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Georgia Dog Bite FAQ: What steps should I take if a dog has bitten me or someone in my family?

Published February 12, 2018 by Bruce Millar

Georgia Dog Bite FAQ and Legal Questions Answered:  What should you do if a dog bites you or a family member?  Getting immediate medical attention is always a priority after a dog bite incident, even if the injuries do not seem serious. You may need stitches, a tetanus shot or other treatment to prevent infection. In addition to obtaining the medical care you need, seeing a doctor will provide documentation of what happened as well as your injuries, and the records will provide evidence to support your claim or legal action.

If you seek compensation from a dog’s owner after being bitten by a dog, documentation of injuries and medical treatment will be the primary evidence to support your injury claim. You should keep any torn or bloodied clothing and get photos of your dog bite injuries. This evidence can help to demonstrate the extent of the harm you (or a loved one) suffered.

After a dog bites you or a family member, you should also get information about the dog’s owner, including his or her name and address, and information about the dog, such as how recently the animal received a rabies shot. Get the names and contact information for witnesses to the bite incident in case the dog’s owner tries to claim the dog was provoked. If the dog owner is cooperative, get the name of their homeowners’ or renters’ insurance company.

If the dog owner has home-owner’s insurance, or in the case of a business — a business liability policy, dog bites are generally covered by the insurance policy to pay a settlement you receive  or a verdict resulting from a lawsuit.

If you do not know who owns the dog or it is a stray, you should try to contain it, such as in a fenced area, if you can do so safely.

Contacting animal control is a good idea regardless of who owns the dog. Animal control will test the dog for rabies and may issue a citation.

Finally, you should contact an experienced Georgia dog bite lawyer. Georgia law makes dog owners responsible in certain situations when their dogs bite or attack. Certain city ordinances may also be important to review and interpret.  For example, most metropolitan Atlanta cities and counties have dog bite ordinances which may be important to proving whether the dog owner may be liable for the injury as a result of a violation of a local leash law.  A lawyer experienced in Georgia dog bite laws will know how to find and review the local animal control laws and how investigate the case, how to discover whether the dog owner was negligent, and the value of your claim.

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