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Were you injured in Lawrenceville, GA or its surroundings? Our lawyers can help you recover from your losses. We have decades of combined experience handling local personal injury cases.
Having a local personal injury lawyer with experience with and knowledge of the actual value of your case is vital to ensuring you receive the most compensation possible for your injuries.
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 can result in both substantial physical harm and enduring emotional trauma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4 million dog bites occur annually in the United States, with roughly 800,000 of these incidents requiring medical intervention.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Sugar Hill, Georgia, you have the legal right to pursue compensation. The team at Spaulding Injury Law is prepared to assist you through the complexities of this process.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Law and Owner Liability
Georgia does not follow a “one-bite rule,” unlike some other states. 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 tendency to bite and failed to implement necessary precautions or control the dog. This rule applies regardless of whether the bite occurred on public or private property.
Imagine a scenario where a dog owner in Georgia has a dog that has displayed aggressive behavior in the past. Neighbors have complained about the dog growling and snapping at them on previous occasions, and the owner has even admitted to friends that the dog can be temperamental.
Despite this known tendency to bite, the owner does not take sufficient precautions to control the dog. There’s no muzzle, leash, or proper fencing to restrain the dog, and the owner often lets the dog roam freely in the yard.
One day, a mail carrier is delivering mail to the property. As they approach the house, the unrestrained dog rushes out and bites the mail carrier, causing significant injury.
Under Georgia’s dog bite law, the owner can be held accountable for this incident. The key elements here include:
- The Owner’s Knowledge: The owner was aware of the dog’s tendency to bite, as evidenced by prior complaints and the owner’s own acknowledgment of the dog’s aggressive behavior.
- Failure to Take Precautions: Despite knowing the dog’s tendencies, the owner failed to take necessary precautions to control the dog, such as using a leash, muzzle, or proper fencing.
- Location Does Not Matter: The law applies regardless of whether the bite occurred on public or private property. In this case, it occurred on private property, but the mail carrier had a legal right to be there.
As a result of these factors, the mail carrier would likely have a strong case against the dog owner under Georgia’s specific dog bite law, and the owner could be held liable for damages resulting from the injuries.
Potential Defenses in a Dog Bite Claim
Here are some potential defenses in a dog bite claim.
This defense is often used when the injured party was unlawfully on the property during the incident. As per Georgia law, dog owners are generally not liable for injuries sustained by trespassers. However, certain exceptions may apply.
Dog owners may argue that the victim provoked the dog, leading to an aggressive response. This defense can be multifaceted, as the court will weigh the actions of the victim as well as the behavior of the dog.
Assumption of Risk
If someone knowingly engages with a potentially hostile dog, the dog owner might argue that the person “assumed the risk” of a bite.
At Spaulding Injury Law, we have experience countering these defenses. Our seasoned team is knowledgeable in Georgia’s dog bite laws and has experience managing such cases in Sugar Hill.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Sugar Hill, Georgia
- Prioritize Medical Treatment: Seek immediate medical attention if bitten, regardless of how minor the injuries may seem. Prompt medical treatment provides official documentation and is crucial in supporting your claim.
- Report the Incident: Report the dog bite to local animal control or law enforcement authorities in Sugar Hill. This documentation can serve as valuable evidence in your claim.
- Document Everything: Take photographs of injuries, the site, and, if possible, the dog. Keep detailed records of medical treatments and costs, and maintain a journal documenting your pain, emotional distress, and the impact on your daily life.
- Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer: Hiring a dog bite lawyer in Sugar Hill can significantly strengthen your case. They can thoroughly investigate, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your interests in court.
Georgia’s Deadline for Filing Dog Bite Claims
Victims in Georgia have two years from the date of the bite to file their claim. Failure to comply with this timeframe could forfeit your right to seek compensation. Consult with a legal professional as soon as possible after the incident.
Loss of the Right to File a Claim
The two-year timeframe, known as the statute of limitations, is a legal deadline for filing a claim in the state of Georgia. If a victim misses this deadline, they generally lose the right to file a claim against the dog owner or other responsible parties in court.
Dismissal of the Case
If a victim attempts to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant can point out that the legal time limit has passed. In such cases, the court is very likely to dismiss the lawsuit, and the victim will have no legal recourse to seek compensation for their injuries.
Loss of Compensation
The statute of limitations serves as a vital window for pursuing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the dog bite. If this window closes, the victim may have to bear all of the financial burdens associated with the injury without the possibility of financial relief from the party responsible for the dog.
No Legal Accountability for the Dog Owner
Missing the statute of limitations means that the dog owner or other responsible parties may face no legal consequences for the incident. They would not be held accountable in court for the injury, and this might set a precedent that could indirectly encourage negligence regarding the control and care of their animals.
Why Choose Spaulding Injury Law for Your Dog Bite Case in Sugar Hill?
At Spaulding Injury Law, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial burden a dog bite can inflict. We are dedicated to advocating for the rights of dog bite victims in Sugar Hill, Georgia. Our team has years of experience dealing with insurance companies and will stand up to them to ensure you receive fair compensation.
If you or a family member has been injured by a dog bite in Sugar Hill, 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 outline how we can assist you in your pursuit of justice.
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We help victims inside the Gwinnett County Area and our firm is conveniently located near Sugar Hill. We have an office in Lawrenceville at 223 Scenic Hwy S #202 Lawrenceville, GA