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Our Dog Bites Lawyers in Georgia Can Help You, Today!

If you have been injured in a dog attack in Norcross or elsewhere in Gwinnett County, you may be entitled to financial compensation to pay for your expenses, pain and suffering, and other related losses.

Dog owners in Georgia have a responsibility to control their pets. If they fail in this duty and you are injured as a result, you may be able to hold them financially responsible for the harm you’ve suffered.

Georgia dog bite law is complex. Pursuing a successful claim for compensation can be challenging. To give yourself the best chance of securing the full amount of compensation you need, you should hire an experienced Georgia dog bite lawyer.

A lawyer can investigate your case, gather the evidence, and negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf to help you pursue the full amount of money that you need after a dog attack.

Adamson & Cleveland, LLC have been representing personal injury victims in the Atlanta area since 1994. Our experienced dog bite attorneys will do what it takes to seek full compensation for you after a dog attack.

To learn more about how we can help you pursue a successful claim for compensation, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Dog Bite in Georgia?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to hold the owner of the dog that attacked you financially responsible for your injuries and expenses. However, you will only be able to do this if your case meets certain requirements.

Georgia’s dog bite statute is unique. In some states, you can hold a dog owner liable for injuries their dog causes regardless of the dog’s history. In other states, you can hold a dog owner liable for injuries their dog inflicts only if the dog had bitten someone in the past. Georgia’s dog bite laws rest somewhere in the middle.

Georgia is a negligence state for dog bites, meaning that you must prove the four elements of negligence: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. However, Georgia uses a trimmed-down definition of negligence for dog bites.

Even if the dog that bit you had never bitten anyone in the past, you may still be able to hold the owner accountable if the owner should have known the dog was dangerous, or if the owner was in violation of leash laws. Even if a dog had never behaved aggressively in the past, allowing a dog to “go at liberty” in violation of leash laws could count as proof of dangerousness under Georgia law.

It is important to note that if you provoked the dog, you may not be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Similarly, you may not be able to recover compensation if you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack.

Dog bite claims are usually brought against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance. For this reason, if you were attacked by a dog belonging to a friend, family member, or neighbor, you should not hesitate to bring a claim. The money for your compensation will most likely not come out of their pocket, but rather from an insurance policy they have already paid for.

We recognize that pursuing a claim against someone you know can be stressful and awkward, which is why it is especially helpful to hire a lawyer. Allowing a lawyer to negotiate with your friend or neighbor’s insurer on your behalf can help to minimize any strain on your relationship, while letting you recover compensation to pay for your injuries.

“Very knowledgeable and helpful staff. My attorney took out the time to explain the step by step process and held me by the hand all the way to the finish line. I was very pleased with my settlement and am happy that I chose Adamson & Cleveland to represent me.” Anonymous

How an Animal Attack Lawyer Can Help You

Hiring a lawyer is a crucial step in pursuing compensation for a dog bite claim. A lawyer familiar with Georgia’s unique dog bite statute will know what evidence will be necessary to prove that the dog in question was dangerous. “Dangerous” has a very specific meaning under Georgia law, which an experienced lawyer will understand and will collect evidence to prove.

While you focus on your recovery, your lawyer can gather the necessary evidence, file all the necessary paperwork, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Lawyers can handle all communications with insurers for you. Insurance adjusters often use deceptive tactics to trick injury victims into admitting fault for their injuries. With a lawyer handling communication on your behalf, you can ensure that this does not happen to you.

If you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, such as if the insurer argues that you provoked the dog, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault.

For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in compensation but are found to be 25% responsible for your injuries, you will ultimately receive only $75,000. Furthermore, if you are found to be 50% or more responsible for your injuries, you will be barred from recovering anything. A lawyer can advocate on your behalf to ensure you are assigned as little blame as possible so that you can recover the maximum amount of compensation.

It is further possible that insurance will reach out immediately after a dog attack to offer you a settlement. If you are injured, stressed, and facing unexpected medical bills, it may be tempting to accept this offer. However, be advised that these offers are usually lowball figures that will not cover all of your losses.

Don’t accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without first speaking to an attorney. A lawyer can evaluate the settlement offer to determine whether it appropriately compensates you for your losses and can negotiate on your behalf if it doesn’t.

Why Dog Bites Can Be So Serious

The immediate consequences of dog bites are often jagged, open wounds. However, a more serious risk may be infection. About half of dog bites introduce bacteria, which can require hospitalization and antibiotics to treat. In rare cases, the dog may introduce a more serious illness, such as rabies, which can be fatal.

If you are attacked by a dog, learn everything you can about the dog that bit you and get medical treatment as soon as possible.

Some dog bites can also lead to permanent disfigurement. People can lose fingers or suffer serious scars as a result of a dog attack. In tragic cases, usually involving children, people can even die as a result of a dog attack.

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Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Georgia

Through a personal injury claim, you will be able to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages which are easily calculable, including:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Rehabilitative damages

To facilitate the recovery of these damages, be sure to hold on to all your receipts as you pursue treatment for your injuries after the accident.

Non-economic damages are intangible but equally real damages that you might experience due to a dog attack. These can include, for example:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

In rare cases, you may also be able to pursue punitive damages. These damages are awarded only when the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious. They are meant primarily to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future.

Pet Safety Laws in Georgia

Georgia Statute § 4-8-29 is the state’s dangerous dog control law. Under this statute, the owner of a dangerous dog may not allow their dog off their property unless the dog is restrained on a short leash or in a cage. If the dog is on the owner’s property, the dog must be enclosed in a fence designed to prevent the dog from leaving the property, restrained on a leash, or kept in a cage.

