Lawrenceville Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites are increasingly common in the United States, with the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noting about five million nonfatal dog bites happen each year. Of these, about 800,000 victims require medical treatment for their injuries. Many families in the Lawrenceville area have dogs, and dog bites can happen when you least expect them.
Being injured by a dog bite can cause a significant amount of turmoil in your life, as injuries can be severe and require significant medical treatment to address the injury. A dog attacks you and causes injuries, you might be entitled to damages for your emergency medical care, your follow-up treatment, and any related rehabilitation requirements that you might need. You also might have other economic and non-economic losses that are costly well into the future.
Whether you can seek compensation for your losses from a dog bite in the State of Georgia depends on the unique facts and circumstances of the situation. Georgia has different dog bite laws than most states, which have stricter requirements for injured claimants to meet for a successful claim.
Reach out to the experienced Lawrenceville dog bite attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law for legal guidance and representation following a dog bite injury. Dog bite laws in Georgia are somewhat unique, and given their complexity, it is especially helpful to have an experienced dog bite attorney advocating for the best outcome in your case.
Georgia Has a Unique and Controversial Dog Bite Law
When a person suffers a dog bite in the State of Georgia, the individual who was injured can sometimes take advantage of a strict liability dog bite law. Strict liability means that, when it is applicable, certain parties will be automatically liable for an injury without an injury victim having to prove negligence or other misconduct.
However, while most state laws set out clear-cut strict liability for dog owners, Georgia’s law is not that simple. There are three situations that allow you to apply Georgia’s strict liability dog bite law:
- The dog, or other pet, must first be considered to be vicious or dangerous, which is something that the owner must have been previously aware of prior to the attack. This sometimes means that a dog owner is free from liability when the dog first attacks someone and never showed a propensity to cause harm before. This is often called the “one-bite rule,” since the first bite is generally excused under the law.
- In terms of livestock attacks, the dog or other pet must have been allowed to wander freely by the owner, or in the event of an attack on a person, the owner of the attacking dog must have engaged in careless management of their pet or allowed them to go free.
- Lastly, the person who was injured by the dog must not have provoked the dog into attacking, meaning that the person who was injured cannot be the party at fault for the attack. They also cannot be trespassing on private property at the time of the attack.
While most states previously used the “one-bite rule,” almost every state was switched to pure strict liability. Georgia has a hybrid of the two, which can make recovering for dog bite injuries more challenging than, perhaps, a car accident injury claim.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
It is important to know your legal rights because dog bites can result in serious injuries that require medical treatment. Some common injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Deep lacerations
- Soft tissue tears
- Infections or diseases
- Brain injuries if a victim falls down
- PTSD and other mental trauma
If your injury breaks through your skin, always get it professionally cleaned at the ER to prevent infection. If you notice any signs of complications, seek medical help right away.
Your Dog Bite Wound: Seeking the Medical Care You Need
The Mayo Clinic advises anyone who’s been bitten by a dog to seek immediate medical attention if any of the following apply:
- The puncture wound appears deep, or you aren’t sure how serious the wound is.
- Your skin exhibits significant tearing, the area appears crushed, or you are bleeding a significant amount – be sure to apply immediate pressure to the bleeding with a clean cloth or bandage.
- There is significant pain, redness, oozing, or swelling in the area – all of which are indicative of infection.
- It’s been five years since your last tetanus shot – when the wound is especially deep or angry.
If you or someone you love has been attacked and bitten by a dog, it’s always in your best interest to err on the side of caution by seeking medical attention sooner rather than later.
Your Dog Bite Claim
Your dog bite claim will be specific to the circumstances involved, but protecting your rights from the outset is paramount. Dog bites are exceptionally vulnerable to dangerous infections, which means the losses you experience can be extensive and must be well represented in your claim to help ensure that you obtain the compensation you need to reach your fullest recovery.
Your Medical Bills
A dog bite can lead to very dangerous wounds and very dangerous infections, which in turn lead to mounting medical bills. A serious dog bite can require ongoing medical care, and if the bite is on or near the face, it can be permanently disfiguring.
Your Lost Wages
A dog bite can keep you off the job for a considerable amount of time and come with a significant price tag in terms of lost wages. If the bite is on your hand, it can take far longer to heal – due to the many joints and constant movement – which can seriously impede your ability to do your job. Additionally, a bite on your foot or ankle can keep you off your feet for a long stretch that may translate to little or no pay. If your earning potential takes a hit, this category of loss will be even more damaging.
Your Physical and Psychological Pain and Suffering
Being attacked by someone else’s dog is a terrifying event that can lead to immense physical pain in addition to emotional consequences – or stress symptoms – such as the following:
- Increased anxiety
- Flashbacks from the attack
- Loss of focus or motivation
- Increased irritability and anger
- A general sense of being overwhelmed
- Increased fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Distancing oneself from friends, family members, and loved ones
- A tendency to have emotional outbursts
- Physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle pain, chest pains, and stomach issues
While your pain and suffering will be more difficult to prove, it’s a primary form of loss that should not be overlooked. Obtaining just compensation is the surest way to help you regain your health and well-being. You can move forward with your treatment with confidence.
How Can We Help With Your Dog Bite Claim?
Under Georgia law, you need sufficient evidence of the viciousness of a dog or other circumstances to prove dog bite liability. Having a professional dog bite attorney from Spaulding Injury Law on your side can ensure that the evidence you present is effectively aligned with the elements of the law to prove strict liability. This requires collecting sufficient evidence in your favor, including interviewing witnesses, obtaining any video footage, and collecting additional information about past situations involving the dog and its owner.
Proving each of the elements of the dog bite statute is necessary to collect compensation, and additionally, the case law in the matter has been changing in recent times. While the dog must be known to the owner as vicious or dangerous, in the past, this required that the dog had already bitten someone. In the modern interpretation of the statute, a dog viciously snarling or growling at another person could be sufficient to indicate the viciousness or dangerousness of the dog.
An experienced Lawrenceville dog bite attorney from Spaulding Injury Law will know how to use the law in your favor whenever possible. We handle every stage of your claim – from initial consultation to the most favorable resolution possible.
Connect with a Lawrenceville Dog Bite Attorney Now
Recovering from an injury can require immediate medical attention and often, ongoing treatment to begin the path towards recovery. For some injuries, a full recovery is not possible, and you may have a short or long-term disability that changes the way in which you live your everyday life and the way in which you are able to work. When you miss work from a dog bite injury, you may miss out on a considerable amount of earnings and other work-related benefits. Dog bites can also cause significant mental trauma well into the future.
Having an attorney on your side as soon as possible after your injury will help to ensure that your damages are accurately measured and you are provided full compensation for your costs both for today and into the future. To discuss how we can help you make the most of your compensation in your dog bite case, schedule a consultation with Spaulding Injury Law right away. We are ready to help.