Articles Posted in Dog Bites

thThe Georgia Supreme Court recently issued a decision in a case that involves how the court must approach dog bite cases. Proving liability for dog bite cases has largely not been the responsibility of the dog and its owner. In other words, the victim is required to prove that the dog in question had a history of violent or biting behavior that should have placed the dog’s owner on notice that the dog has a violent streak. While it has traditionally been the rule in Georgia that a dog is presumed innocent until it is proven to be guilty of behavior that could cause harm, this recent Georgia Supreme Court decision makes it easier for dog bite victims to reach this burden of proof. If you have been the victim of a violent dog attack, contact an Atlanta dog bite lawyer immediately.

A History of Violence

The state’s dog bite law is clear that a dog’s owner is liable for a bite injury if the owner knows that his or her dog has a history of biting behavior. It is up to the victim to prove that the dog had a history of violent or biting behavior. Dog bite victims are eligible for damages when the dog had at sometime prior to the victim’s incident exhibited dangerous behavior, which should have put the dog’s owner on notice as to the dog’s predilection to attack and bite people. Under Georgia law, victims are required to demonstrate that the dog’s owner knew or should have known that he dog is a biter based on the dog’s past conduct.

After a dog attack, many people panic and immediately try to get a rabies shot. In reality, very few domestic dogs have rabies, so you most likely do not need a rabies shot. If the dog looks healthy, then it probably does not have rabies.

Immediately after an attack, you should get the owner’s contact info and request they send you the dog’s vaccination records. Normally, state law will require the dog be quarantined for ten days. The dog will then be released if it does not show signs of sickness. If it does, it will be tested for rabies. If it has rabies, you will then be ordered to receive a series of rabies shots.

If you do not know the owner or if the animal is a stray, call your local animal control agency. They will attempt to find the animal and test it for rabies.

If a claim is made, the victim can normally attempt to recover damages for a wide variety of things. Some damages include, pain and suffering, scarring, temporary or permanent disability, lost wages, medical expenses, cosmetic surgery expenses, counseling services, property damage, among other things. You do want to talk to an attorney before filing a claim because some states only allow for damages to be awarded for medical expenses. Other states award larger sums if the dog that bit the victim has previously bit someone else. This confusion is why you want to make sure your attorney is present.

Sometimes, punitive damages are awarded to a dog bite victim. Punitive damages consist of monetary compensation awarded to someone that is above and beyond what is actually required to give to the victim. This is normally done to make an example of the defendant and punish the defendant for negligence. Normally, punitive damages are not given to a plaintiff unless the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous or vicious but took no steps to prevent a potential bite.

Dog owners are not the only people who can be held liable for a dog bite. Governmental agencies such as the FBI or local police can be held responsible under certain circumstances. They include:

Thousands of dog bites occur every year for a multitude of reasons. If a dog has bitten you it is important to take the right steps to protect yourself and put you in the best position for financial compensation. If the animal is a stray or wild animal, there is not much you can do. However, if someone owns the animal get the owner’s name or identify the dog.

Second, make sure to seek medical attention if you need too. 1,000 Americans each year arrive in the emergency room for dog bites. They can be extremely serious or even fatal if not treated. Contact your doctor or seek help from another medical professional to see if your injuries are serious enough to require a trip to the hospital. If you need surgery or receive prescriptions for your injuries, make sure to mark down the costs. You can use these costs later to recoup the costs from the dog’s owner.

Most of the time, the dog owner will be insured. Do not be surprised if you get a call from the insurance company to talk about the claim. Ask for the name of the insurance company, the telephone number, claim number, name of the person, and the address of the insurance company’s office. Do not talk about money or a settlement. Also avoid setting up an appointment unless you already have legal representation.

One of the most important actions you can take is to identify the animal that bit you. This is important since it could be a stray that you cannot identify and now you’re facing the possibility of having to submit to rabies treatment; and that could be painful. Also, if you were attacked by a dog or any wild animal being kept by a person, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the animal’s owner. Due to the nature and medical costs associated with treating animal bites, you might really need that compensation to pay your medical bills, reimburse your lost income, pay for future cosmetic surgery, and for your pain and suffering.

Once you have identified the animal that bit you, get medical attention right away. You never really know how serious your injury is until you see a qualified medical doctor for your injury. You may be surprised to know over a thousand Americans arrive in emergency rooms every day due to dog bites alone! If you have been bitten on the face then insist on treatment by a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeon’s specialize in minimizing the after effects of serious facial injuries. Emergency room doctors are great at reacting to life threatening accidents but they may not be as skilled at making stitches and wounds look good . After your initial treatment it will be important to follow the directions of the doctor and take all the medications that are prescribed (except for the painkillers, which usually are at your discretion). It is crucial for your case to attend all follow up visits that the doctor schedules for you.

Finally, it is important for you to contact an injury lawyer that has experience representing dog bite victims. Dog bite cases are much different than other types of injury cases and thus should be handled accordingly. The Angell Law Firm has successfully represented many clients who have been seriously injured by vicious and obtained fair compensation. Contact the Atlanta dog bite attorneys at The Angell Law Firm at 770-217-4954 now.

College Park (WAOK) Saying it’s acting in the interest of public safety, College Park officials will enact a  “dangerous dog” registry next month that some critics say is very close to canine profiling.

Residents owning dogs that have, without provocation, bitten someone during the last 12 years, will be required to register their pet with the city clerk’s office.  Pit bull, Doberman, Rottweiler and German shepherd owners, will also have to register their dogs whether they have ever attacked someone or not.

Registration will cost a $25 annual fee. Those who fail to register their dogs will face fines and confiscation of their pets.

In many dog bite cases in Georgia it is often necessary to prove owner liability when the dog involved in the attack has never bitten anyone before.  Here is some basic dog bite info for Georgia.

If you have a case where a dog has bitten you or your child while it was running loose in violation of a local leash law, here is what you need to know.  A Georgia leash law or Georgia-dogbite-lawyerstatute makes the dog owner legally responsible if the dog attack was caused by the owner’s careless management or allowing the dog to run loose without any restraints.

In order to successfully pursue a dog bite claim, the victim must prove the condition state in the first part of Georgia code section 51-2-7. This section says, “In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance of the city, county, or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.” For example, the local leash law may state that all dogs must be confined on the premises of the dog owner or must be on a leash when not on the owner’s premises.