Dog bites are surprisingly common. Each year, there is an estimated 4.5 million people who get bitten by a dog. Out of this number, 334,000 end up in an emergency room because of the bite's severity. Another 466,000 people seek other forms of medical care because of a bite-related injury.
If you, your child, or a family member is seriously injured as a result of an animal attack, call 404-THEBAER (404-843-2237) or fill out our online contact form. Atlanta animal attack injury lawyer Bryan Baer will meet with you in a free consultation to answer your questions.
So long as immediate medical attention is not needed to tend to life threatening and/or facial injuries, it is important to identify the responsible dog and owner/handler and gather as much information as possible.
1. Take photographs
Take as many photos as possible of the dog to identify this dog from another (size, shape, color, tail/no tail, etc.), the owner/handler, and location of where the bite occurred (street signs, house numbers, make/ model/license plates of cars, etc.) This is extremely important if the owner grabs his or her dog and disappears which unfortunately happens far too often.
2. Get information from the dog’s owner/handler
Ask for the owner’s name, address, and phone number. Ask for the dog’s name, age, breed (for identification). Also ask for homeowner or renter’s insurance information. If the owner refuses to provide this information, it is okay. It typically can be obtained later. It is important to stay polite at the scene.
Assuming the dog owner remains cooperative, ask for the dog’s regular veterinarian so you can contact them for vaccination information - especially rabies. (Animal control will typically do this as well, but it helps to have this information). If the dog is licensed and wearing a tag, ask the owner to give you that information too. Do not worry about the dog’s bite history, normal temperament, training, or anything like that. Animal control or an experienced dog bite lawyer can investigate the dog’s history.
3. Call the police
Call the police if the bite is anything more than a scratch, or especially if the dog’s owner is hostile. A police officer can calm the situation, decide if the dog needs to be impounded immediately, and obtain any needed immediate help. The police officer will file a report about the incident which will be important to your insurance company, the dog owner’s insurance company, and animal control.
If the bite is minor, call the non-emergency number but state that all parties are still at the scene. If the bite is more than minor (you are bleeding, significantly hurt, going into shock) call 911. Get the incident report number from the police and keep that in your records. Everyone will need that when referring to the case.
4.Get medical care
Once the police have finished, go get medical care. If the bite is minor, call your doctor for an appointment within 24 hours. If that is not possible, go to an urgent care or emergency room. Dog bites almost always get infected without medical care and even a skin scratch may have damaged tissues underneath.
5. Call Animal Control
Once you have finished obtaining medical care, call animal control. Animal control can help you determine if dog is up to date on shots, including rabies shots. If the dog is not or the owner is unable to verify one way or the other, often animal control will pick up and quarantine the dog.
6. Notify your homeowner’s or renter’s insurer
Call your homeowner’s or renter’s insurer to report the incident. Some first party policies have coverages that will help pay medical bills associated with dog bites even when it is you that is bitten.
If you or a loved one is seriously injured from a dog bite attack in or around Atlanta, Georgia, you need to call a dog bite injury lawyer with experience representing people injured by dog bites as soon as possible. The Baer Law Firm is here to help you.
Georgia law has changed over the years to make it somewhat easier to win dog bite cases. The old law required proof that the owner of the dog had knowledge of the dog’s viciousness, or propensity to bite. This was best demonstrated by proving that the dog had bitten previously which is not always easy to do. Now, Georgia law says that if the owner or handler of the dog is in violation of a local leash law ordinance and a victim is bitten due to the owner or handler’s negligence in failing to maintain control of the dog, a victim may recover. However, it is not as simple as demonstrating that the attacking dog was not leashed at the time of the attack or even that the owner was cited for violation of a leash law. It must be proven that the dog owner was careless in allowing the dog to be unrestrained. Furthermore, if there is no law requiring the dog to be leashed or restrained (i.e. if the dog is on its owner’s property), then the fact that it was not on a leash is not going to be sufficient to prevail.
It is often difficult to find a viable source of recovery. Many owners of vicious animals have no assets and no insurance. In some cases, it is difficult to identify who the responsible person for the dog was at the time of the attack. In addition, landlords typically cannot be held legally responsible for the pets of people who rent from them. The Baer Law Firm will work diligently to uncover all sources of recovery to maximize your result.
Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorney Bryan Baer has handled many cases for people seriously injured in in the form of permanent disfigurement and/or required follow up medical care after a dog attack. Below is a recent result which demonstrates the difference that courageous and compassionate representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer can make.
A postal worker with approximately 30 years of dedicated service was on her daily route delivering mail when an owner mistakenly opened the garage door allowing a pit bull mix to get out of the house. The dog charged toward the postal worker knocking her down to the ground. To protect herself, the postal worker put her hand to her face. Unfortunately, the dog bit her index finger which ultimately had to be amputated. Attorney Bryan Baer immediately began work on the case by interviewing neighbors and police. Through diligent time and effort, attorney Bryan Baer demonstrated carelessness of the owner in opening the garage door without first restraining her dog, who she knew had a propensity to chase strangers. He also identified an insurance policy that applied to the owner of the dog. Ultimately, the insurer agreed to pay maximum amount under the insurance policy of $300,000 to resolve the case.
If you or a loved one is seriously injured as a result of a dog bite or other animal attack, you need to hire an experienced attorney. Attorney Bryan Baer at The Baer Law Firm has years of experience representing people injured by dog bites and knows how to obtain results dog bite victims deserve. Call 404-THEBAER (404-843-2237) or fill out our online contact form so we may discuss your case in a free consultation.