Tifton Dog Bite Lawyer
Most dogs are loyal companions that comfort and protect their owners. However, not every dog is created equally. Some dogs are known to bite or attack other dogs or people. This may result from poor training, aggressive nature, or out of fear.
Unfortunately, dog bites are common in the Tifton, GA, area. If a dog bit you or a loved one, consider speaking with an attorney about your legal options. You might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and trauma from the attack.
The King Firm has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients, including those hurt by aggressive dogs. We have over 16 years of combined experience and can help you build a legal case.
How Can The King Firm Help Me After a Dog Bite Attack in Tifton?
You may feel confused and alone after a dog bite. A personal injury lawyer in Tifton can help you by explaining your legal rights and obligations and preparing your case. At The King Firm, our lead attorney is among the most experienced trial lawyers in South Georgia and has received numerous accolades for his stellar legal services.
If you hire us to help you, we will:
- Analyze your case and provide legal advice
- Calculate your damages
- Investigate the cause of the dog bite
- Identify the owner
- File insurance claims and negotiate with insurance, if applicable
- Review your medical records
- File a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary
People who hire lawyers tend to recover more compensation than people who don’t. You shouldn’t risk your legal case by going it alone. Call our law office in Tifton, Georgia, to schedule a free consultation with no strings attached.
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries After a Dog Bite in Tifton?
In Tifton, an owner can be held responsible for any injuries caused by their dog. However, an owner is responsible only under certain circumstances. That’s because Georgia applies a modified “one-bite rule.” In states with this type of rule, dog owners are not strictly liable when their animal has never bitten someone before.
Under the state’s modified one-bite rule, however, an owner could still be responsible even if the dog has not previously bitten a person. To show that the owner is liable, a dog bite victim must prove that the dog was:
- Vicious or dangerous; and
- Was carelessly managed or at liberty; and
- Caused injury to another person; and
- Was not provoked at the time of the attack
If a plaintiff can prove each of these elements, they can recover compensation for their injuries even if the dog has never bitten another person before.
Nonetheless, dog bite victims can still receive money damages without respect to the above if they can prove that the owner was negligent (more on this below).
Vicious or Dangerous Dogs
The biggest legal issue in most dog bite cases is proving that a dog is vicious or dangerous. If you can’t prove that the dog was vicious or dangerous, then you cannot recover compensation from the owner.
A dog may be considered vicious or dangerous if the law required the dog to be at heel or leashed, and the dog was not at the time of the bite. In Tift County, dogs are generally required to be leashed in public areas, except dog parks. This means that anytime an unleashed dog bites someone in public, it could be presumptively dangerous or vicious.
Provocation as a Defense
Sometimes, dogs bite people in response to legitimate provocation. This is an exception to dog bite liability. Provocation is determined on a case-by-case basis. Examples of provocation may include if the victim was:
- Abusing the dog
- Taunting a dog
- Threatening a dog or their owner
- Trespassing onto the owner’s private property
In these types of situations, the owner is not responsible for the injuries caused by their dog.
Negligence and Dog Bites
So what happens if a dog bites someone when it is lawfully off-leash? For example, at a dog park or on private premises? In these circumstances, you can still recover compensation from the owner if you prove negligence. In dog bite cases based on negligence, you must show that the owner acted unreasonably and that their action (or inaction) resulted in the dog bite.
For example, if the dog’s owner knows that the dog tends to act aggressively towards others, yet they still allow it to roam freely, then they might be negligent. That’s because a reasonable person would take precautions to prevent their dog from interacting with others when they know they are aggressive.
What Are the Rules for “Dangerous Dogs” in Georgia?
Sometimes dogs are labeled “dangerous” under the Georgia code. If a dog is labeled as dangerous, then the owner must take certain steps to protect people from their dog. When an owner fails to do that and the dog bites someone, the owner is responsible for the damages.
What Is a Dangerous Dog?
A dog may be labeled dangerous per Georgia law under various conditions. Generally speaking, these conditions relate to the dog causing serious injury or aggressively attacking a person.
What Is the Process for Labeling a Dog as Dangerous?
There is a civil legal procedure to label a dog as dangerous. A dog control officer notifies the owner that the dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous. Then a hearing is scheduled to determine if the classification is appropriate. At the hearing, the animal control officer and the owner can put on evidence in favor or against the label.
What Responsibilities Do Dangerous Dog Owners Have?
If a dog is labeled dangerous after a hearing, the owner must:
- Register the dog with the government
- Keep the dog in a secure area on private property
- Post warning signs at every entrance
- Keep the dog on a 6-foot leash or shorter when on walks or in public
- Muzzle the dog while on walks or in public
- Notify dog control within 24 hours if the dog escapes
- Notify the dog control officer of any move
If an owner fails to follow these rules, then they can face civil and criminal charges.
Dog Bite Injuries and Medical Risks
Dog bite injuries can be very serious, especially if the dog is large. Some dogs weigh over 100 pounds and inflict catastrophic or deadly harm on humans. In our experience, the most common types of injuries after a dog bite include:
- Puncture wounds
- Eye injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Nerve damage
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
Our team can help you recover compensation no matter the severity of your injury.
Diseases and Infections
Even if the injury seems minor, dog bites carry the risk of infections and diseases. Some of the most common diseases and infections include:
- Staph infection
- Capnocytophaga bacterial infection
You must seek medical treatment immediately after a dog bite to make sure that your wound is cleaned by a medical professional. You may also need to get additional shots for rabies or tetanus, depending on the dog’s vaccination status.
Should I File a Dog Bite Report in Tifton, Georgia?
You should consider filing a dog bite report with the police or animal control after the bite.
This is important for your legal case, but also to protect others. If the dog has a bite on its record, it may be labeled as dangerous. As a result, the owners are required to take extra precautions to prevent another person from getting hurt in the future.
You should also collect any evidence of the bite at the time it happens. This includes getting the owner’s information, identifying witnesses, and documenting your injuries. Evidence will help prove your case later in court.
What Damages Are Available for Dog Bite Victims in Tifton?
You can recover the same damages in a dog bite case as in any other personal injury case in Tifton. This includes economic damages, non-economic damages, and occasionally punitive damages.
Economic damages are monetary losses that happened because of the bite. This may include:
- Emergency medical bills
- Cost of ongoing treatment
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Lost earning capacity
You can also request non-economic damages for the emotional trauma associated with the bite. Non-economic damages include things such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages are only awarded if you can prove that the owner was reckless or intentionally caused the dog bite. There is also a higher burden of proof standard to meet because the damages are meant to be extra punishment for the defendant.
Contact a Tifton Dog Bite Lawyer in Tifton for a Free Consultation
You are entitled to damages for your injuries and suffering after a traumatic dog bite. You shouldn’t have to suffer in silence and can play a role in protecting others from experiencing the same harm.
If you want to hear more about your legal options, contact a Tifton dog bite lawyer at The King Firm for a free consultation. We are available to hear about your case and discuss how we can help you achieve your legal goals.