Dog bites can be disfiguring or even deadly. If a dog bit you, it is important to know the steps to take to ensure you get the medical care you need. In addition, Georgia law makes it possible to recover compensation from the dog owner’s insurance policy to cover medical bills, lost wages and other costs. Following the right procedures after a bite are key to receiving this compensation.
Should I see a doctor after a dog bites me even if I am not seriously injured?
If you did not get medical care immediately following the bite, you should schedule an appointment right away. Severe bites often require calling 911 or receiving other emergency medical attention. You should have a doctor evaluate your bite, even a minor one, because of the high risk of infection with puncture wounds from a dog.
In addition to cleaning the wound and offering the proper preventative vaccinations, the doctor will also note your visit – including details about your injury – in your medical records. This documentation may become useful if you later file for compensation from the dog owner’s insurance or file a legal claim to have your medical bills covered.
How should I document the incident and my injuries?
It is a good idea to begin a journal as soon as possible after the incident. In this journal, you can record your recollections of the incident. Also, write down important details such as the identity of the dog and its owner, the owner’s insurance company, and any records pertaining to the dog’s vaccinations and behavioral history. Do not forget to record any medical care you receive, including both doctor’s appointments and home care.
You will also want document your injuries as soon as possible after the incident. These wounds will most likely heal by the time you need evidence to support your dog bite personal injury claim. Photograph all puncture wounds, areas of torn flesh, and bruises. Taking pictures of any torn or bloodied clothing from the attack is also a good idea.
Do I need to report the bite to authorities?
It is important to report the incident to the local animal control authorities. If you or someone else called 911, officers have most likely already filed a report. However, it is a good idea to call and file a report on your own. These reports are paramount in legally documenting your case, as well as protecting others from a dog that may bite again in the future.
In Gwinnett County, Animal Welfare and Enforcement handles dog bite reports. You can call the Gwinnett County non-emergency police number, 770-513-5700, to file a report.
Once you or a police officer file a report, an Animal Welfare officer will contact the owner about Georgia’s required 10-day rabies quarantine and the officer may issue a citation for any ordinances that the owner violated that played a part in the incident.
How can I obtain compensation for my injuries?
In most cases, the dog owner’s insurance will pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other costs. The laws that outline dog bite claims, however, can be complex and these cases are often more complicated than they first seem. Be sure to contact a lawyer before speaking to the owner’s insurance company.
The Brauns Law team can help you file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary. We can help you prove the dog was dangerous, negotiate a fair settlement with the owner’s insurance company, or advocate for you in court if legal action becomes necessary.
For a free case evaluation, contact us today at 404-418-8244.