While dog bite law in most places tends to favor the victim over the dog’s owner, Georgia is not one of those places. However, there are signs that Georgia’s laws may soon fall in line with that of the rest of the US. In most places, dog-bite laws tend to place responsibility on the dog’s owner. For example: the owner of the dog is usually liable for the bite based purely on their ownership of the dog. This means that the bite-victim will not have to prove that the owner was at fault, they just have to prove that they were bitten. It should be noted that so-called dog bite laws are not strictly limited to bites, they also apply to other dog-inflicted injuries like a dog pushing someone over. Even if a dog is friendly and playful, the owner will still be liable as the law does not take the temperament of the animal into account, just the fact that it injured someone.
However, if the dog was provoked to attack or if the victim was trespassing at the time of the attack, then the owner may not be found liable.
If injured in a dog-attack, and you should ensure that you follow the steps below:
1. Identify both the dog and its owner. This means getting names and addresses if possible. Obtain insurance information from the owner of the dog.
2. Identify any witnesses of the attack. Again, this means getting names phone numbers and addresses. In some cases this may require revisiting the scene of the attack to seek out people who may have witnessed it.
3. Carefully record any evidence of the attack, this means photographs of torn clothing, wounds and bruises sustained.
4. Seek medical attention as soon as possible following the attack.
5. Contact your local animal control authorities and make a report on your injuries. This may be helpful in preventing other people from getting bitten.
6. Contact an Atlanta dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
Identifying the dog’s owner is important in that it is the first step to you receiving compensation. It is also important in case the dog has not received shots for diseases like rabies. If there is a significant possibility that the dog was rabid, you may need to undergo rabies treatments. When seeking medical attention you should find out if you will also need a plastic surgeon and be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions including taking all medications prescribed to you.
Things to Avoid
If you have been the victim of a dog bite you should avoid signing anything presented to you by the owner of the dog or their insurance company or their lawyer. You should also not discuss money or agree to any kind of settlement. If contacted by an insurance company, you should only attempt to find out the name of the insured party and how much is available to pay your medical expenses. If the dog’s owner is uninsured and does not have the means to compensate you, then the next step for your Atlanta dog bite attorney will be to discover if someone else was negligent. A landlord who has a dangerous dog on their premises may also be found liable for permitting it to be there.