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Dog Bite Frequently Asked Questions

If you were bitten by a dog in Georgia, you probably have a lot of questions. Van Sant Law has answers, starting with this dog bite FAQ resource. The team at Van Sant Law understands what you are facing. We are here to help guide you through the legal process, so you can move on with your life.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSQ: How Can I Show That a Homeowner Is Responsible for a Dog Bite?

A: A Georgia homeowner whose dog bites, attacks, or otherwise injures someone else may be responsible for compensating the victim for his or her injuries and related losses. However, it is not always easy to prove liability. Victims must show that the owner was aware of previous attacks or previous aggressive behavior by the dog and acted carelessly, or violated leash ordinances. Victims must also show that they did not provoke the attack.

Your dog bite attorney will work carefully to build a case that demonstrates the homeowner’s responsibility. Evidence may include witness statements, video recording of the attack or bite (if available), animal control records, and other documentation as appropriate.

Q: How Can I Tell How Serious a Dog Bite Is?

A: Any dog bite that breaks the skin has the potential to be serious. Dogs’ mouths can contain different types of bacteria that are dangerous when introduced into the human blood stream. If a dog is not up to date on vaccinations, the potential for serious consequences is even greater.

Signs of serious dog bites include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Signs of infection
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Extreme pain
  • Numbness or tingling

In addition to the risk of infection and potentially dangerous blood loss, dog bites can damage ligaments, muscles, and tendons; leave victims with disfiguring scars; and cause long-lasting emotional trauma. When in doubt, seek medical attention for a dog bite. Documentation of your medical treatment will play an important part in your claim for damages, should you choose to take legal action.

Q: What Kind of Payment Might I Receive for a Dog Bite in Georgia?

A: No two dog bite cases are exactly alike. The amount of compensation you might receive depends, in large part, on the extent and nature of your injuries. The dog’s history — and the owner’s record of dealing with previous dog attacks — will also play a part.

Your dog bite attorney will fight for your right to receive a full and fair settlement or damage award. Dog bite claim compensation should cover your medical expenses, including anticipated future medical costs, physical therapy, rehabilitation, lost wages (if applicable), and pain and suffering. Damages may also include amounts to pay for emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, PTSD, and more. A knowledgeable dog bite lawyer can provide an estimated value for your claim, so you can determine how to proceed.

Q: The Owner Had a ‘Beware of Dog’ Sign. Can I Still Sue for Compensation?

A: To limit their liability for potential dog attacks, some homeowners put up signs with sayings such as “Beware of Dog!” However, simply displaying a warning sign is not enough to keep a homeowner from being held liable if his or her dog bites or attacks someone. A homeowner who knows his or her dog could be dangerous must have the dog in a secure enclosure.

A victim who is bitten or attacked by a dog, where a warning sign is present, can still sue for damages if the dog was not secured properly. In fact, your dog bite attorney may use the sign as evidence that the owner knew about his or her dog’s propensity for violence, bolstering your claim.

Q: Do I Really Need a Dog Bite Attorney?

A: After suffering a dog bite, you may not know what to do. Consulting with an attorney to understand your rights — and your options — can help you make the best decision for your situation.

The homeowner’s insurance company may contact you, attempting to settle the insurance claim as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Dog bite victims who talk directly to insurance adjusters could inadvertently incriminate themselves or settle for a much lower amount than they otherwise could have obtained. If you decide to work with a dog bite law firm, your legal team will handle all communications with the homeowner’s insurance company on your behalf, taking some of the stress out of the process.

Q: When Do I Need to Go to the Doctor After a Dog Bite?

A: There are various circumstances under which it is recommended that you see a doctor after a dog bite:

  • You don’t know the dog who bit you
  • The dog’s owner cannot provide proof of current vaccinations
  • You cannot thoroughly clean or dress the wound on your own
  • Bleeding at the wound site won’t stop
  • The wound is deep
  • The injury becomes infected
Q: How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Dog Bite in Georgia?

A: Dog bite laws in Georgia include a statute of limitations. Essentially, this is a time limit for filing a legal claim against the responsible party after a dog bite or attack occurs. If you were bitten by a dog in Georgia, you have up to two years from the date of the attack in which to file a lawsuit.

However, it is a good idea to consult with a dog bite attorney as soon as you can do so. This can help give you time to evaluate your options for pursuing justice. If you decide to proceed with a dog bite lawsuit, the sooner you act, the better. That’s because your case will hinge on evidence. The further removed in time you get from the attack, the harder it will be for your attorney to gather that evidence.

Q: Does a Dog’s Size or Breed Affect a Case?

A: Ultimately, any size dog — of any breed — can cause serious injuries and leave victims with significant medical expenses and long-lasting trauma. In Georgia, the dog’s size and breed are irrelevant, and will not impact the strength or merit of your case. Van Sant Law has represented victims who were injured by a variety of dogs.

Dog bites can be painful and frightening, and the aftermath can be confusing. The good news is that you are not alone. Let Van Sant Law help you seek justice and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us with any additional questions, or to talk to an experienced dog bite attorney.

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