Most of us who have furry friends love them. But what if you encounter a dog that is not familiar with you and it bites you? If you have experienced a dog bite then you know that it can be terrifying and painful. It can go on to change the course of your life for the worse.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you need a skilled Riverdale dog bite lawyer. Get in touch with Humphrey & Ballard Law in Riverdale, GA to schedule a meeting to have a more in-depth discussion of your personal injury case. Our Riverdale dog bite attorneys have years of combined experience under their belts. We will advise you on the best legal path.
Call Humphrey & Ballard Law in Riverdale today at 404-341-0499 to arrange a free consultation.
What Should I Do if I Was Bitten by a Dog?
After a dog bite, it’s okay to be extremely confused. Not only are you scared, but also probably writhing in pain from the bite. As you try to come to terms with the unfortunate event, you should take some steps to legally protect yourself.
Identify the Animal
You first need to identify the dog that bit you and get as much information as you can about it and its owner. Take note of the color, breed, and size of the dog and whether it was restrained or leashed when the attack happened. In addition, get the owner’s contact, name, as well as their insurance information. All this information will become handy when you file your claim.
Document the Scene
If your condition allows you, take pictures and videos of the dog bite scene as you can. Make sure to get pictures of the dog, injuries, witness statements any other valuable information. If there are any signs warning people to beware of the dog, take pictures to prove that the dog had violent tendencies and the owner knew about it.
Seek Medical Attention
Go see a doctor as soon as you leave the dog bite scene. Get treatment even for minor wounds because they can get infected and quickly become dangerous. Getting medical help will ensure the documentation of all your injuries and will help any future claims.
Make a Report
Once you get medical help, report the incident to the police. Once you report the dog bite with Riverdale police, they will investigate the attack, cite the owner and write an official report. Make sure to get a copy of the incident report for future insurance claims.
Finally, speak to a Riverdale dog bite lawyer to follow up on your claim.
Who Do I Report a Dog Bite to in Riverdale, GA?
Immediately after a dog bite in Riverdale, GA, call your local law enforcement officers to file an official report. The police may also help capture and restrain the animal as well as identify its owner. As a precaution, call emergency services and Animal Control. Do not take any dog bite lightly because even the non-scarring ones can cause rabies and tetanus.
Why Should I Hire a Riverdale Dog Bite Lawyer?
There are numerous reasons why you need a Riverdale dog bite attorney. Our team at Humphrey & Ballard Law can help you in many ways like:
- Getting experts from different fields to support your dog bite case.
- Gathering critical information and evidence.
- Obtaining the dog’s records, history, and other important information from Animal Control and the police.
- Getting witness testimonies about the dog attack.
- Negotiating a fair settlement.
- Representing you in court. If your case goes to trial, an attorney will defend your claim.
- Computing total damages, both economic and non-economic.
Owing to the injuries you have sustained from the dog bite, you might not be in the best condition to fight for yourself. You should channel all your focus on recovery, and let a Riverdale dog bite attorney from Humphrey & Ballard Law handle all legal processes involved in your compensation.
Getting an attorney is a critical step in getting a fair settlement. A lawyer will ensure insurance doesn’t downplay your injuries and will get you the compensation you deserve.
Who Is Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
It can be difficult to identify an unrestrained or unleashed dog, especially if you get bitten in an apartment or a public place. Typically, the legal responsibility for your injuries lies with the dog owner.
In Georgia, liability will lie with the dog owner if:
- You can prove that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous
- The owner was aware or should have been aware that the dog was a bite risk
- The owner was careless in the dog’s handling.
With Humphrey & Ballard Law on your side, you can be sure that your rights will be protected and you will get proper compensation. We will also ensure the dog in question does not hurt another person.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect in a Dog Bite Case?
You can get financial compensation for economic and non-economic damages caused by a dog bite via a claim against the owner. You can also get punitive damages and if the attack is fatal, your family members may also be able to get compensation.
This type of compensation is meant to cover your financial losses including:
- Medical bills for emergency treatment, doctor bills, hospital bills, reconstructive surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost income for the period you were unable to work due to your dog bite injuries.
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage such as lost jewelry or torn clothing resulting from the attack.
You may also be entitled to financial compensation for non-economic damages such as the pain and suffering you have endured including mental and physical pain.
Wrongful Death Damages
After an injury from a dog bite turns fatal, the decedent’s children or spouse can get compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages are awarded to compensate for:
- Medical costs
- Burial/funeral costs
- The lost income that the decedent would have provided,
- Lost companionship
You may also be awarded punitive damages if you can be able to prove that the owner either acted intentionally or was reckless. These damages go above and beyond the aforementioned damages, and they are solely meant to punish the at-fault party.
What Does Georgia Law Say About Dog Bites?
There exists a dog bite rule in Georgia known as the modified one bite rule. According to this rule, a Georgia dog owner is liable for a dog bite if they were aware that the dog was vicious.
In Georgia, even if a dog is deemed vicious, the owner can be held responsible if they were careless such as by not restraining or leashing the dog or if the dog bite attack was unprovoked.
Other specific laws regarding dog bites in Georgia include:
- Dangerous dogs, or dogs that are a bite risk, must be registered in Georgia.
- Dangerous dogs must be restrained whether they are outside or inside. When dangerous dogs are outside, they must be enclosed and secured properly.
- If a dangerous dog is outside but not in an enclosure, it should be leashed or chained and muzzled or otherwise restrained.
- Dangerous dog owners should buy liability insurance or buy a surety bond to cover any injuries that may result from their dogs biting someone.
Dog Bite Injury Statistics
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites cases in the United States every year. 800,000+ cases of dog bites in the U.S need medical attention with about 1,000 cases requiring emergency care.
The approximate number of fatalities every year is about 16. Almost half of all the dog bite cases involve children with elderly people and postal service carriers coming in second and third respectively.
Are There Time Limits for Filing a Georgia Dog Bite Lawsuit?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for dog bite injury claims is two years. This means you have a two-year timeline from the date of your dog bite incident to pursue compensation. Once this two-year period expires, any claim you make will be rejected and you will not be able to get a settlement. Be sure to explore your legal options when time is still on your side.
Contact Our Riverdale Dog Bite Lawyers Today!
If you or a loved one was the victim of a vicious dog attack, there might be some legal options to help you recover damages. At Humphrey & Ballard Law, our team of certified and experienced attorneys will navigate you through all your legal options as part of our free initial consultation.
Our dog bite lawyers have been helping dog bite victims in Riverdale and throughout Georgia and we would like to assist you too. Call us at 404-341-0499 or fill out our online contact form today. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us; there are no risks and we don’t charge any upfront fees.