Dog bites can cause serious injuries, including permanent scarring in some cases. If you were bitten by someone’s dog, our attorneys are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
A Columbus, GA personal injury lawyer can build a strong case and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
Liability for Dog Bites in Georgia
Under Georgia’s dog bite law, there are basically two ways of proving the owner is liable. One is proving the owner allowed the dog to roam free when the law required it to be leashed or muzzled.
Georgia does not have a state-wide leash law. However, if the dog owner didn’t obey local leash laws, he or she could be liable even if the dog didn’t have a history of aggression.
The second way is to prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous and was careless by failing to keep the animal under control. Georgia passed the Responsible Dog Ownership Law in 2012. This law sets standards for the registration and control of dangerous dogs.
1. Gathering Evidence
A skilled lawyer can help obtain valuable evidence, especially if the incident happened in a public place, such as a dog park. The same people tend to visit it every day, so the attorney will be able to identify a few witnesses. Also, CCTV cameras may have recorded the incident.
Your lawyer may also speak to neighbors who witnessed the dog bite.
2. Proving That the Dog Was Dangerous
Most dog owners will claim that their dog never was aggressive.
Thus, they will say that they were not aware that they had to follow the rules of the Responsible Dog Ownership Law and keep their dog on a leash or properly contained within their property.
A Columbus personal injury attorney at our firm will investigate the history of the dog and their owner. In many such cases, we identified situations when the dog was aggressive toward other people or pets.
3. Evaluating Your Damages Accurately
Dog bites result in significant economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical care costs – doctor’s visits, treatments and therapies, prescription medication
- Lost wages – you are eligible to recover the value of the paychecks for the work days you missed while you were undergoing treatment and recovering from the injuries
- Pain and suffering damages – you have the right to obtain compensation for physical pain, emotional trauma, scarring, and disfigurement.
An experienced lawyer will identify all eligible damages and calculate the total value of the damages to include in the demand letter.
4. Filing the Claim on Time
The back-and-forth discussions with the dog owner and their attempts to evade taking responsibility for the actions of their dog may have a hidden purpose. In Georgia, there is a statute of limitations of 2 years after the date of the incident to file a legal claim.
It may appear sufficient time, but time flies fast, especially if you suffered severe injuries requiring reparative surgery and rehabilitation therapy. A skilled Columbus personal injury attorney will not let the dog owner get away with this tactic. We will tell them plainly that if they do not share insurance information, you will take them to court to obtain compensation.
5. Negotiating Your Settlement
Most of the dog bite cases we handle never get to court. Dog owners will eventually understand that you won’t back down and give us their insurance information. At this point, we will prepare and file your claim and negotiate with the insurance adjuster.
Armed with the evidence we collected, we will protect your rights and reach an agreement that represents fair compensation for your damages.
Discuss Your Case With a Skilled Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer!
After a dog bite injury, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. This gives us the chance to collect evidence and talk to witnesses while their memory is fresh.
Also, we will have sufficient time to prepare the arguments to win your settlement and negotiate with the insurance company.
Since we offer each new client a free case review, you do not have to worry about paying upfront legal fees. Call us now at 229-210-6226 to schedule your appointment with an experienced Columbus personal injury attorney!