Alpharetta Dog Bite Lawyer

HS Law represents victims in Alpharetta and the Greater Atlanta area who have been injured or bitten by a dog.

If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, it’s important to know that you have legal rights. While some bites barely break the skin, others can cause catastrophic injuries that require surgical treatment and, in some cases, lead to permanent scarring and nerve damage. The emotional impact can also be intense, with children in particular potentially developing a lifelong fear of dogs.

When this happens, Georgia law allows you to seek financial compensation directly from the dog’s owner, but the legal process isn’t easy. You may face resistance from the owner and an outright denial of their claim from the insurance company. In such cases, it’s critical to seek legal representation from an animal bite lawyer.

At Horst Shewmaker, our experienced Alpharetta dog bite lawyers know what you’re going through. We believe that when a negligent owner fails to protect the public from a dangerous dog, you deserve maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Call us today to discuss your legal options moving forward.

Why Hire Us For Your Alpharetta Dog Bite Claim?

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, a personal injury lawyer can help you hold the negligent owner accountable and secure the compensation you need to recover. At Horst Shewmaker, we will diligently protect your rights and demand a fair settlement that addresses your financial burden. When you work with our law firm, you benefit from the following:

    • Extensive Experience: Our attorneys have decades of collective legal experience, including in-depth knowledge of Georgia dog bite cases. Based on this experience, we tailor legal strategies to fit your needs.
    • Client Focus: Our clients are more than just case files to us. Your bite injury attorney will listen to your concerns, provide an honest answer to all your questions, and refuse to settle for anything less than maximum compensation.
    • Proven Track Record: Our firm has successfully recovered millions in compensation for our clients, demonstrating our capability to secure favorable outcomes. 
  • Holistic Legal Approach: The support we provide extends beyond legal issues to include guidance with medical care and rehabilitation services. We ensure that all aspects of your recovery are addressed.
  • No Upfront Costs: We offer our legal services on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. This allows you to pursue justice without any financial strain.
  • Resource Network: Our firm’s extensive network of resources, from medical professionals to experts, is readily available to support your case. This multidisciplinary support helps in building a compelling personal injury claim.

At Horst Shewmaker, we don’t just represent you; we partner with you in your legal and medical recovery. Reach out today for a free consultation and let us show you how we can help turn your legal challenge into a path toward restoration.

What to do if you have been attacked or bitten by a dog

Injuries caused by dog bites can have significant medical, financial, and legal ramifications, necessitating the expertise of an Alpharetta Dog Bite Attorney. Considering that millions of people are attacked or bitten by dogs each year, consulting with an Alpharetta Dog Bite Attorney is crucial to understand the necessary steps to be taken following a dog bite.

Identify the dog and witnesses

Important steps following a dog bite incident

  • Find out the owner of the dog and where they live, if possible. Exchange information to be able to contact them after the incident.
  • Get a copy of the dog’s rabies vaccinations and the homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Gather contact information from any witnesses. In the event of a lawsuit or an insurance claim, eyewitness accounts can provide a more accurate demonstration of the incident.
  • If you cannot identify the dog’s owner, try to take photos of it. This will help in identifying the owner during a case.

Seek emergency medical treatment

Because some dogs are not vaccinated against rabies, and puncture wounds are very prone to infection, it is important to seek medical treatment.

Tips when seeking medical treatment following a dog bite

  • Depending on the severity of the bite, contact 911 or be driven to your local urgent care to receive medical treatment.
  • Take pictures of your wounds before treatment to accurately document the damage of the bite for an insurance case.
  • Keep any medical records that are related to the specific dog bite incident, as well as receipts and travel costs.

Report the attack to animal control

After you have received medical treatment, file a bite report with the Sheriff’s department or local animal control. This legal documentation will be of value to you in the event of a lawsuit or insurance case and can prevent others from possibly getting attacked by the same dog.

Seek legal representation

Although not all dog attacks are serious, they do make up a percentage of emergency room visits every year. Victims of a dog bite are encouraged to seek legal representation from a professional. Due to the complexity of issues, handling dog bite cases in Georgia can be difficult. A dog bite case often involves investigating potential insurance policies available to cover your injuries, working with local police and animal control, and litigation. At HS Law, our specialized dog bite lawyers will evaluate your case and determine the best path forward.

