Dog Bite Injuries
Dogs are man's best friend, but there are millions of people who suffer from dog bite injuries every year in the United States. While many of these dog bites aren't severe, there are injuries that cause individuals' pain and suffering, lost wages and time from their jobs, as well as piles of medical bills.
Georgia is no exception.
When a person is bitten by a dog, in many cases, the dog's owner is held responsible. A dog bite—even one that appears to cause only a minor injury—can cause pain and suffering, as well as spreading disease and infection.
Dog Bite Injuries
A victim of a dog bite may suffer serious injuries, such as trauma and nerve damage to the injured area, crushed and broken bones, vision problems or the loss of an eye, tendon and soft tissue damage, puncture wounds, severe emotional distress and post-traumatic stress, as well as permanent scarring and disfigurement from the lacerations or puncture wounds.
A seemingly minor dog bite can also cause infection or serious disease.
Dog Bites Can Cause Disease
While you may think that the injuries from a dog bite are quite minor, you should know that there are several diseases that a victim can suffer from even the most insignificant of dog bites:
- This disease is a very serious effect of a dog bite. These days, contracting rabies from a dog bite in the U.S. is fairly uncommon. Even so, a dog bite victim should be aware of the risk and ask a doctor to conduct a test. This virus affects the brain and is almost always fatal when the symptoms appear.
- Clostridium tetani. Tetanus is a toxin produced by a type of bacteria called clostridium tetani which causes paralysis and is especially serious when a dog bite is deep.
- This bacteria lives in the mouths of humans, as well as dogs and cats. In some instances, Capnocytophaga can be passed to people through bites, scratches, or close contact from a dog and cause illness, especially if the victim has a weakened immune system and can't easily fight infections.
- This is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in infected dog bite wounds. Pasteurella can cause painful infection at the site of the dog bite, but can also result in a more serious disease in those who have weakened immune systems which also causes swollen glands, joint swelling, and difficulty moving.
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This is a type of staph infection that is resistant to some antibiotics which can result in skin, lung, and urinary tract infections. In fact, MRSA can spread to a person's bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
How Does Tosi Law Can Help Plaintiffs Recover?
In Georgia, a victim of a dog bite must show negligence by the dog's owner. He must show that the owner knew the dog might be vicious or dangerous.
A successful plaintiff bringing a negligence action must prove all of the following:
- The owner had a duty to take reasonable care to control his animal's behavior;
- The owner breached that duty or failed to meet that duty;
- The breach was the direct proximate cause of the victim's injury; and
- The victim suffered damages.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Tosi Law have represented numerous clients of dog bite negligence cases. They will work diligently to get you the compensation you need for your injuries.
The “One-Bite Rule”
Many states adhere to an old legal doctrine known as “the one-bite rule.” This rule generally says that if a person's dog injures someone, the owner isn't liable unless and until he had reason to know that his dog might cause the injury. But other states' laws say that the dog owner is liable regardless of what they knew or didn't know about the dog's temperament.
Georgia dog bite cases are governed by a modified “one bite rule.” This rule states that if a dog owner is aware that his dog is violent or vicious, then he can be held liable for the dog's actions. However, in many instances, there's just one way to prove that a dog is vicious: knowing that the animal has bitten someone in the past. Plus, a victim must show that the owner of the dog has been keeping the animal carelessly or recklessly—like allowing the animal to roam free in the area.
In Georgia, a dog can also be considered “vicious” if it's not leashed, and there's a leash law or ordinance that's applicable. Most cities and towns in the state have ordinances and rules about responsible dog ownership. Georgia law says that the dog owner can be fined up to $5,000 and face a year in prison the first time their dog attacks someone.
A dog owner may be held to be liable if their pet injures someone. If a jury finds for the victim in a negligence case, the owner of the dog will have to pay the victim damages, which can include the victim's medical bills, pain and suffering, his lost income, and property damage, such as ruined clothing or destroyed personal effects. In addition, the dog owner may be liable for punitive damages.
If the conduct of the dog owner was particularly reckless or outrageous, he may be ordered to also pay an amount above and beyond what is needed to compensate the victim. If the owner is found to have repeatedly allowed his dog to run loose in the area, these punitive or “exemplary” damages are aimed at punishing the dog owner for this behavior and to hopefully prevent this from happening again in the future.
With 4 in 10 Americans owning at least one dog, it can come as no shock that more than 800,000 Americans receive medical treatment for dog bites annually.
A personal injury claim stemming from a dog bite will depend upon the specifics of your accident. In Georgia, you need an attorney that knows the law and knows how to win. Contact Tosi Law.
Call us at 888-312-2518 today for your free consultation. We're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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