely to be considered vicious as well.
- The dog has bitten or attacked people before. In Georgia, regardless of the leash situation, a dog is considered vicious if it has ever attacked someone previously. That means that even a “controlled” dog could be considered vicious depending on its history. This is why it’s so important to investigate the dog and its background after any dog bite incident.
These aren’t the only ways a dog can be considered vicious, but they are the most common. Some dogs are even automatically considered vicious because of their breed—particularly certain fighting breeds. Your lawyer can help you determine if the dog counts as vicious in your case, but to be clear, any dog that attacks someone was potentially uncontrolled in some way. If the dog counts as vicious, it means the owner is probably liable for all of your costs and damages.
What if I was bitten on the private property of the dog owner?
These are often the most complicated cases. There are a few factors affecting how a dog bite claim works if it was on the dog owner’s property. For example:
- Did the owner know you were on the premises? If they didn’t know, they may not have had any duty to restrain their dog. If they did know you were there, they may have had a legal duty to make the premises safe for you, including controlling their animals.
- Was the animal controlled or crated? Crating a dog isn’t required by law, even with guests on the property. But it is one sure-fire way of controlling the dog around other people.
- Was the owner watching the dog? An unsupervised dog around guests may lead to a stronger claim.
- Were you working on the property? Generally, dogs should be caged or controlled anytime workers (such as painters, landscapers, plumbers, etc.) enter the property. Failure to do so may count as negligence.
- Are you a relative or close friend of the dog owner? This doesn’t change your legal rights, but it does change how we handle your claim. Remember that your claim is against the owner’s property insurance, not against the owner themselves.
When a dog attack happens on private property, it can make the claim process itself more challenging, but it can also be good for you—because it almost always means there’s an insurance policy available to pay your damages.
What if my child was bitten by a dog?
These are some of the most heartbreaking cases. Your legal rights are the same—your family can recover damages for the pain, suffering, medical costs and other losses you and your child suffered.
However, child dog bites also tend to come with extreme trauma. Children are more likely than adults to suffer ongoing fear, anxiety, or phobia of dogs because of an attack. It can be hard for a child to make sense of what happened and why, especially if injuries are severe. There is a strong chance you can recover money for emotional anguish and the cost of therapy in addition to your other damages.
Children are also much less likely to look for the dog owner or recognize whose dog it was in an attack in a public area. If you aren’t certain whose dog bit your child, call Clayton County Animal Control as soon as possible—they may be able to help.
Your next step should be to talk to a lawyer. Your attorney can also help you track down the dog, built a strong case, and put together the facts you need to recovery money.
Talk to a Jonesboro Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Never face the aftermath of a dog bite without the help of a lawyer. Both the dog owner and their insurance company are likely to work against you—you need to make fast, smart decisions to enforce your legal rights. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to the right to schedule your free consultation today.