Being bitten by a dog may be a terrifying experience. Unprovoked aggression from an animal, especially larger breeds, may cause serious injury and lead to lasting damage. Animal attacks may come from pets known to be aggressive or from seemingly calm and domesticated pets who have never shown aggression before. Either way, the victim of such an incident may suffer significant injuries, damages, and financial losses due to a canine attack.
If you or a loved one were bitten and severely injured due to another’s dog, it may be wise to talk to a skilled personal injury attorney about what to do next. A Marietta dog bite lawyer could explain the specific laws applicable to animal attacks in the State of Georgia and help you effectively pursue compensation from the negligent pet owner.
Finding a Dog Owner Negligent
Dog bites can be attributed to many causes. Biting is usually an instinctive response to the dog feeling threatened or scared. However, this behavior must be controlled such that it doesn’t pose an injury to other people. If a dog owner is aware that an animal may prove a threat to others or cause harm to the public, that person is responsible for any ensuing damage or injury. In most personal injury lawsuits, the injured party must prove that another party was legally negligent and therefore responsible for damages. This basic premise also applies to dog bite cases.
Georgia state law establishes specific guidelines regarding when a dog owner may be liable for their pet’s violent behavior. According to the Official Code of Georgia §51-2-7, a person injured by another’s pet may hold the animal’s owner civilly liable if they can prove:
- The animal was known to be dangerous and vicious
- The owner carelessly let the animal roam freely
- The plaintiff did not taunt or provoke the animal into attacking them
In many cases, a previous animal attack is sufficient evidence to prove its owner reasonably should have known of their pet’s aggressive tendencies. However, if the dog previously did not demonstrate any aggressive behavior, it may be difficult to prove negligence. A skilled Marietta dog bite attorney could investigate and determine if the animal had the propensity to attack.
Recovering Compensation for Damages
Victims may sustain severe physical injuries and damages due to a dog bite. The costs of treating a dog bite could be expensive. Fortunately, with the help of a Marietta dog bite lawyer, injured claimants may be eligible to recover compensation for a wide range of damages.
Dog bites are generally classified by severity using the Ian Dunbar scale. A qualified physician can determine the extent of your injuries and give you advice regarding what treatment plan is right for you. However, the severity of the damages you sustained may also play a role in determining what compensation is available to you. More severe dog bites will result in a higher degree of injury, more expenses, and more compensable damages in your settlement. In the most extreme cases, a level 6 dog bite could result in a fatal injury to the victim, leaving the possibility of a wrongful death claim.
Injured claimants may be eligible to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the monetary losses a party sustains following an accident. Economic damages that an animal attack lawyer in Marietta could factor into a settlement demand may include medical expenses, loss of income from an inability to work during recovery, as well as long-term physical therapy bills, and the costs of any required and preventative medications.
Dog bites can also create further complications for bitten victims, as their saliva may carry diseases, such as rabies and salmonella. These consequences can create further problems and associated expenses. Some serious dog bites may leave a person with long-term damage, disfigurement, or scarring.
Furthermore, dog attacks may leave a victim with physical and emotional scars as well. The impact of emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life may be recoverable as well.
The Statute of Limitations
However, it is important to keep in mind that all civil cases in Georgia have a filing deadline established by state law. According to O.C.G.A. §9-3-33, all such cases must be filed within two years of the date of injury or the plaintiff’s discovery of their injury. Failure to abide by this statutory period may lead to a case being dismissed without any compensation for the plaintiff.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Dog bite cases can be complex, and often leave injured victims wondering what steps they should take to minimize the damages that have already been done and reduce future suffering and financial burden. An experienced dog bite attorney can give you the guidance you need to navigate your personal injury claim and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Your dedicated personal injury lawyer will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your case and help you make the decisions that will lead to your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Our law firm’s thorough knowledge of Georgia law and expertise in the field of personal injury lawsuits means that we have the resources available to help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries and will pursue your case diligently.
Additionally, a skilled dog bite lawyer is familiar with the defenses commonly used by defendants to avoid liability for their actions. Your attorney can help you build a strong case in your favor and gather information, including medical records, witness testimony, or police reports of the incident, in order to strengthen your claim.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys for information about how your case could benefit from a Marietta dog bite lawyer.
Reach Out to a Marietta Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you have been injured by someone else’s aggressive animal, you may have legal options. A dedicated Marietta dog bite lawyer could investigate the incident, collect evidence, and help prove the defendant’s negligence.
With the help of a seasoned attorney, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your damages. Call today to schedule a consultation.
Does Georgia Have a One Bite Rule?
The state of Georgia uses what’s known as a modified one-bite rule, meaning that a dog’s owner is liable for a bite if the owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s being “vicious.” If a dog’s attack was unprovoked or if the dog was unleashed despite a prior ordinance to be leashed or at heel, the dog’s owner would face liability in this circumstance.
Should I Report a Dog Bite to Animal Control?
Reporting a dog bite may involve going through the county’s Animal Control unit or the police department. These reports may be valuable evidence for your personal injury claim, and they can also help protect others from future attacks. Your lawyer can advise you as to how to file such a report and to whom and help you gather information to support your case.
What Happens to a Dog Who’s Bitten Someone
According to Cobb County statutes, a dog that has been found to have violated control of animal law may be subject to confiscation by Animal Control. The Animal Control department will likely make a determination regarding the animal after examining the dog’s prior history including any past records of biting or attacks. Your lawyer can help you understand how local law may impact your claim for compensation and how these statutes affect your case and any consequences in store for the dog or its owner.