Dogs are generally friendly and faithful pets. However, some dogs become vicious if they feel threatened. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and 800,000 of those bites require medical care.
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, including the risk of deadly infections from the germs that many dogs carry in their mouths. As a result, many dog bite victims require extensive medical treatment. If you’ve been bitten by a dog recently, do not hesitate to contact a skilled Atlanta dog bite attorney.
Georgia law authorizes injured dog bite victims to sue the dog owners and caretakers (e.g. dog walkers), if the dog owner’s or caretaker’s negligence contributed to the dog’s misconduct. Each incident must be thoroughly investigated to identify all parties that are potentially responsible for the dog bite attack.
The Atlanta premises liability lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC have successfully represented many dog bite victims that suffered serious injuries. We know how important it is for you to recover compensation during this difficult time.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Georgia law requires dog owners and dog caretakers to take reasonable steps to prevent their dogs from causing harm to others. Most counties in Georgia have implemented leash ordinances which require dog owners to contain their dogs on their property (e.g. via a fenced yard), and, when the dog is off property, the dog must be properly leashed and under the control of a responsible person.
Many dog bite attacks occur because the owner failed to keep the dog in a fenced yard. Other attacks occur because the owner or caretaker let the dog roam freely around the neighborhood without a leash. In those types of situations, the owners and/or caretakers are negligent as a matter of law.
Some counties have not implemented leash ordinances. In those counties it is more difficult to prove that an owner was negligent for s dog bite attack. Under those circumstances, you must prove the following:
- The dog is dangerous or vicious. This can be demonstrated by the dog’s history (e.g. prior bites) or simply by its actions in the attack that injured you.
- The owner was careless. An owner must keep a potentially dangerous dog away from a situation where it could harm another person.
- You did not provoke the dog. You cannot have taken specific actions to provoke the dog to attack you.
If you have questions about Georgia’s state laws regarding dangerous or vicious animal attacks, or Georgia county leash ordinances, contact our Atlanta dog bite legal team.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites are rarely simple puncture wounds. Many vicious dogs like pit bulls and rottweilers will rip large portions of flesh and tissue from your body. In addition to damaging your skin or organs, dog bites also expose you to the risk of a serious post-bite infection.
You must seek immediate medical attention after a bite. Even a seemingly mild wound can become much worse over time. Some of the most common harms caused by a violent dog bite include:
- Torn skin and muscle tissue that cannot easily heal
- Infections that develop around the bite wound
- Broken or fractured bones
- Nerve damage that cannot heal
- Transmission of serious and even deadly diseases
- Organ damage through tears or punctures
- Emotional distress or post-traumatic stress disorder
If an off-leash dog injured you or a loved one, contact an Atlanta dog bite attorney from Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC to learn more about your legal options.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer in Atlanta Can Help You
Winning the compensation you deserve can be challenging. In many cases, the dog owner or caretaker attempts to avoid responsibility for the harms they caused by claiming that you did something to provoke the vicious dog. In other cases, the dog owner claims that the dog caretaker is responsible for your losses, while the dog caretaker blames the dog owner.
Our Atlanta dog bite attorneys have successfully litigated dog bite cases for many years. We know how to overcome each one of the defenses that dog owners and caretakers raise in these cases. In each case, we will do the following:
- Tie your injuries directly to the other person’s negligence – Simply showing that the other person was careless or violating local dog leash laws is not enough. You must demonstrate that their actions or inactions directly caused your harms.
- Defeat any accusation of wrongdoing on your part – You cannot recover damages for a dog bite if you provoked the animal. We will collect witnesses statements, video surveillance, and other relevant evidence that demonstrates that you did nothing wrong.
- Show your injuries – You can only recover compensation for proven injuries. This involves collecting details regarding your lost wages, medical bills, therapy needs, and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.
How to Recover Compensation from the Dog Owner or Caretaker
If a vicious dog attacked you while it was off leash and it seriously injured you, the biggest challenge that you may have is recovering fair compensation for your losses.
Many individuals that rent homes and apartments incredibly do not carry renter’s insurance. Moreover, many landlords do not insist that their tenants carry renter’s insurance. As a result, in all too many dog bite cases, the victim’s only way to collect money is to take his or her case to trial, obtain a judgment, and then attempt to collect the judgment from the dog owner’s assets. Unfortunately, most households have relatively few assets, and many assets like IRA and 401k accounts cannot be collected from judgment creditors like you. Therefore, it can potentially take a lifetime to recover compensation for the harms you suffered.
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite attack, you should immediately contact Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers LLC. We will conduct a thorough investigation to identify all sources of insurance and assets that may compensate you for your losses. Many homeowners and renters will not voluntarily agree to produce this information to you, which is another reason why you need to hire an attorney. If the homeowner or renter will not play fair and produce this information to us, we will sue them and get the answers we need to help make you whole.
Call an Atlanta Dog Bite Attorney From Our Firm for Help Today
Dog bites can cause terrible harm. Your injuries may take a very long time to heal. Dog owners and dog caretakers will come up with a list of excuses to avoid responsibility for the harms they caused. Even if a jury awards you fair compensation, it may be challenging to recover that compensation.
For all of these reasons, it’s critical that you hire a skilled dog bite attorney to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, we have helped many people like you that have been injured by vicious animals.