Every year 5 million children and adults are bitten by animals, resulting in injuries and financial damages. The most common type of animal bites are dog bites. Many times these dog bites are preventable.
It is pertinent that anyone bitten by a dog or other animal seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites may result in severed limbs, lacerations, infection, disability, and sometimes death. These injuries may lead to hospitalization or future operations like reconstructive surgery.
The common “dangerous” breeds that come to mind, like pit bulls and Dobermans, are not the only dogs that bite – any breed of dog can bite a person. The dog’s owner should be held accountable for any financial burdens you may experience as a result of their dog’s actions.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Occurs
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is crucial to follow the appropriate steps after a dog bite occurs to ensure proper physical, emotional, and financial recovery.
The first thing dog bite victims should do is seek medical attention, even if you think you are fine now. Serious medical conditions and infections can develop later if bites are left untreated. If the owner is available, get their contact information and find out if the dog is properly vaccinated and immunized.
If the dog’s owner cannot be found or will not provide their information, a neighbor or witness may be able to offer this. Try to get witness testimony and contact information, their accounts may prove to be extremely useful if the case goes to court.
Report the incident to animal control to have an official report made. Animal control will conduct their own investigation which may require the owner and dog to follow restrictions like containment requirements, fees and more.
Document the events that unfolded so that they stay fresh in your mind should you need to recall them during a trial. Keep all medical records related to your injury and medical appointments. If possible, take photos of the scene of the incident and the wounds sustained.
Finally, contact the dog bite attorneys at Jenkins Utley, P.C. to receive representation during dog bite claims and trials. Our attorneys will file and record all information, as well as help gather evidence as necessary.
Proving Liability in Dog Bite Cases
A dog bite liability claim is largely dependent on leash laws in your city as well as the dog’s history of aggressiveness. A thorough investigation must be done to gather evidence that will establish negligence on the owner’s part so you may recover damages. A dog’s owner is responsible for the actions of their dog, with a few exceptions:
- If a dog owner is putting their dog in the care and control of another party like animal keepers, kennels, shelters/pounds, or daycare facilities, they are not responsible for the action of the dog.
- If a minor owns the dog, their legal guardian is responsible.
- If a landlord rents to a tenant with a dog that is known to be aggressive, the landlord may be held responsible.
- If a property owner allows a known dangerous dog onto their property that results in injury, the property owner is responsible for the dog.
Other potential defenses against owner negligence may include fair warnings given, like ‘Beware of Dog’ signs posted, to keep people away. If this fair warning was ignored, the victim of the dog bite may be at fault instead. Provocation also may constitute a reasonable defense, meaning the victim of the bite participated in contributory negligence.
Additionally, the state of Georgia follows a “one bite” law. This means a first incident or bite may be excused in the eyes of the court, unless the owner was fully aware of the dog’s characteristic aggressiveness or was negligent. The owner can only be held liable for any incidents afterward.
Schedule a Consultation with Jenkins Utley, P.C.
The dog owner’s insurance company will try to prove you are at fault. Do not accept any settlements or sign any releases that would relinquish insurance companies from future expenses.
Dog bites are a serious injury that may result in further medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Seek legal counsel and representation from experienced dog bite attorneys. Contact Jenkins Utley, P.C. – your initial consultation is free. Call (404) 919-7297.