Pets aren’t just something soft to cuddle. They’re a responsibility. When a pet owner fails to keep their dog under control and that animal attacks, they should pay for their irresponsible behavior.
Did you sustain injuries from a dog bite in Fayetteville? If so, you might be entitled to compensation for the expenses you incurred.
It’s crucial that you contact qualified lawyers, like ours at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., immediately for legal representation. There are Georgia laws that could affect the outcome of your case. We understand those laws and will use them to hold the dog owner liable.
When you hire us, we’ll determine who’s at fault for your injuries and pursue financial compensation from that party. We believe in holding people responsible for their actions. If we discover that the dog owner didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent the attack, we’ll file an insurance claim or lawsuit against them.
To schedule your free consultation, call us at (770) 205-2231 to speak with one of our Fayetteville dog bite lawyers.
How Negligence Works in Georgia
Georgia follows specific negligence laws for dog bites and animal attacks. That means the injured victim must prove the following to hold the owner liable:
- The dog was dangerous or vicious,
- The injury was the result of the owner being careless with their dog or letting it roam freely, and
- The victim didn’t provoke the dog in any way.
If the owner didn’t have their dog on a leash at the time of the attack, that might prove liability. In Fayette County, all dogs must be under the supervision of the owner and on a leash. The only place where the city’s leash ordinances don’t apply is in dog parks.
A dog can fall under the legal classification “dangerous dog” if it:
- Aggressively attacks someone in a way that can cause serious injury; or
- Causes a significant puncture wound with its teeth but doesn’t cause a serious injury; or
- Kills a pet animal while off its owner’s property.
If someone owns a dangerous dog in Fayetteville, they must meet specific requirements, such as following the Fayette County leash ordinance. If they violate any of the conditions and their dog attacks someone, they could face a misdemeanor charge.
Take the Necessary Steps to Hold the Dog Owner Liable
If you’re bit by a dog, take immediate action. If you leave the scene of the attack without first obtaining crucial information, you might not be able to pursue compensation from the owner. Your attorney will need to provide sufficient evidence proving negligence, some of which should be gathered at the scene.
- Prevent further injuries. If you know who owns the dog that bit you, notify them of the incident and make sure they keep the animal on a leash and away from other people. It’s important to prevent additional attacks. If the dog is a stray, find a way to enclose it in an area where it can’t escape and call animal control.
- Get the owner’s details. Ask the dog owner for their name, phone number, and information about their dog, such as its breed and vaccination history. If the dog bit you on the owner’s property, obtain their homeowner’s insurance details.
- File a report. If the attack occurred in a public place, file an incident report with a manager and ask for a copy. Request that they provide their general liability insurance information, or contact information for the person who can provide it.
- Call 911. An officer or animal control should arrive at the scene to confiscate the dog. Georgia law requires any dog that bites a person to remain in quarantine for ten days. Even if they had vaccinations for rabies, they still need to undergo rabies observation.
- Seek treatment. Go to the hospital immediately after completing the steps above. All animal attacks are dangerous. Dogs carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause diseases in humans. For instance, if a dog with rabies bites you, you could develop the disease. You’ll need a series of vaccines to prevent medical complications.
- Seek legal representation. Hire a Fayetteville dog bite lawyer from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. to handle your case. We can handle each step of the legal process on your behalf to ensure you recover the maximum compensation available.
At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we can:
- File an insurance claim. Depending on where the attack happened, you might be able to file a claim and negotiate a settlement with an insurer. If you were bit on a friend’s property, you could file your claim with their homeowner’s insurance company. If you were on commercial property, you could pursue compensation from the entity’s liability insurance.
- File a lawsuit. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the dog owner. If an insurance claim isn’t sufficient to hold them liable or they don’t have appropriate coverage, we can sue them for their careless actions and bring them to court.
Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. Will Determine the Value of Your Case
When you hire us, we’ll perform a thorough investigation into the incident that caused your injuries and gather evidence. After reviewing everything we find, we’ll be able to determine a fair financial settlement to pursue from the dog owner or insurance company.
Some of the factors we’ll consider include:
- Available evidence proving fault
- Total medical expenses
- Type and severity of the injuries
- Recovery period
- Liability coverage listed on the insurance policy
- Length of time unable to work
- Significant scarring or other disfigurement resulting from the dog bite
- If there’s a physical or mental disability due to the attack
- Any necessary surgical procedures
- Impact of the dog bite on quality of life
The number we come up with will represent the appropriate compensation for your damages. Damages are all the expenses and losses associated with a victim’s injuries.
There are two categories of damages you could pursue. The first is known as economic damages. They are the expenses incurred after an incident that causes physical injuries. The other, non-economic damages, are physical and emotional suffering endured.
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket costs
- Lost income and future earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Factors That Could Prevent You from Collecting Compensation
If you contributed to the dog attack, that could impact your case. In Georgia, some laws specify when a dog owner isn’t liable for their dog biting a person.
Under negligence laws, they must know that their dog might be dangerous or vicious. If they’re not aware of that and haven’t seen any warning signs, it might be difficult to prove liability.
Under the current statutes, you can’t hold the owner accountable for your injuries if they followed the leash ordinance and didn’t behave carelessly while handling their dog.
If you were trespassing on someone’s property in an attempt to commit a crime and got attacked by their dog, you also won’t be allowed to file a lawsuit or insurance claim. Other behaviors that prevent legal action include assaulting, tormenting, or abusing the dog, leading to an attack.
Discuss your injury with an attorney to find out if any of these exceptions apply to your right to demand fair compensation. Don’t hesitate to schedule your free consultation.
Requirements for Filing a Lawsuit in Fayetteville
Many dog bite victims choose to file an insurance claim for a settlement that covers their damages. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the dog owner to seek potential compensation you can’t get in a claim.
Depending on the attack, your case might merit punitive damages on top of a fair amount for economic and non-economic damages.
The purpose of this type of monetary compensation isn’t reimbursing the victim for the costs associated with their injuries or making up for the suffering they endured. Instead, the goal is to:
- Punish the dog owner for their negligent actions; and
- Deter them and other people from similar acts in the future.
In Georgia, injured parties only receive punitive damages if the at-fault party displayed willful misconduct, fraud, wantonness, malice, oppression, or lack of regard for another person’s safety.
There’s a deadline you must comply with if you want to sue the dog owner for financial compensation for your damages. That deadline is known as a statute of limitations. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for dog bites is two years. That means you have only two years from the date of the attack to pursue civil action against the at-fault party.
Suffered Dog Bite Injuries? Contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. Immediately
Our Fayetteville dog bite lawyers have experience handling cases like yours. When you hire us, we’ll work diligently to reach a favorable outcome and help you recover from your injuries.
It’s our goal to ensure the at-fault party suffers the consequences of their actions and pays you the compensation you deserve.
At the law offices of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., our legal team dedicates their time and effort to each client that comes to us. We get to know the details of each person’s case, so we’re able to create an effective plan that gets the job done.
If you want to speak to one of our Fayetteville dog bite lawyers for assistance with your case, call us at (770) 205-2231. We’ll set up your free consultation to review the details of your dog attack and advise you of the legal options available to you.