Macon Dog Bite Attorney
Statistics compiled from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources reveal that about 4.5 million people get bitten by dogs every year, with 800,000 people needing to seek medical attention for their wounds. Every day about 1,000 people head to the emergency room after a dog bite, and over 12,000 individuals wind up hospitalized to treat their injuries. Dozens of people, from infants and toddlers to adults, die every year after a dog bite or animal attack in the U.S. In 2020, insurance companies in Georgia fielded $15 million in hundreds of dog bite claims across the state.
These aren’t wild animals on the prowl causing these injuries and deaths; they are somebody’s pets. Dog owners have a strict responsibility to manage and control their animals and keep them from needlessly injuring others. Dog owners who negligently allow their dogs to bite can and should be held liable for the injuries that result. Buzzell, Welsh & Hill can help. Call our experienced Macon dog bite attorneys today for a free consultation about how we can help you get care and compensation for the expensive, painful and traumatic injuries visited on you by a dog bite or animal attack in Middle Georgia.
Dog Bites Can Be Serious and Deadly
All dogs are carnivores, built with sharp teeth and strong jaws that can tear flesh and crush bone, depending on the relative sizes of dog and victim and the savagery of the attack. Even a bite from a smaller dog can cause a deep puncture wound filled with antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be extremely difficult, expensive, lengthy and painful to treat. Any dog attack can also leave the victim with facially disfiguring injuries and nerve damage, or even require the amputation of a limb. Attacks can last several minutes long or be particularly brutal and vicious, leaving the victim with life-long memories of the traumatic event, causing anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder that limit the ability of dog bite survivors to enjoy life as they did before the attack.
Buzzell, Welsh & Hill helps dog bite victims and their families recover significant settlements and jury verdicts that compensate the victims for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, and other legal damages.
Liability Under Georgia Dog Bite Law
In Georgia, dog owners can be held liable for attacks that occur due to their careless management in allowing their dogs to go at liberty. This law applies not only to dogs but to vicious or dangerous animals of any kind. To hold the owner liable, the victim must prove the owner was negligent and the animal was vicious, although this can be accomplished by showing that the dog was not at heel or on a leash when required by a local city or county ordinance.
Dog owners can escape liability by proving that the victim provoked the attack. What constitutes provocation might differ from case to case depending on the age of the victim and all the circumstances surrounding the attack. Juries might also find both parties are partly to blame, but so long as the victim is not considered 50% or more at fault, they can still recover compensation equal to their damages multiplied by the percent of fault held by the dog owner. It’s important to have strong legal representation on your side to keep you from being unfairly blamed for provoking a bite or attack.
Filing “Friendly” Lawsuits in Dog Bite Cases
Dog bites don’t always occur on the street or at a park by a strange animal. Many times, the victim is bitten or attacked at the home of a friend, neighbor or family member. In these cases, victims are sometimes reluctant to bring claims against people they are friendly with. It’s important to know that homeowners’ or renter’s insurance will pay these claims, so your friend or family member won’t have to pay any of their own money to compensate you. Even if a lawsuit has to be filed to get the insurance company to pay what it is supposed to, this doesn’t have to affect your relationship with the owner of the dog, who is probably equally upset about what happened and wants to see you compensated.
The dog bite lawyers at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill can represent you in settlement talks or litigation with the insurance company, whether the dog owner is your closest friend or a complete stranger. Our focus is on your needs and goals, and we’ll work to see that you are adequately compensated. If the owner knew their dog was dangerous yet was grossly negligent in how they handled the animal, punitive damages might even be appropriate, and if they intended harm such as by commanding the dog to attack you, the punitive damage award could be unlimited under Georgia law. You can count on Buzzell, Welsh & Hill to represent your interests zealously and with the skill acquired over decades of experience in Georgia personal injury law.
Contact Buzzell, Welsh & Hill Today
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or worse by an animal attack in Middle Georgia, the attorneys at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill can help. Call our experienced Macon dog bite lawyers today.