Dog owners have the responsibility to control their animals to protect the people around them. When they fail in those duties and a dog attacks, the consequences can be life-shattering.
If you have been bitten by a dog as a result of the owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Georgia attorneys at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC are experienced dog bite lawyers. We’re here to help and protect our Athens neighbors who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one after a dog attack.
Call or contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Bitten by a Dog?
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself after a dog attack. The No. 1 priority is to seek medical attention. What seems like a minor bite could become life-threatening if an infection sets in. Getting timely medical treatment also protects your legal claim. Medical records are essential to any strong personal injury case.
If you’re not incapacitated from the bite, take photos of the dog, the dog’s owner, the injury, and signs or landmarks that could be used to identify where the encounter occurred.
If the dog owner is cooperative, you should gather his or her name, contact information, and details about the dog, particularly whether it is up-to-date on vaccinations. Unfortunately, many dog owners take their dogs and disappear from the scene, making it difficult to hold them liable unless there is photo evidence that can help track them down.
How Do I Report a Dog Bite?
If the dog bite injuries are severe, call 911 immediately for medical help. The next report you make should be to the police. If the bite is minor, you can call the non-emergency number. But if you are severely injured or if the dog owner is uncooperative, don’t hesitate to seek emergency help.
When police arrive, provide only your account of what happened. Don’t speculate about whether you provoked the dog. Any statement that you make could be used against you.
You should report the bite to Athens-Clarke County Animal Services. They will open a case in order to investigate the dog’s vaccination history and any past records of biting or aggressive behavior.
What Are Georgia’s Dog Bite Laws?
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 51-2-7, dog owners can be held responsible for injuries caused if the following are true:
- The owner knew (or should have known) that the dog was vicious or had the potential to be dangerous.
- The dog was not on a leash or at heel as required by local laws and ordinances.
- You did not provoke the dog to bite.
- You suffered injuries as a result of the bite.
It’s important to note that an owner cannot be held liable unless there is evidence that their negligence or carelessness led to the dog bite. It can very difficult to prove that a dog had a prior history of viciousness. Many dog owners will deny any aggressive behavior to protect their own interests.
Additionally, leash laws vary from city to city. Our skilled attorneys will take the time to understand the laws that are applicable in your situation. We will use every resource available to gather evidence and build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Will the Dog Be Put Down If I Report the Bite?
You may be concerned that the dog could be put down if you report the dog bite injury. Georgia law usually gives dogs a second chance after causing an injury for the first time. However, if a dog injures a human more than once, it may be euthanized.
Are Some Dog Breeds More Likely to Bite Than Others?
One study from The Ohio State University found that pit bulls and mixed-breed dogs are responsible for the most dog bite injuries in children. But without proper training and discipline, any breed of dog can potentially injure a human. It is important to note that Georgia does not have any laws regarding specific dog breeds, although some cities do prohibit certain breeds.
What Compensation Can I Get After a Dog Bite Injury?
No dog bite lawyer can — or should — guarantee a specific result for you. However, the compensation that may be available to you after a dog attack include:
- Past, current and future medical bills
- Long-term rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological treatment
- Lost enjoyment of life
If you have gone through the heartbreak of losing a family member from a dog attack, you can file a wrongful death claim to cover funeral and burial expenses, loss of future earnings, and loss of companionship.
If the dog owner is a friend or family member, you may be hesitant to report the bite or hold them financially accountable. The good news is that most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bites, so the dog owner would likely not need to pay the compensation out of his or her own pocket.
Medical bills can add up, so it is important for you to seek legal help to secure maximum compensation for your dog bite injury. In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a dog bite claim for compensation.
Put Our Years of Experience to Work for You
Dog bite injury cases are not always straightforward, and it’s natural to have questions about the legal process. At Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, you can get the answers you need from proven attorneys with a track record of success representing dog bite victims in Athens and the surrounding communities.
Attorneys Kevin Adamson and Alan Cleveland are Georgia natives who are dedicated to providing compassionate, personalized legal services to their clients. We know what it takes to build a solid and successful legal claim. We’ll fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, online or by calling (404) 581-9100 to schedule a free consultation.