In the United States alone, over 36% of all households have at least one dog as a pet. While dogs are often considered “man’s best friend,” some can be unpredictable and dangerous if not properly trained and supervised.
When a dog bite happens, Georgia law does not presume that the dog itself is dangerous. Instead, the law requires that the injured victim prove that the animal’s owner was negligent and therefore liable (at fault) for the injuries he or she sustained.
Section 51-2-7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated states that in order to prove that a dog’s owner is liable, the victim must prove these three facts:
1) that the animal’s owner knew that his or her dog was “vicious or dangerous;”
2) that the owner was careless with the animal or let it “go at liberty;” and
3) that the victim did not provoke the animal to attack.
In proving that the dog’s vicious propensity, the law finds it sufficient to show that the dog was required to be on a leash by city or county ordinance and that the dog was not on a leash at the time of the attack. Even if the dog is on a leash but the owner does not have sufficient control of the leash, that can also suffice.
Georgia law does not require proof that the dog has bitten someone before the attack for the owner to be deemed at fault and responsible for your injuries.
If you’ve been attacked and bitten by a dog, the first thing to do is seek immediate medical attention. In addition to external injuries sustained from a bite wound, dog bites can become infected. Some dogs, if not given up-to-date vaccinations, could be at risk for rabies or other diseases.
After seeking medical help, be sure to report the incident to law enforcement. If the dog was running free (no leash or collar) contact your local animal control agency. You may be asked whether you would like to press charges or have the animal condemned. You are not forced to have the animal condemned by reporting the incident to the police. It is good to document the incident as proof for filing a claim.
If you are able, find out if the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance, which typically will cover dog bites. State Farm is the most common. If the dog bite occurred on commercial property, the property owner or operator could be liable as well. If the dog bite occurred at an apartment complex or other type of rental property, the landlord could have liability depending on their knowledge of the dog.
While there are no specifics as to how much compensation you can recover for a dog bite injury, Schneider Injury Law is committed to help you get the fair outcome you deserve. Bethany Schneider will carefully review your case details and will seek recovery for:
Any scarring or disfigurement;
Current and future medical bills;
Lost wages; and
Any other losses/expenses related to the incident.
If you have been attacked by a dog, you should contact a reliable and experienced dog bite attorney. Bethany has experience handling dog bite cases to a successful resolution. You have two years from the date of attack to file a lawsuit. However, your claim may not require a lawsuit. You should contact Bethany either way to find out.
Call Schneider Injury Law at (404) 800-3060 or email Bethany directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, confidential consultation.