If a dog bit you or a loved one, call 911 or seek medical attention as soon as possible. A dog attack can be a devastating event resulting in severe injuries. These could include permanent scarring and disfigurement, nerve damage, and infection.
Next, you will need to report the attack to the proper authorities. The easiest way to do this is to search online for animal control services in your area.
The agency you contact may be a branch of the local police department, humane society, health department, or other entity. Some have online forms you can fill out, or you can call to initiate a report. Of note, if the attack occurred after the agency’s business hours, don’t wait to report the incident. Instead, call local law enforcement.
What Is Required for Reporting the Attack?
When possible, document any wounds you’ve sustained and the incident’s circumstances. Take pictures of your injuries, write down what you remember, and speak with eyewitnesses, if any. Then, when you call the proper authorities to initiate the report, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your name and contact information
- The dog’s description
- When the bite or attack occurred
- Details about the incident
- Which way the animal went after the incident (if you know)
- The dog owner’s or keeper’s information, if you have it
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What Happens After You Report the Dog Attack?
When notified, authorities will attempt to find the dog and quarantine it. This may prevent an attack on another person. The authorities will also try to contact the dog’s owner and inform them about the incident and their responsibilities and rights.
Importantly, you need to cooperate with the investigation into the incident. Local authorities may issue subpoenas and interview eyewitnesses to determine what occurred and whether they need to pursue criminal penalties and remove the dog from the owner’s care.
When possible, consult with your personal injury attorney to help you identify all the potentially liable parties in your case and file claims with insurance companies, if applicable. Your lawyer can negotiate a settlement and possibly secure compensation without taking the case to trial—but will do so if necessary.
Detailing the Reporting Process and Next Actions
The following offers a more detailed breakdown of the reporting process and what you should do following a dog bite:
Seek Medical Care
By getting prompt medical care, you can protect your health and ability to prove damages for a personal injury claim. This step demonstrates the seriousness of your injuries and the attack that caused them. Medical providers may also confirm with police or animal control that a formal report has been initiated.
Some dog bite cases will require more than one trip to a medical provider. We recommend that you avoid gaps in your treatment and follow the advice of your medical providers. You must do this! Your documented medical care is critical, and your lawyers will need this information. The records provide you with solid evidence in your case.
Collect Contact Information
If you can, try to get the dog owner (and eyewitnesses)’s name, address, phone number. In some cases, you can get the dog owner’s renters or homeowners insurance policy information, as this may offer some dog attack coverage.
You can also attempt to get contact info for the dog’s veterinarian. If you cannot, a personal injury attorney can obtain most or all of this on your behalf.
Speak to a Lawyer About the Dog Attack
If you are considering filing a claim against a dog owner or their insurer for a dog bite, remember that many factors can impact your case. There are liability, damages, and insurance issues that can affect your case’s outcome.
The information provided here is not meant to substitute for legal counsel. If you or a loved one was injured in a dog attack, contact a lawyer for guidance. They can walk you through the legal process that occurs after reporting, and inform you of relevant Georgia dog bite laws.
Victims of dog bite attacks often have legal avenues to pursue repayment for their losses. Under O.C.G.A § 51-2-7, you can take legal action against the dog’s owner if the following factors exist:
- The dog is considered “vicious” or “dangerous.”
- The dog was not adequately restrained.
- You didn’t provoke or hurt the animal.
Notably, according to this statute, it is sufficient to prove the dog’s viciousness by showing “the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance” and that it “was at the time… not at heel or on a leash.”
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Contact a Personal Injury Firm Taking Dog Bite Cases
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers is a personal injury law firm that focuses on representing people hurt by the negligence of others. If you have questions about filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit, feel free to reach out if you need assistance with your case.
We offer free and confidential case reviews for the victims of dog bite injuries. You don’t have to go through this traumatic event alone. Please contact us today, as there is a personal injury statute of limitations to consider.