In the 21st century, when we are injured in an accident, it is normally easy to make a claim for compensation against the perpetrator of that injury. Thankfully, that brings peace of mind to many people who could otherwise be left financially out of pocket. Not only can accidents cause physical harm they can also cause mental anguish that can take years to recover from. As such, it is important to seek immediate recourse to get your life back on track. (Image Credit: David Mark/Pixabay)
Most personal injuries are caused by road traffic accidents or workplace mishaps, but what happens when your injury is caused by a dog? Many people would not know where to start in this scenario, so here we will take a look at how to handle dog injury legal cases.
Seek Medical Attention
As with any injury caused by an accident or by a canine, it is of the utmost importance that you seek immediate medical attention. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, is that it is necessary for you to be able to prove that your injuries were caused by the dog in question and not by another animal at a later date, or indeed not by a dog at all. If you don’t do this, then you have no chance of your claim succeeding at all. The second reason is that dog bites can be very nasty.
Dogs carry harmful bacteria in their mouths and, unless any wound is immediately checked, you could run the risk of further complications such as contracting rabies which could lead to death. So do the sensible thing and seek medical attention immediately.
The second most important thing for you to do is document all the circumstances surrounding your injury. If possible take immediate photos or videos of your injury as well as the dog in question. Collect as many witness statements as possible. If the police become involved, make sure you have a copy of their report of the incident. All of this information will be necessary when making a claim. You will most likely be dealing with an insurance company. And they are notoriously hard fighters when it comes to paying out compensation.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
Many states have different statutes of limitations when it comes to making a claim for an injury caused by a dog. For the purposes of this article, we are concentrating on the state of Georgia as they have some of the most complicated laws when it comes to dog injuries. Professional attorneys from Adamson & Cleveland confirm that in Georgia you have two years from the date of the attack to bring your case to court. This may sound like a long time but in reality, it will pass very quickly especially if you are suffering from severe trauma, so make sure that you start to gather all evidence as soon as possible.
Hire a Lawyer
Though it may seem that your case is relatively simple, you should hire a lawyer to fight your corner. This is especially true in negligence states like Georgia. In such states, it can be very difficult to prove that the bite was someone else’s fault. Your attorney will need to prove all the elements of negligence i.e. duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.
These four things together require a lot of experience. As such, only a qualified attorney is capable of properly arguing the point in a court of law. On top of this, a victim must show that the animal was known to be dangerous, the owner was careless and there was no provocation of the dog. Given all these details required, it makes sense to engage a lawyer.
Negotiation is key because often you may receive an offer of settlement immediately after your injury. Although it may be tempting, especially if you are under shock, you should never accept. This is the opponent’s insurance company trying to get away with a lowball offer, and is virtually a sign of guilt. Negotiate hard. And a skilled lawyer is the best choice for these negotiations. After all, you want to receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
As we have learned, handling a dog injury case is not easy. It is very difficult to prove negligence in many states, especially Georgia. It is paramount that you document everything surrounding your case and that you seek urgent medical attention. And hire a lawyer to fight for your side. It will certainly provide a better chance of proving negligence and winning the compensation that you need.