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Helping The Injured Protect Their Rights
Being injured is a costly experience that can impact your day-to-day life during recovery and possibly leave you with long-lasting injuries for the rest of your life. Understanding what the implications of an injury are can be difficult to understand, and the many types of damages that could be available to you are not always readily apparent.
Our award-winning personal injury lawyers know the best way to go up against insurance companies because we used to work with them and use that experience to help you win.
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Dog bites are more than just painful experiences – they can also result in severe injuries and lasting emotional distress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year in the United States, over 4 million dog bites occur, and approximately 800,000 of these incidents necessitate medical attention.
If you or a family member has suffered a dog bite in Duluth, Georgia, you have the right to pursue legal action. At Spaulding Injury Law, we’re prepared to guide you through the intricacies of this complex process.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Law and Owner Liability
Unlike certain states, Georgia does not operate on a “one-bite rule.” According to Georgia’s dog bite law (O.C.G.A § 51-2-7), a dog owner can be held accountable if they were aware of their dog’s propensity to bite and failed to take suitable precautions or restrain the dog. This law is applicable whether the bite transpired on private or public property.
Potential Defenses in a Dog Bite Claim
Dog owners may contend that the individual bitten was trespassing, incited the dog, or knowingly risked being bitten. At Spaulding Injury Law, we can contest these defenses and establish the dog owner’s liability.
This defense asserts that the injured individual was illegally on the property at the time of the incident. Under Georgia law, dog owners are typically not held responsible for injuries to trespassers. However, exceptions can apply.
For example, a dog owner might raise the trespassing defense if an individual jumped the fence into their backyard without permission and was then bitten by their dog. Since the individual was unlawfully on the property, the dog owner could argue they are not liable for the resulting injuries.
A dog owner may claim that the victim antagonized the dog, causing it to react violently. This defense can be complicated, as the court will take into account the actions of the victim and the dog’s behavior.
A classic example might be if an individual intentionally agitates or teases a dog, such as pulling its tail or ears or hitting it, and the dog responds by biting. In this case, the dog owner could argue that the victim provoked the dog, leading to an aggressive reaction.
Assumption of Risk
If an individual knowingly interacted with a potentially aggressive dog, the dog owner may argue that the person “assumed the risk” of a bite.
As an example, consider a scenario where a dog owner explicitly warns a visitor that their dog is aggressive and prone to biting, but the visitor still chooses to pet the dog and is subsequently bitten. Here, the dog owner could claim that the visitor “assumed the risk” of being bitten because they were aware of the potential danger but chose to interact with the dog anyway.
At Spaulding Injury Law, we’re adept at counteracting these defenses. Our skilled team is thoroughly acquainted with Georgia’s dog bite laws and has a wealth of experience handling such cases. We conduct meticulous investigations, accumulate necessary evidence, and build powerful cases to safeguard your rights and help you obtain the compensation you merit.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Duluth, Georgia
If a dog bites you, follow these steps.
Prioritize Medical Treatment
Your health should always be your top priority. If a dog has bitten you, seek immediate medical attention, regardless of how minor the injuries may seem initially. Some injuries may not present symptoms until later, and infections can set in rapidly. Prompt medical treatment also provides official documentation of your injuries, which can be vital in substantiating your claim. Without this, it may be challenging to prove the severity of your injuries and link them directly to the dog bite.
Report the Incident
Report a dog bite incident to the local animal control agency or law enforcement authorities in Duluth as soon as possible. They will document the circumstances surrounding the incident, which can serve as valuable third-party evidence in your claim. They can also investigate the dog’s history, determining if it has a record of aggression or previous bite incidents. Such information can strengthen your case and establish a pattern of negligence on the dog owner’s part.
