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Atlanta Dog Bites Lawyer
Animal attacks are a frequent occurrence in Georgia. Nationally, over 4.5 million people are bitten each year by dogs and over 800,000 people seek medical attention, half of those being children. Many states have statutes that impose strict liability on dog owners (e.g., Arizona, California, & Colorado), which generally mean that owners are responsible for injuries that are caused by their dogs, regardless of whether an owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.
This raises an important question: Who is legally liable for a dog bite injury? In Georgia, the answer depends on a number of different factors. In this article, our Atlanta dog bite injury lawyer explains the most important things to know about our state’s dog bite liability statute. Our investigations into dog bite-related injuries discovered the following evidence needs to be considered in the claim:
- Identification of where the dog was acquired and any training it had prior to the incident.
- Identification of the dog’s veterinarian. The veterinarian will produce (after a subpoena) the records of the dog. These records can be vitally important in showing prior knowledge. For example, a vet’s tech might note that the dog snapped while the owner was present.
- Identification of the dog owner’s neighbors. Once we can identify the dog owner’s neighbors, we can send a private investigator to canvass the neighborhood to see if the dog owner’s neighbors have had any prior incidents with the dog.
- Were the police, animal control, or the paramedics ever called to the dog owner’s house before the subject incident? Generally, we can obtain this information through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Dog Owners Must Protect the Public from a Dangerous Animal
Dog owners have a legal duty to protect people from risks posed by their animals. Under Georgia state law (Ga. Code § 4-8-20), a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by a dangerous/vicious animal. If a dog owner knew or should have known that their dog posed a risk to public safety, they will be liable for any resulting attack.
A Non-Owner May Also Be Liable for a Dog Bite
In Georgia, parties other than the dog owner may also be legally liable for an animal attack. To hold a non-owner—business, apartment complex, etc.—legally responsible for a dog bite, you need to prove negligence. Georgia defines negligence broadly as the failure to take due care. An experienced Atlanta, GA dog bite injury lawyer can investigate your case and help you gather relevant evidence.
Local Ordinances May Also Impact that Case
While dog bite injury claims are governed by state law, local law may also affect your rights. As an example, Atlanta has a municipal ordinance in place that requires dogs to be leashed in many circumstances. A dog owner that violates a local leash law in Georgia may be strictly liable for a bite.
An Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyer Will Help You Secure Compensation
Following an attack by a dog, you need money to pay bills and support your family. Unfortunately, the insurance companies that handle most dog bite injury cases can make it hard to get the full payout you and your family needs. An Atlanta dog bite lawyer can help. Depending on the nature of the case, dog bite injury compensation may be awarded for:
- Ambulance fees and emergency room care;
- Hospital bills and other health care costs;
- Physical therapy and mental health support;
- Lost wages and loss of long-term earning power;
- Pain and suffering & mental anguish;
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement;
- Physical disability or impairment; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
When a Dog Bites
Many dog bites incurred each year can be prevented by learning or being taught some basic dog safety skills such as not running from a dog and avoiding direct eye contact with an aggressive dog. Those who do get bitten can suffer a variety of different injuries. Some of the more serious injuries include open fractures, infections including osteomyelitis, and nerve laceration. Medical expenses associated with dog or other animal attacks can be quite high, depending upon the nature of the injury.
Contact Our Atlanta Dog Bite Injury Attorney Today
At Ponton Law, our Atlanta dog bite injury lawyer specializes in trial litigation and catastrophic injury claims. If you or your child was attacked by a dangerous dog, we are here to help you secure justice and compensation. Call us now or use our confidential contact form for a free review of your case. From our law office in Atlanta, we represent dog bite injury victims throughout North Georgia, including in Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, South Fulton, Marietta, and Alpharetta.