Prove Your Case

When filing a lawsuit over a dog bite in Georgia, one of the most critical elements is establishing that the owner knew the dog was aggressive or prone to biting. This is often referred to as the “one-bite rule,” although the term can be somewhat misleading. The owner does not need to know an actual previous bite; awareness of any aggressive tendencies — such as a history of threats, attempts to bite, or overly protective behavior — can suffice.

In Georgia, you can establish a dog owner’s liability for a bite in a couple of key ways, beyond proving the owner knew of the dog’s vicious behavior:

  • Running at Large: In many Georgia counties (including Fulton County), it is unlawful for the owner, custodian, or harborer of a dog to allow it to roam off their property unrestrained. According to the Fulton County Code of Ordinances, dogs must be securely leashed when off the owner’s premises. If a dog was not on a leash at the time of an attack and was “running at large,” this fact alone can significantly bolster your case. 
  • Vicious Propensities: The second legal avenue through which you can establish a claim is by demonstrating that the dog had “vicious propensities.” This entails proving that the owner knew or should have known that the dog posed a danger but failed to act with reasonable care to prevent the animal from causing harm. Evidence of prior aggressive behavior, regardless of whether it resulted in an actual bite, can be used to establish these propensities.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to establish to pursue a dog bite lawsuit in Georgia:

  • Evidence that the dog has previously exhibited aggressive behavior or tendencies.
  • Demonstration that the dog’s owner knew or should have known about the dog’s aggressive nature.
  • Proof that the dog bite caused physical injury, emotional distress, or both.

It’s also important to note that Georgia applies a modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases. This means that if you are found to be partially responsible for the incident — for example, if you were provoking the dog or trespassing — your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with a clearer understanding of how these laws apply to your specific situation. If you have been attacked by a dog, call HS Law at 404-400-1175 for a free consultation to address your case.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Alpharetta

Georgia Code § 9-3-33 states that individuals who have suffered dog bite injuries have a period of two years from the date of the injury to initiate a claim. This statute of limitations applies regardless of whether the claim is being filed by the bite victim directly or on behalf of another, such as a minor child or a deceased family member.

The two-year deadline is more than just a procedural formality; it acts as a strict cutoff. If you fail to file a claim within this window, the courts have the authority to dismiss your case, effectively eliminating any possibility of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. This can be particularly frustrating for injury victims who may be dealing with long-term repercussions from their injuries and are seeking necessary financial relief.

Given these constraints, you should speak to a qualified dog bite attorney as soon as possible after the incident. An experienced attorney can ensure that your claim is filed within the required timeframe and help you secure the best possible outcome for your situation.

Compensation in a Dog Bite Claim

In Georgia, individuals who have been injured in a dog bite incident may be entitled to seek various forms of monetary damages, depending on the specifics of their case. They include but may not be limited to:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for medical costs is one of the most immediate concerns in a dog bite claim. This can cover everything from emergency room visits and hospitalization to follow-up care, prescription medication, and rehabilitation services. If long-term medical treatment is needed due to the severity of the injuries, these future medical expenses can also be claimed.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries force you to miss work, you can claim compensation for lost wages. This includes not only the income lost while you were unable to work but also any potential loss of future income if your injuries have led to a long-term impact on your ability to earn. 
  • Pain and Suffering: This category of compensation is intended to address the non-economic damages you have suffered, which include physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress. The severity of your injuries and the impact on your day-to-day life are factors in determining the amount of pain and suffering compensation.
  • Property Damage: If personal property was damaged during the attack, such as clothing or a mobile device, you can also seek compensation for the repair or replacement of these items.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases where the animal owner’s behavior is found to be particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These are not tied directly to the injuries suffered but are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future. In dog bite cases, recovering punitive damages is rare.  

The amount of compensation you may receive in a dog bite case is influenced by several factors:

  • Severity of the Injuries: Generally speaking, more severe injuries result in higher compensation, particularly if they lead to long-term disability or disfigurement.
  • Diminished Quality of Life: If the injuries hurt your life, such as chronic pain or emotional trauma, this can increase the compensation amount.
  • Comparative Negligence Law: If you are found partially at fault for the incident (for example, if you provoked the dog), the compensation can be reduced proportionally to your degree of fault.