Evidence plays a critical role in dog bite claims. Take photographs of your injuries and the location of the incident, as this can provide important context for your case. If possible and safe, also photograph the dog that caused the injury. Maintain a detailed record of your medical treatments, including doctor visits, medication costs, physical therapy sessions, and any other expenses related to your injury. It can also be helpful to keep a journal documenting your pain, emotional distress, and the impact of the incident on your daily life. These records can all contribute to a more robust claim.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
Hiring a seasoned dog bite lawyer in Duluth can significantly bolster your case. Dog bite law can be complex, and understanding how it applies to your unique situation can be challenging. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal landscape, protect your rights, and ensure all necessary procedures are promptly and correctly handled. They can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and, if necessary, represent your interests in court. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the more effectively they can begin building a compelling case for you.
Georgia’s Deadline for Filing Dog Bite Claims
Every state has its own statute of limitations that specifies the time frame within which a civil lawsuit can be filed. In Georgia, victims of dog bites have two years from the date of the bite to file their claim. Failing to adhere to this time frame could potentially forfeit your right to seek compensation.
The Importance of the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is an element of your legal claim that should not be overlooked. It establishes a strict deadline for filing your case in a court of law, setting the ticking clock on your pursuit of justice. This timeframe is more than just an arbitrary rule—it is a mechanism in the legal system designed to ensure the fair and efficient administration of justice.
This regulation serves several purposes. Firstly, it encourages potential plaintiffs to pursue their claims promptly, ensuring the matter is dealt with when facts are still fresh in everyone’s minds. It provides a sense of finality and predictability for potential defendants, who can rest assured knowing they won’t be held liable indefinitely for past actions. Lastly, it helps the court manage its workload by preventing old cases from congesting the legal system.
If you fail to adhere to the statute of limitations and miss the prescribed deadline, you will most likely lose your chance to pursue your claim in court. This is not a fundamental barrier to obtaining any compensation for your injuries. Even if you have a strong case, the court will not consider it if it’s submitted late.
The judicial system is very strict about enforcing these time limits. Judges will typically not make exceptions unless special circumstances apply that can justify the delay. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the designated time has expired, the person you are suing is likely to point out this timing issue to the court.
In such instances, the defendant doesn’t need to prove anything else to have your case dismissed. The mere fact that your claim was filed late is enough for them to ask for and likely receive a dismissal of your case. It’s not a matter of how compelling your case might be or how serious your injuries are; the procedural rule of the statute of limitations can single-handedly prevent you from taking your case to court.
This underscores the importance of seeking legal advice and acting promptly after an incident such as a dog bite. An experienced lawyer will be well-versed in these time limits and can guide you through the process, ensuring you adhere to all procedural requirements and give your case the best chance of success.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Although the two-year time frame is usually non-negotiable, certain situations or exceptions might pause or “toll” the statute of limitations, extending the deadline. For instance, if a minor is bitten by a dog, the statute might not begin until they reach adulthood.
However, these exceptions are infrequent, so it’s unwise to depend on them.
What’s Your Next Move?
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, seek legal advice promptly. The team at Spaulding Injury Law can help ensure all documentation is accurately and timely filed. We are here to clarify your rights, establish liability, and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve. Remember, time is essential in these circumstances, so don’t delay in seeking legal assistance.
Why Should You Select Spaulding Injury Law for Your Dog Bite Case?
At Spaulding Injury Law, we recognize the physical, emotional, and financial toll a dog bite can impose. We’re committed to advocating for the rights of dog bite victims in Duluth, Georgia, and securing the compensation they are entitled to.
Our team has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and understands the strategies they use to reduce or reject claims. We’re not intimidated by these companies and will stand up to them to fight for your right to fair compensation.If you or a family member has been injured by a dog bite in Duluth, Georgia, don’t hesitate to reach out to Spaulding Injury Law for a free consultation. We’ll review your case, explain your legal options, and delineate how we can assist you in your pursuit of justice.
Types Of Cases We Handle
There are many different ways that personal injuries can happen, and each resulting legal claim will be different with its own unique circumstances. Our Duluth personal injury lawyers handle many types of cases, and we help clients after the following and more:
Our Dog Bite Lawyer in Duluth, GA
We help victims in Duluth and inside the Gwinnett County Area and our firm is conveniently located near Duluth. We have an office in Lawrenceville at 223 Scenic Hwy S #202 Lawrenceville, GA