Sadly, another Atlanta child has died after being injured by a pit bull. A 5-day-old baby girl was crying in her crib when the dog (in what investigators deemed to be an apparent attempt to help the baby) climbed on top of the crib and crushed the baby’s skull. The baby died at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta after doctors valiantly tried to save her young life. Four other Georgia babies were being treated for pit bull bites when the baby was brought to the hospital. After a thorough investigation, the police and investigators determined that this was an unavoidable accident and not the result of negligence or the result of the pit bull being vicious or dangerous. The baby’s mother was in the room seconds after the dog, but it was too late.
This case really is a tragic accident and one that will not result in a lawsuit because it was a family accident in the home. However, most dog attacks occur in the neighborhood or at local parks or business establishments. When someone is attacked under these circumstances, there is a real possibility that a lawsuit will ensue.
As noted in a previous article, when spring arrives in Atlanta, so does dog bite season. As an experienced Atlanta injury lawyer who has helped clients recover for injuries suffered in dog bite cases (and as a concerned parent), I hope and pray that Atlanta-area moms and dads are especially careful to keep their kids out of harm’s way. Please do the following if you or your child is bitten by a dog or other animal:
1) Identify the animal without risking an additional attack;
(2) Seek immediate medical attention;
(3) Find out who the animal’s owner is. If possible, obtain the insurance information from the dog’s owner and set up a claim as soon as possible. While this is something your attorney will do in most case, it should not be left up to the at-fault dog owner to do this as if they fail to timely report the claim, you run the risk of the dog attack being an “uninsurable event”;
(4) If the injuries are severe, consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer who has handled these types of cases successfully in the past.
According to the ASPCA, dog aggression encompasses a range of behaviors that usually begins with warnings and can culminate in an attack. Dogs may abort their efforts at any point during an aggressive encounter. A dog that shows aggression to people usually exhibits some part of the following sequence of increasingly intense behaviors:
- Becoming very still and rigid
- Guttural bark that sounds threatening
- Lunging forward or charging at the person with no contact
- Mouthing, as though to move or control the person, without applying significant pressure
- “Muzzle punch” (the dog literally punches the person with her nose)
- Showing teeth
- Snarl (a combination of growling and showing teeth)
- Quick nip that leaves no mark
- Quick bite that tears the skin
- Bite with enough pressure to cause a bruise
- Bite that causes puncture wounds
- Repeated bites in rapid succession
- Bite and shake
Dogs don’t always follow this sequence, and they often do several of the behaviors above simultaneously. Many times, the dogs’ don’t recognize the warning signs before a bite, so they perceive their dogs as suddenly flying off the handle. However, that’s rarely the case. It can be just milliseconds between a warning and a bite, but dogs rarely bite without giving some type of warning beforehand.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and dog bite lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.