Dog Bites And Animal Attacks
Although most dogs make friendly pets, they can inflict serious injuries if they bite. Dog bites can cause deep wounds that may result in permanent scarring, nerve damage, broken bones and, in extreme cases, wrongful death. Georgia dog bite law typically holds owners accountable for the injuries and damages inflicted by their animals. However, for a successful dog bite lawsuit, you and your lawyer must demonstrate that the dog was dangerous and that the owner was negligent.
If someone else’s dog bit or otherwise caused you or your child harm, you may be entitled to compensation under premises liability law. However, the owner’s insurance company may reject your case or claim that you provoked the attack. An experienced dog bite lawyer from McArthur Law Firm can help you fight for your rights. We have a record of success with premises liability claims, including many multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements.
What Are The Requirements For A Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Unlike some states, Georgia dog bite law does not hold pet owners strictly liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs and other animals, no matter what. Instead, state law requires some proof that the dog owner was somehow negligent. Thus, in your dog bite lawsuit, you must show:
- The dog was vicious or dangerous.
- The owner knew of the danger and negligently failed to leash or contain the dog. Some local ordinances require dogs to be on a leash at all times. This means that any dog allowed off a leash outside the owner’s property may automatically be “dangerous.”
- The dog bite victim did not provoke an attack. This requirement typically applies only to adults; different rules apply to child victims.
If you meet all three of these requirements, you may file a dog bite lawsuit within two years of the time when you sustained the injury. Additionally, Georgia follows a comparative negligence rule for dog bites. This means that if you contributed to your injuries, the courts will reduce your compensation by an amount equivalent to your degree of fault.
What Is Considered “Vicious Or Dangerous” Under Georgia Dog Bite Law?
Often, the most difficult aspect of a dog bite lawsuit is demonstrating that the owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous. This means that the dog must have displayed some tendency of violence before the attack. Some behaviors and circumstances that can demonstrate a dog is “vicious or dangerous” to the court include:
- A history of dog bites. If a dog has bitten someone before, then the owner may be liable for all future bite injuries and damages.
- Threatening behavior. While a habit of barking at strangers is usually not cause for concern, any other threatening behavior often is enough to indicate that a dog is a danger. These behaviors can include growling and/or snapping at people.
- A habit of jumping on people. A dog does not necessarily have to bite you to inflict serious, painful injuries. If a dog owner knows that his or her pet often jumps up on guests and other people, even in a playful way, then that owner is probably liable for any fall injuries the dog inflicts by knocking someone over.
- Certain breeds. Although a dog’s breed is not always enough to establish that it is dangerous throughout Georgia, some cities and townships have ordinances classifying certain breeds as inherently dangerous. If you are bitten by one of these breeds in an area with a dangerous dog ordinance, then you do not have to provide any additional proof that the dog is a threat. These breeds may include pit bulls, chows, German shepherds, Rottweilers and/or Doberman pinschers.
- A history of dog fighting. Dogs trained for fighting are almost always considered dangerous under Georgia dog bite law. Additionally, dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states.
Bitten By A Dog? Contact Our Macon Dog Bite Lawyer For A Free Consultation.
If you sustained serious injuries as the result of an animal attack, then a dog bite lawyer from our law firm may be able to help. Our attorneys can investigate and gather evidence, including eyewitness testimony and records of any previous violence associated with the dog. We can represent your case and fight to hold the dog owner accountable for your injuries, even if the dog has no history of viciousness.
We offer free initial consultations as well as contingency fee arrangements for all cases, nationwide. Call our Macon and Atlanta law office at 478-238-1150or contact us online to speak to an attorney about your premises liability case.