Essential Information to Gather Following a Dog Bite or Attack in Atlanta

Key Points:

  • You or a attorney with experience in dog bite litigation can establish the dog owner’s negligence through immediate investigation and thorough documentation.
  • Collecting evidence such as crucial documents, photographs, videos, and witness testimonies immediately after a dog attack is essential for constructing a strong case.
  • Often, owners of aggressive dogs are found responsible for compensating the victim for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and additional damages.

If you, your child, or another family member has been attacked and injured by someone else’s dog, it’s crucial to know the next steps. First and foremost, seek medical attention to address any injuries sustained in the attack—this ensures your safety and starts the documentation process needed later. After ensuring medical care, the next immediate step is to report the incident to animal control. This is vital to ensure the dog is assessed and to prevent future incidents.

Congratulations on handling these urgent tasks! Now, as you recover, consider documenting every detail from the incident. This includes taking photos of the injuries and the location of the attack, and gathering contact information from witnesses. These steps are not only proactive but essential for building a strong case if you decide to seek legal compensation. This way, you can focus on recovery while also laying the groundwork for protecting your legal rights and possibly preventing similar incidents in the future.

Evidence Needed to Achieve Compensation

You have a right to claim compensation for your injuries.  Documentation and gathering evidence will be key to winning a difficult dog bite claim.

However, as in all injury cases in Atlanta, a dog bite victim must prove the owner or keeper of the animal is liable for the incident.  A Georgia dog bite or attack victim must prove that the dog owner knew the dog had a history of aggression and that the dog owner was careless.  This can sometimes be shown by proving the dog was not properly supervised.

This legal guide will discuss the types of evidence you may need for your case and the first steps you may want to take after an attack.

Info to Request from the Dog’s Owner

Be sure to get the dog owner’s name, address, and telephone number, you will need this for the animal control report and home or business owner’s insurance.  If you hire a dog bite attorney, he or she will need this information to investigate your case and open a claim against the dog owner and their insurance company.

It’s also helpful to get the name of the dog’s veterinarian and, if possible, the dog’s vaccination records.  You will want to verify the dog’s vaccination history.

If the dog has not been vaccinated against rabies, it may be quarantined until that infectious disease is ruled out.

Animal Control Reports

When there is a dog attack, it’s important to call the local animal control department. They should be able to provide you with information about the dog’s history, if previous complaints have been made. These reports will be especially useful to your legal team to prove the dog had issues with previous vicious or dangerous behaviors.

The animal control officer’s report about your incident will also be important to your claim. Even if the animal’s owner is unwilling to help you, you should be able to get copies from the animal control office.

Information about the Dog

When you make a report to Animal control, to an insurance company, or to a lawyer, you will need as much information about the dog as possible.  If possible, take pictures of the dog and the area where the attack happened.  Collect the dog’s name, breed (Pit Bull, German Shepard, Terrier, or other dog), color, size, and which home or business the dog came from.  A thorough description of the dog that bit or attacked is important.  A surprising number of dog owners will try to claim that the dog that attacked you was “not my dog.”

Certified Copies of Applicable Local Dog Ordinances

Information and documentation about local dog laws will be key elements to your claim for damages. These might be available through the animal control office, but can most often be found at City Hall, where statutes and ordinances are kept. Having the document certified by city officials will establish its authenticity.

Witnesses Testimony

You should get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anybody who witnessed the attack. This way your legal team may contact them for statements and/or court testimony, if necessary.

Photos and Videos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is especially true of the injuries sustained in a dog attack. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, by the time you go to trial, your painful injury may be reduced to a small scar. That scar won’t begin to tell the story.

If you truly want to demonstrate the trauma you experienced, take photographs of your injuries, including gaping flesh, torn clothing, and blood. These graphic images will help to convince the jury of your distress.

  • Video footage: In this day and age, nearly everyone has a camera at their fingertips. Cell phone videos of the area where the dog attack occurred can document many important elements of the incident, including where and how the dog was restrained, where you were in relation to the dog, as well as any other relevant facts that might be required.

If the attack takes place in a public area, security camera footage from nearby businesses or even traffic intersection footage may be available to show the attack.

  • Witness images: Don’t limit your photo search to pictures you took yourself. Ask any witnesses whether they happened to get a video or photo of the attack. Very often, witnesses to the event document such incidents and are willing to share their photo and video evidence.

History of Aggression

Proving that the dog that attacked you has a history of aggressive behavior is an important part of your case.  Under Georgia law, you must prove that the owner knew that the dog had a ‘vicious propensity.’   This can be proven by evidence that the owner was aware that the dog had previously been aggressive toward a person or other animals or that the dog was not under the control of the owner in violation of a local ordinance.  Animal control reports for the dog’s location and owner should be requested, to see if there were any prior incidents or the dog has a history of roaming.  Neighbors can also be a valuable source of information.  It can be worthwhile to knock on some doors to ask the neighbors if the dog has a history of aggression or being a nuisance.

Document and Journal Information

We human beings have short memories. Because the details of your attack may fade as time passes, it’s critical to document as much of your experience as possible.

Write a detailed statement of what happened as soon as possible after the attack. In addition, journaling each day thereafter can help you show the pain and suffering you endured and build a timeline of your healing process. It is also useful to keep track of the things your injuries are keeping you from doing or enjoying – mowing the lawn, attending the company picnic, or even going to the grocery store, for example. The disruptions in your life are important and should be included in your daily journal.

Additionally, your journal should include things like hours and days missed from work, the number of doctor appointments you attended, and any rehabilitation or therapy you underwent. Lost time from work and medical bills are recoverable in a successful claim, so having those details documented is important.

Outstanding Service ! They Call For Updates, Very Honest And Upfront Throughout The Entire Process ! HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

five stars

Medical Follow up and Records

Almost all injury cases require medical documentation.  If you don’t treat with an emergency room, a doctor, or a plastic surgeon it can be difficult to prove your injuries.  Many dog bite injuries require more than one doctor visit.  We recommend to our clients that they attend all follow-up medical appointments and that if consultations with a specialist or plastic surgeon have been recommended, that you attend.  Failure to get necessary follow-up care can weaken your case.  Your medical records will be used as evidence in your injury claim.

linkedin icon