Dog Bites

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Dog bites account for approximately 800,000 injuries that require medical attention across the US every year.

Not only can dog bites cause serious bodily harm, there is also a risk of disease and long-term health issues.

It’s a type of injury that takes most victims by surprise. No one expects to be injured by man’s best friend. Yet, a dog attack can cause devastating injuries in just a few moments. Unsurprisingly, most dog attacks involve neighborhood pets biting or attacking children.

Georgia law states the dog owner is responsible for attacks by their animal if they were negligent. This includes being careless, allowing the dog to roam freely, or violating city ordinances.

An unprovoked attack fits the bill. If you’ve been bitten by a dog and sustained an injury, a lawyer could help or your loved one receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered.

biting dog

Dog Attack Laws

Unlike some other states, Georgia’s laws tend to favor the dog owner. However, in 2012 the government passed the ‘Responsible Dog Ownership Law’.

This law states that a dog owner can be liable for their dog’s attack, but only under certain circumstances. Your lawyer will need to prove three things.

First, they’ll need to show that the dog is ‘vicious’ or ‘dangerous.’ You can do this by proving that the dog was off-leash illegally. Your lawyer will look into the dog’s history to see if it has bitten other people before or has shown aggressive tendencies.

Next, they’ll need to show that the dog was at-large due to the owner’s carelessness. This means that the dog was able to approach and bite you due to the owner’s negligence.

Third, they will need to prove that you or the injured party did not provoke the dog in any way.

Under Georgia law, all dogs are considered harmless until proven otherwise. For this reason, many cases become a case of ‘he said she said’. This is where expertise from an experienced lawyer can make the difference.

If you or your loved one received serious injuries and, as a result, have incurred high medical bills, you should consult a lawyer.

If you prove the dog’s owner was negligent and your case is successful, the dog owner could be liable for any expenses you incurred as a result of the injury.

Some of the costs you may be able to claim include:

  • Medical bills (this includes traveling to medical appointments)
  • Ongoing and future costs, such as surgeries and physical therapy
  • Lost wages due to taking time off work to recover from your injuries
  • Compensation for physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish, such as anxiety and depression due to the trauma

Dog bites can cause serious, long-lasting injuries. The medical bills and loss of wages can quickly add up. This is why it’s important you speak with an experienced lawyer that knows the Georgia legal process well.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive?

What to Do if You're Bitten by a Dog

If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, the first thing you need to do is seek medical attention. Being bitten is a traumatic event, you have to put both your physical and emotional health first.

The sooner a doctor or health professional can treat your wounds, the quicker your recovery will be. There is always a risk of infection, too. Getting the necessary preventative treatments, such as a tetanus shot or rabies vaccine is essential.

Next, you or your lawyer can start to gather the information that will strengthen your case. Some of the important evidence that will help your case includes:

Witness statements – Collect names and contact details for anyone who witnessed the attack. Also, take down a short account of what they saw if possible as it may be hard to find them later.

Medical records – Keep all of your medical records and receipts for medical costs incurred as a result of the dog bite. These will certainly be called upon if you want to be compensated.

Photos/Video – Go back to the scene and take some video footage or photos of where the incident happened. Also, take footage of your injuries when they’re new.

Damaged clothing – If any of your clothing was damaged in the attack, keep these items. This can help demonstrate to a judge visually how vicious the attack was.

If you can think of anything else relevant to your case, either make a note or take a picture. Make sure you have the time, date, place, accurately noted down, and are sure who owns the dog.

Why Work With a Lawyer?

Caring for an injured child takes time, money, and energy. You might be too overwhelmed to structure a successful case. If you were the one injured, you might be in too much pain to submit a claim.

Not to mention that the legal system is complex and the smallest error can cause lengthy holdups, or worse, harm your case.

A lawyer can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and determine if you should pursue a case. Although money cannot erase the attack and resulting injury, it can help you pay for better medical care or any other unexpected expenses.

Your lawyer can also help you determine who to sue. Sometimes, you might receive compensation directly from the dog owner. In other cases, you might need to go through their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Dog attacks can cause serious injuries, sometimes resulting in disabilities. If you are unable to continue working, a lawyer can also help you apply for disability benefits.

Call Today

Michael LaScala is a seasoned personal injury attorney in Atlanta. He has worked as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, giving him a broad base of experience in the Georgia legal system. Call the LaScala Firm at (404) 881-8866 today to arrange a consultation.