Seeking the guidance of a skilled attorney can help ensure that all potential avenues for compensation are thoroughly explored.

HS Law Specialized Dog Bite Lawyers

Handling dog bite cases in Georgia can be difficult due to the laws and regulations regarding the situation. A dog bite case often involves investigating potential insurance policies available to cover your injuries. Additionally, it requires working with local police, animal control, and litigation. Hiring an experienced lawyer removes those burdens for you. Also, we can help calculate an accurate amount of compensation that you should receive. At HS Law, our specialized dog bite lawyers evaluate your case and help determine the best path forward.

Dog bites are a very common occurrence in Georgia. HS Law has lawyers with extensive experience handling these types of claims, lawsuits, and settlements. We understand that every case is different and we evaluate each on its merit by looking at a few common factors. First, we document the nature and severity of the injury, including scarring, secondary infections, and medical treatments. We then assess the client’s case with Georgia’s dog bite laws. Finally, we look at outcomes from similar cases to determine the likelihood of success.

If you have been attacked by a dog and need legal help, schedule a free consultation with HS Law today. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 404-400-1175 or contact us online today.

Prove Your Case

Under Georgia law, there are two main ways to prove your case if you have been bitten or attacked by a dog. (insert copy about helping prove)

“Running at Large”

The first way to prove your case is to show that the dog was “running at large”. The Fulton County Code of Ordinances states that it is unlawful for the owner, custodian or harborer of any dog to allow said dog to leave the premises of the person unless it is securely under leash. This basically means that if the county or the city has a leash law, and the dog was not on a leash at the time of the attack, you have a valid case.

“Vicious Propensities”

The second way to prove your case is to show that the dog had “vicious propensities”.  This means that the owner of the dog knew that the dog was or could have been dangerous and acted without reasonable care to restrain.

If you have been attacked by a dog and are confident or unsure if the incident falls into one of these two categories, call HS Law at 404-400-1175 for your free consultation to address your case.

HS Law Specialized Dog Bite Lawyers

Handling dog bite cases in Georgia can be difficult due to the laws and regulations regarding the situation. A dog bite case often involves investigating potential insurance policies available to cover your injuries. Additionally, it requires working with local police and animal control, and litigation. Hiring an experienced lawyer removes those burdens for you. Also, we can help calculate an accurate amount of compensation that you should receive. At HS Law, our specialized dog bite lawyers evaluate your case and help determine the best path forward.

Dog bites are a very common occurrence in Georgia. HS Law has lawyers with extensive experience handling these types of claims, lawsuits, and settlements. We understand that every case is different and we evaluate each on its own merit by looking at a few common factors. First, we document the nature and severity of the injury, including scarring, secondary infections, and medical treatments. We then assess the client’s case with Georgia’s dog bite laws. Finally, we look at outcomes from similar cases to determine the likelihood of success.

If you have been attacked by a dog and are in need of legal help, schedule a free consultation with HS Law today. Call HS Law at 404-400-1175 for your free consultation with our specialized dog bite lawyers to evaluate your case.

DOG BITES: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does size or breed of dog matter when determining a case?

The size and the breed of the dog do not matter when determining if a dog bite case is worth representing. We have handled cases involving attacks by Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Dachshunds, and mutts, just to name a few. The size or the breed of a dog does not make a difference.

Another dog killed or severely injured my pet. Does this qualify for a case?

If your pet is injured by another owners dog, you may have a case. However, the value of your case is limited.

As much as we love our pets and consider them family, pets are considered personal property under Georgia law. Because pets are deemed personal property, you cannot recover pain and suffering as a result of your dog being attacked. In other words, the value of your claim is equal to what your pet’s medical treatment costs you following the attack. Our specialized team of dog bite lawyers at HS Law does not handle these types of cases.

How much compensation can I receive for a dog bite?

There is no possible way for an attorney to be able to put a specific number on how much a case is worth without a detailed review of it first. However, a victim could receive many types of compensation including medical costs, lost wages, emotional distress, and more.