In July of 2012, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 685, known as the Responsible Dog Ownership Law, in order to hold owners more deeply accountable for their dangerous or vicious dogs. This was in response to a growing number of reports of dangerous dogs, attacks, and serious injuries as a result of vicious dogs in Georgia. In fact, the CDC estimates that roughly 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and more than 25% of those bites require medical attention. This equates to every 1 in 70 United States residents being attacked by a dog in any given year. According to the Responsible Dog Ownership Law passed in 2012, owners of “dangerous” breeds are required to carry a minimum of $50,000 of liability insurance intended to protect any possible victims of their aggressive dog. This law has met some resistance, especially in terms of what a “dangerous” dog breed is, but one positive takeaway is that there is a growing number of protections for Georgia residents against aggressive dogs and the injuries that an attack could cause. This is only one example of protection in place meant to legislate dangerous dogs and provide a clear path towards compensation for victims. If you have been attacked and injured by a dog, then you have rights as a victim that the team at The Pendergrass Law Firm will be happy to help you exercise. We understand that this is a stressful, and possibly painful, time in your life, which is why we are proud to give victims of such injuries the legal support that they need in order to focus on recovery without the added stress of navigating these complex legal processes. Read more below to get a better understanding of how a Gwinnett County dog bite lawyer can help you move forward from this traumatic experience. Contact us as soon as possible to request a free initial consultation where we can speak about your situation in greater detail, and get a clear understanding of how we can work together to get you the legal protections and the financial compensation that you deserve as a victim of a dog attack.
What To Do After a Dog Attack
The following is intended to give you a general guideline of the steps to take following a dog attack, but your situation may require different or additional steps depending on the specifics of your situation.
Get Medical Help
If you have been attacked by a dog, the most important thing to do is make sure that you get all of the medical attention that you need in order to ensure that you avoid any possible infections, dangerous blood loss, and the variety of other problems that this type of injury can cause. An additional benefit to getting medical attention is that you are establishing a medical record of your injuries, which will be very helpful as we are seeking compensation from the dog owner or their insurance company.
Contact the Police
As soon as possible, it is important to contact the police in order to establish a report of the incident and ensure that the dog owner is subject to any citations for crimes or violations that they may have committed. As with seeking medical attention, contacting the police provides you with a double benefit of ensuring that legal action is taken and that there is a record of the incident in another official location.
Hire an Attorney
Once you have addressed all of the immediate medical needs and established contact with the police about the incident, you will benefit from the legal assistance of an experienced dog bite attorney in Gwinnett County. Georgia’s dog bite laws, as well as the complexity of any civil case, can quickly become overwhelming to navigate, especially as you are trying to prioritize your recovery and mitigate the impacts that this attack has had on your life.
Seeking Compensation After a Dog Attack in Georgia
There are a variety of different avenues we may take in order to get you the compensation that you deserve after a dog attack in Gwinnett County, Georgia. If the owner is protected by an insurance policy, we will begin by working directly with the insurance company by filing a claim. Many people think that they will not benefit from working with an attorney while filing a claim, but this is one of the most important processes for the entire case, and having the legal advice of an experienced professional will help you start your claim with the leverage that you need. As with any personal injury, a dog attack does not simply have a predetermined amount of money that a victim is owed. We will consider a wide range of factors, from things like the severity of the attack and injuries all the way to the emotional toll that your injuries have on your daily life. It will take quite a bit of work to calculate these damages, but this is important work for your long-term stability.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Attacks in Georgia
The following are just a few of the questions that we will be able to find answers for when we are working together. These answers are intended to give you a general idea of the topic but are in no way meant to be taken as legal advice. Contact us for your free initial consultation to get started on your specific answers as soon as possible.
How much is my dog attack case worth?
As indicated above, we will need to go through a wide range of factors before we are able to determine how much your case is worth. We will examine both economic and non-economic factors, such as your medical bills and lost wages as well as the actual pain and suffering that this attack has caused you. Only then will we be able to reach a clear understanding of the damages that you are entitled to.
Should I settle with the insurance company after a dog attack?
Most personal injury cases are settled before trial, and our primary objective is to settle before we must go through a costly court case. However, this does not mean that we will settle with an insurance company before going through a series of aggressive negotiations in order to get you a settlement that you truly deserve. Insurance companies attempt to limit the amount that anyone victim receives for their claim with a variety of methods, and we will need to combat each of these methods in order to get you what you are entitled to.
Who is at fault for the dog attack that I was hurt in?
In order to clearly indicate that the owner of the dog is responsible for their dog’s actions, we will need to prove that the dog was dangerous and that the owner either knew or should have known that this was the case. At that point, we will be able to hold the owner responsible for your injuries and move forward with your case.