Dog owners hold the responsibility to keep others safe from their pets. When a dog bite occurs in the state of Georgia, the dog owner is held liable for any damages and is considered negligent according to a modified version of the One Bite Rule.
For example, if the dog attack was completely unprovoked or the dog was not on a leash, dog bite victims can seek a settlement for their injuries. Once you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, you can begin collecting information about your case so that you have evidence to support your claim. While this is an incredibly stressful event, there are experienced animal attack lawyers in Atlanta that have seen many types of these cases and can help you with anything you need.
An Atlanta dog bite attorney will represent your case using the proof you provide and any evidence they find. To get more information about how to initiate a dog bite settlement claim, speak to an Atlanta dog bite lawyer today.
What Happens if a Dog Bites You in Atlanta, Georgia?
If a dog bite or attack results in an injury that requires medical attention, your priority should be getting the medical help you need. While on the scene, you should also gather as much information as possible. Here is what to do immediately after a dog attack in Atlanta, GA:
- Take photos of the dog and your injuries;
- Talk to witnesses of the attack and record their names;
- Call 911 and Animal Control;
- Get the dog owner’s contact information;
- Contact an Atlanta dog bite lawyer to get advice on your case.
Can I Sue For a Dog Bite in Atlanta, Georgia?
Dog bite victims can potentially receive compensation from the dog owner, but the best approach isn’t to sue. Rather, Atlanta dog bite lawyers will help you Negotiate a settlement using the evidence from your dog bite case. Most dog bite cases are settled outside of court, which means that the dog’s owner should eventually agree to a settlement offer. Only if the dog owner decides not to settle would your dog bite attorney advise you to file a lawsuit.
Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite in Atlanta, GA?
You will only be advised to file if the dog owner doesn’t want to file an insurance claim and blames you for the incident. An experienced dog bite attorney in Atlanta can help you prove your claim and gather evidence. Your Atlanta dog bite lawyer will also investigate if there have been any other incidents of attack in the dog’s history, which can help your claim.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Law
Unlike most other states, the dog bite statute in the state of Georgia favors dog owners over victims. This means that to make a successful
dog bite claim, the victim must be able to prove the existence of more than one ground for liability. In the past, there have been several precedents
established stating that a victim cannot file a claim for irresponsible or negligent actions that cause a dog to injure a person, but a skilled personal injury attorney may be able to help you bypass these precedents.
In the Georgia Code Ann., Sec. 51-2-7, it states the following: A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured.
This means that for a dog owner to be found liable for injuries inflicted by his or her animal, the victim must prove the following three factors:
- The animal was vicious or dangerous;
- The defendant had a requisite degree of knowledge;
- The defendant either allowed the dog to run free or carelessly managed the animal.
The victim may only have to prove two of these factors if he or she can also prove that the animal was not at heel or on a leash, as required by a local ordinance. There are many other ordinances in Georgia for which a dog owner can be held strictly liable if an injury attack occurs. These ordinances address issues such as general animal control, running at large without a leash, keeping an animal under restraint while on property, and more.
How Much Can I Seek in Compensation For a Dog Bite?
The compensation you can receive is entirely based on the severity of your dog bite injuries.
In Georgia, the average settlement that victims of dog attacks can receive is about $40,000, but your claim could be much less or much more. This is why it’s important to contact an Experienced Atlanta Dog Bite Attorney who can give you a free case evaluation. Fill out a Contact Form to speak to an Atlanta dog bite lawyer and personal injury attorney and get the legal advice to help you with your case. In general, a dog bite injury can cause you to experience economic and non-economic damages, which can include the following:
In most cases, you will have to get medical treatment before you file a Dog Bite Injury Claim. Not only should you seek medical attention to help you recover from your wounds, but also because you will need the bills for your dog bite case. Your doctor will treat your injuries and any possible infections caused by the dog bite. All of your medical bills resulting from the dog bite injury will be included in your personal injury claim. This can include medication, imaging scans, blood tests, physical therapy, surgery, medical devices, and more. An experienced Atlanta dog bite lawyer will also calculate how much you expect to continue paying in medical bills in the future.
Your dog bite accident may have resulted in you requiring time off from work, causing you to lose wages. When you are unable to work because of Serious Injuries, your dog bite lawyer will also include this in your settlement to compensate you for the lost income. Lost wages include any past, present, and future income.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are among the non-economic damages that your Personal Injury Lawyer can calculate based on how badly you were injured. You may be struggling with anxiety, depression, grief, shame, and other negative emotions. Because dog bites are incredibly traumatizing, the fear of dogs after the incident is not uncommon. PTSD caused by a dog bite is one of the non-economic damages a victim can suffer.
How Much is a Fine For a Dog Bite in Atlanta, Georgia?
In Georgia, negligent owners responsible for Dog Attacks must also pay a fine and might also go to jail. Atlanta dog owners must pay a fine of up to $5,000 and could be penalized with up to a year in prison the first time their dog bites a victim. The dog is then considered a vicious and dangerous dog even if it has no previous history of attacking anyone.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
After a dog attack, you likely will have several injuries because of the dog bites. Dog bites are rated on a Scale From One To Five. Here are some of the types of dog attack wounds a victim might experience:
Dog bites will sometimes cause deep puncture wounds if the dog clamped onto a body part. Dog bites that cause puncture wounds are considered to be level three or four on the dog bite severity scale. Puncture wounds cause severe bleeding, muscle tissue injuries, and other complications.