It is also illegal for a dangerous dog to be left unattended with minors. Violation of this law is considered a misdemeanor. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites

It has long been said that dogs are man’s best friend. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes, dogs become violent and bite or attack people, even when they have not been provoked. Victims of dog bites and attacks are usually taken by surprise and feel a great amount of shock afterwards. They also typically have many questions about what they should do next.

Below are just a few of the most frequently asked questions people have after a dog bite and the answers to them. If you have been the victim of a dog bite, our Norcross dog bite lawyers at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, can answer any other questions you may have about the specific facts and circumstances in your own case. Call or reach us online today for a free consultation.

  • What steps should I take if a dog bites me or someone in my family?
  • Does Georgia have a dog bite statute?
  • Does Georgia have any breed-specific dog bite laws?
  • How can I prove that a dog was “vicious” or “dangerous” one?
  • What does allowing a dog to run “at large” mean?
  • What is a “leash law” and does Norcross have one?
  • If I can’t bring a dog bite statute claim, do I have any other legal options?
  • If a dog bites me while I’m working, will workers’ comp cover it?
  • What damages can I recover in a dog bite claim?
  • How long do I have to file a dog bite claim in Georgia?

What steps should I take if a dog bites me or someone in my family?

A dog’s mouth is filled with bacteria that is harmful to humans. When a dog bites and breaks through a person’s skin, that bacteria can make the victim quite sick. For this reason, after a dog bite, you should seek medical attention right away. This medical care can also help prove the damages you sustained as a result of the attack. Also, make sure to keep any damaged or bloodied clothing, and take pictures of your injuries. If there were witnesses, write down their names and contact information and try to get the homeowner’s insurance information. Lastly, contact animal control to report the attack so the dog can be documented as a dangerous dog.

Does Georgia have a dog bite statute?

Georgia does have a dog bite statute. However, it is different than dog bite laws that you find in many other states. Georgia law holds dog owners responsible for their pets, but they are not strictly liable. In other words, a dog owner cannot be held liable just because the dog bit someone. Instead, Georgia follows the one-bite rule. The name is a little misleading. The law does not necessarily require that a dog has bitten someone in the past. Instead, victims must show that the dog owner had reason to believe that the dog was dangerous or had aggressive tendencies.

Does Georgia have any breed-specific dog bite laws?

Georgia has no laws which pertain to specific breeds of dogs. However, some cities have enacted ordinances that prohibit certain breeds such as pit bulls.

How can I prove that a dog was “vicious” or “dangerous” one?

If you have been bitten by a dog, a full investigation will likely need to be conducted to gather evidence. This evidence can include a review of public records, statements from eyewitnesses of the attack, and testimony from people that have noticed the dog’s aggressive behavior in the past. The owner may have posted signs warning people of dangerous behavior, or animal control or emergency medical responders may have files pertaining to the dog’s violent nature.

What does allowing a dog to run “at large” mean?

When a dog runs at large, it means that they are not on the owner’s premises, they are not wearing a leash, and they are in no way under the owner’s control.

What is a “leash law” and does Norcross have one?

A leash law is simply a law which orders dog owners to keep their pets on a leash in certain areas. Norcross, for instance, has a leash law. Under Gwinnett County local ordinances, dog owners must keep their dog on a leash any time the animal is not humanely and securely enclosed on the owner’s premises.

If I can’t bring a dog bite statute claim, do I have any other legal options?

If you cannot file a dog bite statute claim, you can bring a claim based on negligence. In other words, did the dog owner fail to act reasonably to prevent the dog from attack you or a loved one? If not, you may be eligible to pursue damages in a dog bite lawsuit.

If a dog bites me while I’m working, will workers’ comp cover it?

Some workers are more likely to suffer from a dog bite than others, such as postal workers, delivery people and construction workers. When this happens, workers can file a workers’ compensation claim if they are eligible, and their employer carries it. Workers’ compensation will provide the financial compensation workers need immediately following the dog bite or attack.

However, if an injured worker later files a personal injury claim and is awarded compensation, the insurance company that provided workers’ compensation can place a lien against it. This means that the insurance company has a right to receive the amount of compensation that it provided. That compensation will come from the personal injury settlement or award.

What damages can I recover in a dog bite claim?

Through a personal injury claim, victims can potentially recover many different types of damages. The most common damages include medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

How long do I have to file a dog bite claim in Georgia?

Victims of dog bites can file a claim for compensation, but they have only a limited amount of time to do so. This is due to the statute of limitations in Georgia, which states that victims have only two years to file a claim for compensation. If you file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, you will likely forfeit your right to compensation.

Get Help from an Experienced Norcross Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog bites and attacks do not cause only physical injuries. They can also cause emotional distress and leave people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you have been the victim of a dog bite, it is important that you speak to one of our Norcross dog bite attorneys at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC. We are dedicated to helping victims to pursue compensation they need and deserve, and we want to help you, too. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.

Contact Us Now for Legal Help After a Dog Attack

If you or a loved one were injured by a dog attack in Norcross or anywhere else in Gwinnett County, do not hesitate to reach out to Adamson & Cleveland, LLC. We have been fighting for the rights of accident victims since 1994. In that time, we have recovered more than $47 million for our clients.

We are skilled at negotiating settlements outside of court, but we are also unafraid to take your case to trial if necessary. We will do what it takes to pursue the full amount of compensation you need.

We have been so successful in the field of personal injury law because we treat every case as unique. We will never use a one-size-fits-all approach for your case. Instead, we will spend the time and energy necessary to investigate every detail of your case to ensure nothing is overlooked. This thoroughness will give you and your claim the best chance of being successful.

To learn more about how we can help you seek the financial compensation you are owed if a dog has bitten you, contact us today for a free and confidential claim review.