Do I Have a Dog Bite Claim?
In Georgia, you have the right to pursue a liability claim for damages against a dog owner if you are the victim of a vicious dog attack.
Dogs can attack people for many reasons, including:
- poor socialization by the dog’s owner
- lack of training
- or even poor health of the dog
Whatever the reason, dog attacks are dangerous and can be deadly. Dangerous dogs can cause serious injuries. Bites can require stitches and even cosmetic surgery to repair scars. Children are especially at risk of dangerous dogs who are not properly secured by their owners.
All owners have a responsibility to keep dogs safely secured. Never is this more important than in the case of a dog that is known to be dangerous. If a dog owner knows his or her dog might bite someone, or has indeed already done so in the past, he or she is responsible for keeping that dog secured and away from people who could get hurt.
It can be difficult to pursue a dog bite claim in Georgia. State law requires that for a dog owner to be deemed liable, two standards must be met:
- dog owner must know that his or her dog is a dangerous dog. This is sometimes known as the “first bite rule” or “one bite rule.” If a dog has never attacked or shown any kind of aggression before, a dog owner cannot be deemed liable for injuries sustained in an attack. Many critics of the law point out that this allows dangerous dogs a “free bite” before a dog owner can be held liable for damages.
However, even if a dog has never bitten or attacked a person prior to the incident in question, the dog’s owner can be held liable if they knew the dog would probably bite at some point in the future. Attacks against other dogs or animals or even inanimate objects can be enough for a dog owner to realize his or her dog is vicious. Aggressive behavior by a dog such as growling, approaching someone menacingly, or barring teeth is enough to alert an owner that a dog could hurt someone in the future.
- The dog owner must be in violation of a leash law, meaning he or she has failed to properly secure the dog. This can include intentionally letting a dog outside to run free, letting children play outside with a dog that is unsecured, or leaving doors or gates open that would allow a dog to escape a fenced yard and run free.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vicious dog attack in Georgia, you have a right to pursue damages. Due to the complications of the Georgia dog bite law, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney who handles these types of cases.
Ty Wilson is a Georgia dog bite lawyer and always strives to provide valuable information to those who have been injured and the families of the injured. If you have specific questions or would like to discuss your case with an attorney, give Ty Wilson a call at 866-937-5454.