You can’t deny the reality that there is a special bond between dogs and pet owners. For millions of families, a dog is more than just a pet, they’re also part of the family.
Unfortunately, not all dogs are fluffy and sweet members of a household.
Dangerous dogs can cause serious bite injuries to innocent victims. The World Health Organization recently reported that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the U.S alone.
A dog attack is a frightening and potentially life-altering experience. It can cause plenty of physical injuries, including puncture wounds, soft tissue injuries, and broken bones, among other serious injuries.
A more severe injury causes infections which may require stitches or even life-threatening issues that may lead to surgery. Moreover, their bite may be left with permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability.
One of the most severe diseases that can be contracted from dog bites is rabies. While rare, rabies in humans can result in hallucinations, paralysis, confusion, hydrophobia, and eventually death if left untreated.
Dog bites also leave their victims with considerable emotional trauma. The incident can leave emotional trauma, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few.
So what happens when another person’s dog attacks you and causes injury, pain, and suffering in Georgia?
Who is liable for my injuries?
In the state of Georgia, the law views dogs as harmless and hold dog owners legally responsible for people’s safety around their pets.
A person attacked and injured by a dog in some way should be able to receive compensation for their injuries and other damages from the dog owner.
Proving your claim against a dog owner
Strict liability states that dog owners are financially responsible for the dog bite upon proving a dog bite and its damages to the victim, the dog owner will not always be held accountable if the victim was deemed to have fault for their injury.
They can avoid legal responsibility if the injured person knew the risk of the injury, provoked the dog, trespassed or broke the law at the time of the injury, or contributed to the incident by being unreasonably careless.
Georgia’s dog bite statute in O.C.G.A § 51-2-7 provides two ways to hold a dog owner liable for the injuries inflicted by their dog.
The injured person must prove the following.
Knowledge of the Dog’s Viciousness
In cases of dog bites and other animal-related injuries, Georgia is considered to be a negligence state. This means that the individual who has experienced an injury due to a bite or attack by a dog has to prove that the dog owner knew that their pet was “vicious” or “dangerous” to prove liability.
There are several types of evidence that might be relevant in proving that the owner knew their dog was potentially aggressive, but the most adequate is proof of prior bites as this obviously constitutes sufficient information to alert the owner of the dog’s tendency to be vicious towards others.
Dog training and warning signs are also sufficient evidence to provide knowledge that the dog is potentially dangerous. You can offer the fact that the owner knows that their dog undergoes guard or attack dog training or that they post warning signs such as “Beware of Dog” or “Dog Bites” as evidence.
Once the knowledge of the dog’s aggression has been proven, the victim must further show that the owner acted negligently and allowed the dog to roam without any restraint.
Violation of Leash Ordinance
Some counties in Georgia have leash laws which forbid dogs from roaming around without being on leashes. Cases wherein the dog bites somebody while running loose will be much easier to prove your case against the dog owner.
Courts will often deem the violation of leash laws to be enough to determine that the owner was negligent or irresponsible as they allowed an aggressive dog to injure another individual.
If you have either been attacked by a dog or own a dog that attacked someone, consider talking to an experienced Dog Bite injury attorney from The Brown Firm for any legal advice and find out how local laws apply in your situation and how best to proceed.
Contact our experienced dog bite attorneys at (912) 324-2592 for a Free Consultation to discuss the nature of your case or click the link below.
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