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Dog Bite Attorney in Tyrone, Georgia
If you have been bitten by a dangerous dog, you may be facing not only emotional trauma and significant pain, but medical bills as a result of your injuries from the dog attack. Injuries from dog bites can be very serious and require many months of recovery. While you cannot technically hold the dog responsible, an experienced law firm can help you recover financially from the owner of the animal.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year in the United States. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation. A dog bite injury lawyer in Georgia can help you file a claim against the dog owner responsible for your injuries. If your claim is denied, your case can be taken to court to fight for damages.
Our seasoned dog bite injury lawyers at the Jewkes Law Firm, LLC, want to provide you with the information you need to make important decisions and reduce your stress levels during this difficult time.
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Georgia Dog Attack Law
A dog owner, under Georgia law, can be liable for caused by a dog attack or bite. However, injured persons must prove another person is liable for their injuries. Essentially the victim must prove that the dog’s owner failed to act with reasonable care to keep others safe.
Injured persons must show that:
- the dog owner knew the dog had a history of aggressive or violent behavior.
- the dog owner acted carelessly.
- the owner purposely released the dog or did not properly supervise the animal.
Georgia law defines what makes a dog dangerous, violent, or aggressive. See O.C.G.A. § 4-8-21. These descriptions are usually referred to the dog being “vicious” or having a “vicious propensity.” According to the statute, such a dog is one that A) inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation; or B) aggressively bites, attacks or endangers others without provocation after the dog has been classified as a potentially dangerous dog. For a more in-depth review of facts that may qualify a dog as vicious or having a vicious propensity, see the 2019 Georgia Supreme Court decision of Tyner v. Matta-Troncoso (305 Ga. 480).
Many counties in Georgia, including Coweta, Fulton, Clayton, and Fayette County, have adopted very similar ordinances or adopted the State statutes entirely. See, for example, Coweta County’s own website for dog bite laws.
Victims who seek compensation after a dog bite or attack usually file a claim against the dog owner. Many people are hesitant to do this because the dog owner may be a friend or family member. However, a lawsuit or personal injury claim is usually a claim handled by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy and not the dog owner.
Specifically, Georgia law providers 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. In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance of a city, county, or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash. The foregoing sentence shall not apply to domesticated fowl including roosters with spurs. The foregoing sentence shall not apply to domesticated livestock.
See O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7.
Steps to Follow After a Dog Attack
There are a few important steps you can focus on after an attack to protect your safety and your legal rights. Always seek medical attention first if your injury is serious.
Identify the dog’s owner. Whether the dog that bit you belongs to a neighbor you know well or one you have never met, you should know your neighbor’s name, ask for their contact information. You should also ask for vaccination records.
Contact animal control. Any animal bite or scratch that breaks the skin should be reported to the local rabies control authority. You can report an animal attack to Animal Care Services.
Get medical attention. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. This will help document your injury as you prepare to file a claim for compensation.
Gather evidence. If you are able, take photos of the dog, the scene of the attack, and your injuries. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information so your attorney can follow up with them later.
Contact an experienced dog bite lawyer in Georgia. The dog owner’s insurance company will try everything in their power to minimize your payout or deny your claim altogether. Filing a claim for compensation can be tedious, technical, and time-consuming. This is why you need a skilled dog bite attorney on your side from the start, aggressively advocating for the full and fair compensation you need to heal.
Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury
There’s no way for a dog bite attorney to put a specific figure on your case without carefully reviewing the details first. But in general, a victim of a dog bite can seek several types of compensation including:
Medical expenses: This includes emergency transportation costs, surgical bills, hospital bills, and all other medical expenses resulting from the incident.
Pain and suffering: Your attorney will consult with expert witnesses who will assess your injuries and the dog’s physical traits to determine the level of pain you experienced. A judge will use this testimony to award an appropriate amount of compensation.
Lost income: You can claim compensation for the income you would have reasonably expected to earn had the attack not taken place.
Property damage: In cases where the dog damaged any of your personal belongings.
Scars: In many cases, especially in those involving young children, dog bites leave permanent physical and emotional scars. Permanent scars can be the most important aspect of a dog bite injury claim.
Punitive damages: In cases where the dog owner displays a pattern of repeated violations of any of the dog laws, damages designed to punish the dog owner may be awarded.
In most cases, hiring an expert dog bite lawyer in Georgia is necessary to protect your rights and ensure you are fairly compensated. To discuss your case, contact the dog attack lawyers at Jewkes Law Firm, LLC, today.
Deadlines for Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Georgia
If you do not file your claim by the set deadline, the courts have the right to deny your claim, and you will be unable to receive compensation. According to the statute of limitations, as per Georgia Code § 9-3-33, you have two years from the date of your injuries to file a dog bite claim. This clock starts to run whether you are the victim or are filing on behalf of the victim, such as your child or your deceased loved one.
An experienced dog bite injury lawyer in Georgia can ensure you file on time and that your claim is comprehensive enough to not get kicked back to you and you miss your time to file.
See a Lawyer!
Georgia’s dog bite laws are some of the most complicated in the United States. If you or your loved one is a victim of a dog bite injury, you should be focusing on healing rather than deciphering intricate legal codes or insurance policies. Experienced Georgia dog bite lawyers can help you navigate the claims process and build the most persuasive case possible.
Ways our attorneys may be able to help include:
- Investigation: We take great care in evaluating the details of your case and the relevant laws or policies that may affect it.
- Collection evidence: Strong cases are built on strong evidence. Eyewitness interviews, injury photographs, and medical bills may all be used as evidence, for example.
- Communications with insurance companies – Many accident victims worry about making statements when filing claims. To help you avoid saying something that could harm your claim, your lawyer will handle all communications with insurance companies on your behalf.
- Negotiating for compensation – After building a strong case, your attorney can negotiate from a position of strength for a settlement that covers your losses.
- Preparing legal documents – As a part of the process, your lawyer may prepare documents such as demand letters, legal complaints, or spoilation letters to preserve evidence.
- Court Representation: If your dog bite injury case goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you in court and advocate for your rights and interests.
Call the qualified dog-bite attorneys at The Jewkes Firm, LLC now at (770) 741-2517 or (678) 688-8296 and get an immediate free consultation.
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