Does the “One Bite” Law Apply in Atlanta, GA?
No, Georgia does not have a “One Bite” law, so your attorney must prove the dog’s owner was negligent in some way. Around the country, millions of people are attacked by dogs each year. Though dogs are typically seen as a beloved household pet that is usually “harmless,” the reality of dog bite injury is far more gruesome than the stereotype. 800,000 of the 4.7 million dog bites that occur each year across the U.S. require medical attention. Nearly 50% of these dog bites bring people into the emergency room.
Why Do Dogs Attack People?
You may be wondering how you can prevent dog attacks, or if there are ways you can prevent them at all. Unfortunately, most dog bites that are given medical attention are children. The best way to prevent your child from becoming a victim of a dog attack is to warn them not to touch animals they do not know.
More often than not, when dogs attack, they bite the face. Why do they choose the face and why do they attack at all? The common causes may surprise you:
- To show their power – biting someone, whether it’s someone the dog knows or doesn’t, can often be a sign the dog is trying to assert their dominance. They are trying to show they are the leader of their territory and no one should enter it but them. Signs of aggression can also be a result of interrupting your dog’s routine behavior, such as sleeping, cleaning itself, or even playing. Do not irritate a resting dog, and do not approach a dog that appears territorial. Do not fear them, but stay clear.
- Defensiveness – If the dog is afraid, and a stranger or family member approaches it abruptly, this can cause the dog to lash out. Think of how you, as a human being, react when a stranger or even someone close to you approaches you “out of nowhere.” Because of their nature, they can assume your intentions are bad when approached without warning.
- Punishment-induced biting – If a dog is being punished, they will react equally to the person punishing them. This is not just a matter of treating the dog right, but punishing them appropriately. It goes without saying that hitting or physically abusing a dog is animal abuse and could be another factor to help your case if you have been bitten by an abused dog.
What Should You Do After a Dog Bite Injury in Atlanta?
As a citizen of Georgia, you have many legal options that afford you the right to take owners to court, should your lawyer see fit. The course of action will largely depend on the history of the dog and its owner. If this is the dog’s first offense and the owner has shown no prior signs of animal neglect or abuse that may have encouraged the dog’s behavior otherwise, your case may not be as strong. Whereas, if the dog has attacked many times, this makes the case entirely different.
Though attacks and courses of action may be conditional overall, you should not feel hesitant in pursuing your legal options. If you or your loved one have been seriously affected, even hospitalized, you have every right to pursue legal action. Contact the dog bit injury attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers. This is your life and they will fight for you when it comes to the legal process.
When it comes to any dog bite, seek medical attention first. Delaying your medical care does not look good in a court of law. If you fail to act on getting medical attention, the court is more likely to determine that your injuries are not severe enough to warrant further action. Some states have a “one bite law,” but the only way a Georgia dog-owner can be held responsible for their dog biting a person is if they have a history of violence or were not being properly watched or cared for by their owner at the time.
Where Do Dog Bites Occur Most Often?
Most dog bite injuries, over half, happen at home with dogs that are known to us. Obviously, if a dog is in the household, the chances of an adult or child being bitten increases. The more dogs that are in the house, the greater the likelihood of being bitten. For example, when there are two or more dogs in the home, adults are five times more likely to be bitten than an adult living in a home without dogs.
Who Is Most Often Bitten by Dogs?
Children and men are most often bitten by dogs.
- For children, dog bites are most common between the ages of five to nine years old. Further, children more frequently require medical attention for dog bites than adults.
- Men are more frequently bitten by dogs than women.
What Should I Do If an Unfamiliar Dog Approaches Me That I Don’t Want to Interact With?
You can take steps to minimize your interactions with a dog. These include:
- Do not move, stay still;
- Remain calm and do not panic;
- Do not make direct eye contact with the dog;
- Do not make loud noises;
- Do say “No” in a deep, firm voice;
- Stand sideways toward the dog – do not square off with the dog, as this can appear aggressive toward dogs;
- Simply back away or just let the dog pass; and
- If needed, slowly raise your hands to protect your neck, keeping your elbows in.
How Can I Prevent Dog Bites?
There are a few basic steps you can take to help prevent dog bites and keep yourself safe.
Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- When you see a dog behaving strangely, if it is near a home, tell an adult at that home about the behavior;
- If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball, put your hands over your ears and tuck your head; and
- Remain calm.
- Allow young children play unsupervised with a dog;
- Turn and run away from a dog;
- Encourage aggressive play by your own dog;
- Approach a dog that is unfamiliar with you;
- Make any loud noises or panic;
- Pet a dog that has not sniffed you first or that hasn’t seen you; or
- Bother a dog that is caring for puppies, eating, or sleeping.
If I Am Attacked or Bitten by a Dog, What Should I Do?
If you are attacked by a dog:
- Try to protect yourself using a jacket, bag or purse.
- If the dog knocks you down, curl into a ball, using your hands to protect your ears and keep your head tucked in.
- If you are bitten, get to a safe place and wash any wounds with soap and water. If injured, seek medical attention when, for example:
- If you have not had a tetanus shot in the last five years and the wound is deep.
- If the injury becomes red or swollen or if you become ill.
- If the bite is serious. This would include muscle or bone exposure, extreme pain, uncontrolled bleeding, or loss of function, for example.
- Dog bite victims risk getting rabies. It may be appropriate to contact the police department or animal control agency, particularly if the dog is acting strangely or is sickly or if you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
- It is important to contact the owner. It needs to be determined if the dog has a current rabies vaccination. Try to get the rabies vaccine license number and the name of the veterinarian that gave the vaccine. Also, get the owner’s name, phone number and address.
Further steps depend on the nature of the wound.
For minor wounds:
- Immediately wash the wound with soap and water.
- Use an antibiotic cream on the wound.
- Use a clean bandage to cover the wound.
- Seek medical attention if the injury becomes, red, swollen, painful or warm. If the dog was acting strangely or you develop a fever, seek medical attention immediately.
For more significant, deep wounds:
- Stop the bleeding using pressure and a dry clean cloth.
- Call 911 if you cannot stop the bleeding or feel faint or weak.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Seek medical attention immediately if:
- The wound appears infected. This would be indicated by redness, pain, warmth or swelling.
- You cannot determine if the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. You may need treatment for rabies.
What Diseases Can Dog Bites Cause?
There are many diseases potentially caused by dog bites, including:
- Rabies. In the United States, rabies is quite rare. However, it is also quite serious and you need to be aware of it. The rabies virus affects the brain and is almost always fatal if untreated.
- Tetanus. Tetanus is a bacteria that can result in rigid paralysis in humans. It is most problematic in deep wounds.
- MRSA. MRSA is an antibiotic resistant staph infection.
Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the top ten most dangerous dog breeds are German Shepherds, mixed breeds, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Jack Russell Terriers, Chow Chows, Spaniels, Collies, Saint Bernards and Labrador Retrievers.
Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyers – Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Can Help
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers at 678-562-5595 for a no-cost consultation to determine if you have legal recourse for your dog bite injury.