Canines remain some of the most popular pets on the planet due to the love and devotion they provide. However, dogs often become dangerous following improper socialization and mistreatment. If a canine recently bit you, contact a Duluth dog bite lawyer from Barrios Virguez as soon as possible.
Depending on the nature of the attack and the extent of your injuries, you could be entitled to compensation that helps you recover from your injuries and move forward with your life. Talk to a Duluth personal injury attorney today about your case.
Common Injuries Caused By Canine Attacks
Medium and large dogs are capable of inflicting serious injuries. Among the most common injuries from dog attacks include the following:
- Puncture wounds
- Head injuries
- Neck, shoulder, and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Muscle, ligament, and tendon tears
- Loss of limbs
If dog bites are not cleaned and dressed right away, they can become infected and cause further health issues and pain. Puncture wounds are especially susceptible to infections because bacteria can get trapped under the surface. Moreover, puncture wounds do not usually bleed and, therefore, do not clean bacteria from the wound via blood.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are often common after dog attacks. The individual might have recurring nightmares or flashbacks about the attack, experience trouble sleeping, become socially distant and depressed, or engage in destructive behavior, among other symptoms.
Should a dog attack occur, seeking medical treatment is the first step. Not only does immediate treatment reduce the risk of infection and other injury complications, but it also provides a medical record that a dog bite lawyer in Duluth, GA, can use as evidence. It is also necessary to report the attack to the local police, animal control organization, or sheriff’s department, as this provides more evidence to strengthen the legal claim, as do images of the injuries.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Duluth, call 678-888-2222
Evaluating Georgia’s Dog Bite Laws
Some states follow the “one bite rule” concerning canine-related personal injury claims, such as Kansas, Alaska, Maryland, New York, and Mississippi. This rule protects dog owners from paying significant compensation to individuals who are “attacked” by their pets if the animals have no previous history of violence. Georgia is among these states and refers to the Responsible Dog Ownership Law in canine attack claims.
Duluth Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 678-888-2222
How a Dog Bite Case Has Merit
For a dog bite case to have merit, the plaintiff must prove the attack was unprovoked and that the dog was not on a leash, behind a fence, or otherwise restrained. For example, an electrician stops by a dog owner’s house to perform rewiring work. The owner knew the electrician would arrive between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. but did not restrain their dog.
The canine attacked the electrician upon entering despite the serviceperson ignoring the animal, causing them to sustain several puncture wounds. Even though the dog had no history of aggressive behavior, its owner did not restrain it and will likely pay the electrician economic and non-economic damages on the grounds of infection risks.
Some instances that exempt the owner from paying damages in Georgia involve trespassing or behaving inappropriately. If a person trespasses on the dog owner’s property and the canine attacks them for defensive reasons, the owner does not owe the individual duty of care. For the duty of care to be owed, the individual must be a guest, invitee, or licensee, such as the electrician above.
Exemptions in a Dog Bite Case
Other exemptions include the plaintiff purposefully teasing, taunting, or trying to hurt the dog. If the canine reacts defensively, the plaintiff cannot claim damages. Such dogs are typically on leashes, in kennels or other enclosures, or behind fences when they are taunted or people try to hurt them.
Dog owner defenses can also include the canine protecting its owner. For example, if the plaintiff tried to injure the defendant and the dog intervened, the defendant is not liable. Military and police dogs are typically exempt as well.
For example, the individual cannot file a personal injury claim if a police dog injures a criminal who just robbed a retail store. The dog was simply performing its duties as a member of the police team.
Why Dog Bites Occur
One of the factors that contribute to whether or not you may have a case against the property owner is the underlying cause of a dog bite or dog attack. They can occur for many reasons, and often, it is due to the negligence of the property owner. Here are some examples.
- The dog was not supervised in its unfenced yard, allowing it to run up to a person on the sidewalk.
- The dog was unleashed in a public area and bit someone who was nearby.
- A child visits a friend’s home where a dog bites them.
- A dog is encouraged to attack a person, whether it is for fun or reality.
- A person is in their own yard and a dog that gets loose attacks them.
These are just some examples. In every case, our goal is to understand what occurred to you and what can be done to prevent further injury and risk to others. At the same time, you may be owed compensation for the injuries and losses you have. We encourage you to reach out to us right now for guidance and support.
Let us help you determine if you have a case. A free consultation only takes a few minutes but can provide insight into what your rights and obligations may be right now.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Why You Should Take Action
It may have been a friend’s dog or a neighbor’s pet that bit you. It could have been a stranger. You may even think it was a simple mistake. Yet, in all of these situations, it is critical to realize that dog bites are risky not just to you but to those who may also come in contact with the dog. Laws are in place to protect people, especially those who may be most vulnerable, such as children or those with mobility concerns.
Oftentimes, it is the insurance company of the property owner that is responsible for paying these costs. It is not likely to be your neighborhood that does so. That means that a mistake occurred, someone did not do what they are required to do in protecting you and the community from the dog, and the insurance company for that person now needs to compensate for those losses.
You have legal options. Let us talk to you about your needs, including:
- What circumstances led up to the incident
- What type of evidence may be available about the dog’s behavior
- Information about the long-term complications from the dog bite or dog attack, such as ongoing care you may need or limitations
- How to file a claim for a dog bite with the responsible party (and why you should do this with the help of an attorney instead of trying to navigate it yourself)
- The steps you can take to get compensation that fits the crime, which may involve going to court in some situations
Contact our offices now to discuss your case. We have the experience and compassion to help you through this process and maximize your compensation. Talk to a dog bite attorney in Duluth, GA, today.
The Statute of Limitations in Georgia Regarding Dog Bite Cases
Since dog bites are a type of personal injury claim, a plaintiff has two years to file their claim with assistance from a Duluth dog bite attorney. The two-year rule applies to injuries the plaintiff sustained, such as puncture wounds and head trauma. If the plaintiff’s property was damaged because of the incident, such as damage to their vehicle, they have two years to file a property damage claim.
Common economic and non-economic damages in dog bite cases include:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Trauma counseling
- Ongoing physical or occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
Economic damages refer to monetary losses relating to the accident, while non-economic damages concern the emotional and psychological turmoil it can create. Punitive damages where the defendant is “punished” for extreme wrongdoing are not common in dog bite cases. For such damages to apply, the owner must have purposefully tried to harm the plaintiff with their dog or has been a continual menace to the neighborhood for their dangerous canine.
Discuss Your Claim with a Duluth Dog Bite Attorney Today
As difficult as the recovery can be, it is important to contact a dog bite lawyer in Duluth, GA, as quickly as possible. You will avoid the statute of limitation issues and hopefully receive the compensation you deserve promptly. Collecting damages relieves the stress you do not need during this trying time.
To take the first step in your dog bite claim, contact Barrios Virguez Attorneys. This esteemed law firm, with offices in Duluth and Augusta, GA, provides representation for various personal injury claims and immigration law services. Call our office or submit our contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation or browse our client testimonials.