Bitten by a dog? Here’s what you need to know!

Being bitten by a dog can be an extremely traumatic event. Whether your injury is minor or severe, a dog bite can cause you emotional distress going forward. If you or a loved one was injured in a dog bite incident, you are dealing with the aftermath of the incident. It could be medical expenses, loss of income, or mental health expenses.

The state of Georgia has a law in place titled the Responsible Dog Ownership Law which outlines stipulations in which dog owners should be held responsible if their dog seriously injures other people or animals. Ownership is defined as the person who possesses, holds, or has custody of the dog. This means that if the dog in question is under the care of a pet sitter, veterinarian, or groomer, they could be held responsible for dog bites that occur while the dog is in their care.

The Responsible Dog Ownership Law categorizes dog bites in two categories: dogs who have previously bitten or shown aggressive behaviors and dogs who have been recognized as dangerous or vicious prior to biting. Under Georgia’s “one bite rule” dog bite victims must prove the owner knew their dog had a tendency to bite and failed to restrain the dog.

Georgia does not have a statewide leash law for dog owners. However,  counties and cities have their own local ordinances that set rules on how to restrain your dog. If a dog bite breaks a local leash ordinance, the owner can be considered legally responsible for the dog bite. This is the second manner in which liablity against a dog owner can be proved.

If a dog has displayed signs of aggression or tendencies to bite, the owner is expected to know if their dog is considered either dangerous or vicious.

Under Georgia law, a dangerous dog is defined as having:

  • Shown aggressive behavior that makes someone think the dog is a threat, NOT including barking and growling.
  • Bitten someone hard enough to puncture skin without serious injury.
  • Killed another pet animal outside of the owner’s property.

While a vicious dog in Georgia is defined as:

  • A dog directly inflicting serious injury on a person.
  • A dog causing a person to suffer from a serious injury during an attempt to escape from an attack.

If you have been the victim of a dangerous or vicious dog, the way to pursue damages, such as compensation from insurance providers, from a dog bite is through an injury claim. A victim must be able to prove a few things to become eligible for receiving compensation:

  • The owner of the animal was negligent and allowed the dog to act carelessly.
  • The dog is dangerous and vicious.
  • The victim did not provoke the dog.
  • A local leash or ordinance was violated.

Dog bite laws can be very difficult in Georgia. An experienced attorney can assist you in building a case while you focus on recovering. An attorney can investigate the incident, gather evidence, communicate to other parties on your behalf, negotiate for compensation, manage legal documents, and represent you in court. In Georgia, there is a two year statute of limitations for personal injury cases that involve dog bite injuries. You need to move quickly when looking to get compensation from the dog bite incident. A lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. Retaining legal services to spearhead your case as soon as possible after the dog bite injury will give you a great chance at winning.

At the J. Stein Law Firm, we understand that you might be stressed after a dog bite injury. We are here to offer you personalized assistance throughout every stage of your claim. If you need to speak with an attorney about a potential case, give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.