A big dog running on some grass.
A dog attack can cause a wide range of potential problems, from the immediate puncture wounds to a high risk of infection often associated with severe dog bite injuries. If you suffer serious injuries in a dog attack, what should you do next?

How to React to a Dog Attack

Often, dog attacks come seemingly out of nowhere. You may have assumed that your neighbor’s dog was friendly and that you did not have anything to worry about, whether you walked by your neighbor’s property or the dog made its way into your yard. Unfortunately, now, you have discovered otherwise–the hard way. What comes next?

1. Take care of emergency first aid immediately.

Make any emergency first aid needs your top priority. You may need to immediately stop the bleeding associated with the bite or seek emergency help by calling 911. If you have severe bleeding or need emergency medical care, you may need to summon an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Do not forego medical care after a dog attack. Dog bites can lead to serious injuries, from the puncture wounds you can see to more serious injuries beneath the skin. In some cases, dog attacks can also lead to a high risk of infection. When you seek medical care for the dog attack, you can receive medications that may reduce the risk of infection and treatment to help increase the odds of healing. Furthermore, medical care can create a record of the injuries you sustained in the dog attack.

2. Let the police know about the attack.

The police can respond to the scene of the accident and create a report about the attack. A police report may include information about where the attack occurred and what injuries you sustained. In some cases, the police may restrain the dog immediately for testing or to prevent further injuries to others in the area.

3. Notify your neighbor, if relevant.

If your neighbor is at home and you feel safe notifying your neighbor about the attack, you should let your neighbor know about the attack. Once a dog has attacked once, in Georgia, the dog is assumed to be a dangerous dog, and the owner may need to take further steps to secure the dog and protect against future attacks.

4. Contact a dog bite lawyer.

If you suffered injuries in an Atlanta dog attack, you need a dog bite attorney in Atlanta to help you manage your claim. An attorney can provide you with vital information about your claim, from whether you have grounds for a dog bite claim to whether you should sue the landlord or the dog owner following a dog attack.

Do I Have the Right to File a Dog Bite Claim?

Georgia law notes that the owner of a dog that bites someone else and causes injury or damage will bear liability for that dog’s actions and the damages that result from it. However, the law does note several key details.

You must have suffered injuries in the attack.

A dog attack can prove very frightening, particularly in the case of a big or dangerous-looking dog. The fact that a dog growls at you or acts territorial around you, however, does not necessarily automatically mean that you have the right to file a dog bite claim. In order to file a claim, you must have sustained injuries in the dog attack: puncture wounds, broken bones, or infection directly related to the attack, for example.

You must not have provoked the dog.

Sometimes, the actions of the wounded party may have provoked the dog to attack. For example, some people enjoy getting a dog riled up or encouraging it to jump and bark. Sometimes, however, those actions can go too far, provoking the dog to actually engage in an attack. If you provoked the dog, you may not have the right to a claim.

You may need to prove that the dog’s owner failed to properly restrain the dog according to local statutes or leash laws.

If you entered your neighbor’s property without permission, and the dog attacked you, your neighbor may not bear liability for that attack. On the other hand, if you entered an area of the property where you had the legal right to go, including the street or sidewalk in front of the neighbor’s house, you may have the right to file a claim. You may also have to file a claim if your neighbor failed to control the dog, and the dog, as a result, got into your yard or near your home. Georgia dog owners must restrain their dogs on leashes of at no more than six feet when the dog goes outside the property. Georgia dog owners must also keep their dogs on their property, rather than simply allowing them to roam.

You may need to establish that the dog was known to be dangerous.

Dogs who have attacked in the past, and who are known to be dangerous as a result, may require more restraint and attention than a dog who has never caused an incident in the past. Georgia law does not assume that dogs are aggressive on the grounds of the dog’s breed alone. Rather, Georgia law requires any dog owner who knows that the animal has committed past acts of aggression to properly secure the dog.

Contact a Lawyer After Your Georgia Dog Attack

Dealing with the aftermath of a Georgia dog attack can prove incredibly difficult and traumatic. In many cases, you may find yourself dealing with the liable party’s homeowner’s insurance company, which may try to establish that you do not deserve the compensation you expect for your injuries. Working with a lawyer, however, can make it easier to get the compensation you deserve. Contact a Georgia dog bite attorney to learn more about your right to compensation and to connect with someone who will fight to help you recover compensation for your dog bite injuries.