Each year, millions of people are bitten by dogs in the United States, and many end up in the emergency room for stitches or other types of treatment.
Georgia sees its fair share of dog bites as well, with stories making the local news.
If you’ve been mauled or bitten, a dog bite lawyer can help.
Your attorney can help pull together a case for compensation and also negotiate a favorable settlement that you gets you the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
You need to immediately protect your health. Some dog bites might seem initially minor, whereas others could bleed uncontrollably.
After a bite, stop any bleeding by applying pressure using a clean towel or, if none is available, any clean piece of cloth.
You should also call an ambulance if necessary to transport you to the hospital.
If the wound seems superficial, then you can clean it yourself with warm water and soap. Remember to clean the wound thoroughly and then apply a sterile bandage.
You should also remain on alert for infection, which is common with dog bites.
If your wound begins leaking pus or becomes painful to the touch, then you probably have an infection. See a doctor or go to the hospital as soon as possible.
You also need to collect evidence for your case.
Of course, if you are seriously injured, you need to ask someone else to find helpful evidence while you focus on getting to the hospital.
Your dog bites attorney will find the following information useful:
- Name of the dog owner, if known
- Time, date, and location of the dog attack
- A description of the dog
- Summary of how the attack happened
This information will help you make a claim for compensation.
Ask a friend or family member who was with you during the attack to get this information.
If no one was with you, then you can try to obtain this information later.
Who Do You Report the Dog Bite To?
According to Georgia’s Department of Public Health, only 17% of dog bites are ever reported in the U.S. The number should be much higher. Only by notifying authorities can the public be protected from dangerous dogs.
Dog bites should be reported to Bartow County Animal Control. They are open Monday through Friday but check their website for hours.
You should file a bite report with Animal Control.
If you called 911 after the attack, they should go ahead and contact Animal Control for you.
After you file your bite report, Animal Control will reach out to the owner and advise them about the quarantine protocol. Quarantine is necessary to determine if the animal has rabies and, if so, whether it needs to be put to sleep.
Animal Control can also set traps if you cannot immediately locate the animal.
This is also helpful and is another reason to get the authorities involved.
Animal Control might be able to identify the owner after they capture the dog.
Who is Responsible?
Typically, the dog owner is responsible for the dog bite. Under Georgia law, the dog owner is responsible if the owner knew the dog had a propensity to be vicious.
This means the owner knew the dog lunged at, nipped, bit, or attacked someone else before the dog attacked you. This prior attack should put the owner on notice that the animal is dangerous.
If you are then bitten, the owner is liable under the law for your injuries.
There are other ways an owner can be liable. Georgia has a dog bite statute found at 51-2-7, which states owners can be liable when they allow a dog to run free in violation of a governmental ordinance.
If the dog then bites someone, the owner is responsible under the law.
There are situations where someone other than the owner can be responsible for the attack on you. For example, someone might be looking after a dog for an owner.
This person can also be responsible if a dog ends up biting someone and injuring them.
Dog bite victims can receive a considerable amount of compensation for their injuries.
A dog bite lawyer can review your case and determine how much you generally can receive.
In our experience, our clients have qualified for compensation for the following:
- Medical care to treat the dog bite and any complications that develop, such as infection
- Rehabilitation or plastic surgery, for particularly serious dog bites
- Lost wages or income, if you could not work while you recovered from your dog bite
- Property damage, if anything you owned was damaged in the dog attack
- Pain and suffering, for the physical pain that accompanies your bite wound
- Emotional distress, for negative emotions such as fear, shock, anxiety, or depression
The exact amount you receive will depend on the circumstances surrounding the dog attack.
For example, someone with permanent injuries, like facial paralysis, could receive considerably more than someone who suffered a minor wound that healed within a matter of months.
Meet with a dog bite lawyer to estimate the amount of compensation you can receive.
There are several limitations on the amount of compensation you can receive. One important limitation is the size of the homeowners’ or renters’ insurance the dog owner has.
If the policy is very small, then this might be the ceiling on the amount of compensation you can realistically expect to receive.
Of course, you can sue the dog owner personally, but he or she might not have any money or assets to pay out a judgment, especially if they are renters.
Contact Pritchard Injury Firm Today
Choosing an attorney is one of the most difficult tasks after a dog bite. You might type the words “dog bite attorney near me” into Google and be overwhelmed by results.
To streamline the process of getting compensation, you need a trusted legal advisor.
Contact Pritchard Injury Firm today. Our Cartersville, Georgia dog bite lawyer can meet with you for a free consultation. Avoid delay.
Our team also helps victims that suffered severe brain injuries in Bartow County, Cobb County and Cherokee County and throughout the great state of Georgia.