Dogs can attack the eye region, resulting in Periocular Or Eye Injuries. Eye injuries cause damage to the bony orbit, globe, rectus muscles, lacrimal gland, levator muscle, canaliculi, and facial nerve. Because of the dog bite attack, you can be temporarily or permanently blinded in one or both eyes.
Dog bite attacks are also known to cause damage to the nerves. For example, neurapraxia is a form of nerve damage that happens when trauma forces nerves to stretch incorrectly. Symptoms of neuropraxia are numbness, stinging, burning, and other uncomfortable sensations. Nerve damage often causes partial to full disability and can require surgery and physical therapy.
When a dog attacks your face, you could experience swelling to the face, mouth, tongue, and airway. Dog bites can crush the mandible bones and sinus airways. These attacks can also create other fractures in the facial bones.
Head and Neck Injuries
Dog bites to the neck region are dangerous because of the veins in the throat. The force of a dog bite can crush the airway, the esophagus, blood vessels, and nerves. It is also possible to get knocked over after a dog attack, potentially resulting in a concussion if you hit your head on the ground.
Broken and Fractured Bones
The force of a dog bite can be between 230 to 250 psi and more. A dog can fracture and crush bones in the arms, legs, hands, feet, ankles, wrists, and face. If you are pushed to the ground, you could also break or fracture bones. Broken bones are quite severe injuries that can cost a lot in medical fees ⎯ surgery, casts, and physical therapy will be required for broken or fractured bones.
A dog’s bite can cause substantial scarring, sometimes resulting in disfigurement. Dog bite scars can be permanent and often have a psychological impact on the victim. Permanent scars can cause a poor body image, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Scar tissue can also be painful and uncomfortable if it is extremely severe, limiting sensation in the affected area. Surgical procedures are often required to reduce or remove heavy scarring.
Tissue and Muscle Damage
Dog bites often penetrate deep into the muscle tissue. This can cause muscular sarcoidosis, which results in limited mobility, joint issues, and inflammation. When the dog bite is extremely severe, it can cause nerve and tendon damage. Arms, legs, wrists, and ankles can lose function, resulting in temporary or permanent disability.
Most dog bites require antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections from spreading. The pet owner may not have given their dog a rabies shot, which means you will have to get tested for rabies. Your doctor will perform a lab test to identify any infectious diseases you received from the dog. Other infections you can get from the dog include sepsis and tetanus. About 50% Of Dog Bites result in streptococcus, staphylococcus, capnocytophaga, and Pasteurella bacterial infections. Antibiotics like amoxicillin-clavulanate can help with the infection. You might also need intravenous therapy to help you recover from an infectious dog bite.
How Do Atlanta Dog Bite Attorneys Help?
Every year, several individuals are seriously injured or killed by a dog attack. Most homeowners carry homeowner’s insurance, which often covers this type of incident. In the case of a serious injury or death, the insurance company often offers extremely low settlements or denies the claim altogether.
If you were injured by a dog, you will need an experienced dog bite attorney in Atlanta to protect your interests and help you fight for the compensation you deserve under personal injury law. A skilled Atlanta premises liability lawyer from our legal team at Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C. can protect your right to the compensation you need to address all damages.
Your Atlanta dog bite attorney will prove how you are owed compensation by filing a claim. They determine who can be held liable for the dog bite, which typically is the dog owner or the person who is responsible for making sure the dog stays under control. They will also gather evidence to prove your dog bite claim to make sure you receive full compensation for your damages. The dog bite lawyer will review your dog bite injuries to better understand how severe your wounds are and will accurately calculate a fair settlement amount. Once how much you are owed is established, your attorney will seek a settlement by negotiating the amount with the dog owner. Your attorney must do this within the two-year limit from the date of the dog attack according to Georgia’s statute of limitations. The attorney will update you on the progress of the personal injury claim and request any additional information if necessary. They may call on eyewitnesses and investigate your claim to find more proof.
If you have additional questions, direct them to an experienced dog bite law firm that can provide knowledgeable answers. Your dedicated attorney will work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t have to pay any upfront fees. Instead, once you receive a settlement, your attorney gets a percentage of your compensation. If you were bitten by a dog and need help proving your claim, call us now.
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According to Georgia law, you have two years from your dog bite injury to file a claim. After the two-year deadline, the court can deny your case. Hiring an Atlanta dog bite lawyer can help eliminate stress from this process – our animal attack attorneys have High Rates Of Success and can make sure you file on time and that your claim has the evidence you need to be admissible. Read more about our team of experienced and knowledgeable Atlanta dog bite attorneys Here.
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, we encourage you to contact a Georgia dog bite attorney as soon as possible. An experienced animal attack lawyer will walk you through the details of your case and your options. Read below to learn more about other practice areas and conditions that may apply to your claim:
- Premises Liability may apply if your injury happened on a property where the owner or landlord could have reasonably prevented the injury;
- A Workers Compensation Lawyer can help if you were on duty at your job when the dog attacked;
- Dog bite cases fall under Personal Injury, a broad area of law covering negligence — you can find more answers about these types of cases Here.
Luckily, our Atlanta dog bite lawyers at Henningsen Injury Attorneys P.C. specialize in personal injury law and have expertise in all the laws and practice areas that might relate to a dog bite incident. No matter your situation, we are here to help.