Protecting Your Rights
There are millions of dogs in the United States that are kept as pets. As a result, it's not surprising to learn that dog bites and attacks are a relatively common occurrence in Atlanta and throughout the country. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Fortunately for victims, in many instances, Georgia law allows them to recover compensation for their dog-bite related losses.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it's important to seek treatment immediately. In addition, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd are committed to helping dog bite victims recover compensation and know how to hold negligent dog owners responsible. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online.Dog Bites can Cause Extremely Serious Injuries
Because dog bites are relatively common, it's easy to forget that they're capable of causing extremely serious injuries that often land victims in the hospital. In fact, in the most severe cases, victims can develop extremely serious complications, some of which could prevent victims from working or engaging in everyday tasks without assistance. Some of the more serious injuries that dog bite victims can sustain include the following:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe Lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Serious infections
- Nerve damage
AS a dog bite victim, it's important to understand that you need to take certain steps to protect your legal rights. Some of the most important include the following:
- If You Can, Collect Information about the Incident - If you are not too injured to do so, you should collect as much information as you can. Make sure you get the dog owner's name and try and get contact information from anyone who happened to witness the attack take place.
- Seek Medical Care - You should always seek medical attention after a dog bite, even if you don't think your injuries are particularly serious. Some dogs may not be up to date on their vaccinations and could potentially carry life-threatening diseases, such as rabies. In addition, it's important to keep in mind that documentation of your injuries in essential for an insurance or legal claim you file in the future. As a result, failing to seek medical attention could jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for your losses.
- Do NOT Apologize - Under Georgia law, if you provoked the dog, it can make it impossible for you to recover compensation. While it may seem farfetched, a dog owner or insurance company representative may argue that your apology was an admission that you somehow caused the dog to attack you.
- Do NOT Accept a Settlement Offer - After a dog bite, you may receive a settlement offer, either from the dog owner himself or herself or the owner's insurance company. You should not accept any settlement offers you receive until you have had a chance to speak to an experienced lawyer. Once you accept a settlement, it's nearly impossible to obtain additional compensation in future, so it's essential to ensure that any settlement you accept compensates you for all of your losses, including your pain and suffering and any future losses that you may incur.
- Stay Off of Social Media - While a dog bite may certainly feel like a social media post-worthy event, social media activity has the potential to hurt your claim. If you post anything that could be interpreted to indicate that you may have provoked the attack or that could be used as evidence that you are not as injured as you are claiming to be, it could hurt your chances of recovering for your losses.
- Call an Attorney as Soon as You Can - After a dog bite, it's essential for you to contact a lawyer as soon as you can. Waiting to start you claim can result in the loss or destruction of evidence critical to your case. For example, if you wait, eyewitnesses' memories may fade, and cell phone footage that captured the attack may be erased. In addition, once you retain an attorney, he or she will handle all communication with the dog owner or the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that you do not say anything that could hurt your claim.
If you're like many other dog bite victims, you are curious to know how much compensation you will receive for your dog bite claim. Because every claim is different, it's simply not possible to discuss the value of an "average" dog bite claim. Under Georgia law, victims can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Common damages sought by victims in dog bite claims include medical expenses, lost income, lost quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Some of the factors that will likely affect your dog bite claim include the following:
- Your age
- Your occupation
- The severity and nature of your injuries
- Your prognosis
- The policy limits of the dog owner's insurance
The most effective way to maximize any settlement or award you receive after a dog bite is to retain an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as you can after an attack.Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Georgia Dog Bite Lawyer
If you have been the victims of a dog attack, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. The representation of an attorney will ensure that you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled and that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Atlanta dog bite attorneys, call our office today at 888-474-9616 or send us an email through our online contact form.