Dogs can be delightful, loyal, and protective companions. However, in the wrong hands or under the wrong circumstances, they can inflict severe—even lethal—injuries.
If you or a family member were injured in a dog attack, do not try to handle the matter without first seeking legal advice. A Mableton dog bite lawyer could advise you about your legal options and help you bring a claim against a negligent dog owner. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys are ready to help you with your case.
Injuries in Dog Bite Cases
A recent study reports that treating dog bites could cost Americans as much as $165 million per year. These expenses include emergency room visits, antibiotics, painkillers, other medications, and in some cases surgical intervention. Physical therapy and speech therapy could be necessary, depending on the location and severity of the bite. In many cases, even relatively minor bites leave lasting psychological scars that might require professional treatment.
Dog bites can break and tear the skin, causing bruising, bleeding, and scars. Children often suffer severe bites to the face, requiring stitches, plastic surgery to minimize scarring, and even procedures to reattach a severed lip, nose, or ear. Some bites can break or crush bone, cause nerve damage, or require amputation. Infection is always a possibility when a person receives an animal bite.
The law makes the animal’s owner responsible for the cost of treating dog bite injuries in most cases. A Mableton attorney could craft a strategy that helps you receive fair compensation for the injuries you received from a dog bite.
Local Dog Bite Laws
Some states make dog owners strictly liable if their animal causes an injury to another person, but this state adheres to a version of the traditional “one bite rule.” For an owner to be liable, the dog must have bitten someone in the past. However, although there is no local strict liability statute, dog owners could be liable under a negligence theory if they fail to comply with local laws that apply to dog ownership. A Mableton attorney with experience in dog bite cases could review the circumstances of an animal attack to identify an owner’s failure to follow applicable laws.
Cobb County Ordinance §10-11 requires any dog in the county to be on a chain or leash no longer than six feet when not on the owner’s premises. The leash or chain must be controlled by someone capable of restraining the animal. Verbal control is not sufficient; the animal must be under the physical control of the handler.
If a dog has already bitten someone hard enough to break the skin or aggressively attacked someone without causing injury, the animal is a dangerous dog under the law. Owners must register dangerous dogs and carry $50,000 in liability insurance if their dog attacks again. If a dangerous dog bites someone in an unprovoked attack, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §51-2-7 makes the owner liable.
Process of Claiming Damages
Pursuing a claim might feel awkward if the dog’s owner is a friend, neighbor, or family member. In such cases, turning the matter over to a Mableton attorney is the best way to secure compensation for expenses related to dog bite injury while preserving personal relationships.
Owners who keep dogs that have bitten in the past must have insurance to cover their losses if the dog attacks again. Even if an animal has never bitten anyone before, an owner’s homeowner insurance policy probably covers dog bites. If the dog owner is a renter, the landlord’s insurance policy should cover the incident.
A legal representative could identify the appropriate insurer and reach out to begin settlement negotiations. Limiting discussions to a legal professional and an insurance company keeps personal feelings from interfering with obligations regarding losses suffered in the attack and usually produces a more satisfactory result.
Pursue Your Claim with a Mableton Dog Bite Attorney
A dog attack is a terrifying experience. Apart from the physical injuries, which could be severe, dog bites often do permanent psychological harm. The owner who failed to control their animal should be responsible for compensating all the harm you or your loved one suffered in the attack.
A Mableton dog bite lawyer could offer sound advice about how best to proceed. Schedule a consultation as quickly as possible after the attack.