While many people believe that their beloved pet would never hurt someone, the unfortunate truth is that dog bites frequently cause severe injuries. In the worst cases, an attack from a domesticated animal could prevent victims from going about their daily routine without experiencing pain and suffering. If a dog injured you or your child, contact a personal injury lawyer today to get to work holding the animal’s owner responsible for their negligence. A compassionate attorney can sit with you to review the details of your case and help you calculate the damages owed to you.
OWNER LIABILITY IN CANINE BITE CASES
When a dog hurts someone, the injured person may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner seeking damages for the injuries it caused. According to the Official Code of Georgia §51-2-7, an injured person must file a lawsuit within two years of the bite to be eligible to seek damages.
To prove that a pet’s owner is legally liable, the plaintiff must demonstrate that:
- First, the dog is dangerous or vicious.
- The owner was careless and failed to control their animal or let it run free.
- Finally, the person did not provoke the attack.
A dog is considered vicious or dangerous if the owner is aware or should be aware of its tendency to bite. While the dog may not have bitten anyone previously, actions like charging at people, growling, snapping, aggressive barking, or lunging to attack can serve as a warning to the owner about the dog’s potential danger.
However, if a dog owner has no reason to believe their animal is vicious and lacks a history of aggressive behavior, the injured person may struggle to prove their case.
LACK OF CONTROL
Dog owners are responsible for following state and local leash and animal control laws. For example, if an owner lets their dog run free onto another’s property or does not walk the dog on a leash, they might be liable for injuries their dog caused while it was uncontrolled.
Some dogs would never bite unless they are provoked. A person who injures, annoys, or irritates a dog until it attacks may find holding the dog owner accountable for their actions difficult.
ATTACKS FROM DANGEROUS DOGS
When a dog has previously bitten a person, Georgia law considers it “dangerous” and imposes several conditions on its owner. For instance, dangerous dogs cannot roam free or leave their owners’ property without being controlled with a leash or muzzle. When an owner is not controlling a dangerous dog, it must remain locked in a cage or secured behind a fence.
Owners of dangerous dogs must register their animal with the state, microchip it, and maintain at least $50,000 in liability insurance if the dog bites someone else. Dangerous dogs cannot be left with a minor, and owners cannot have more than one dangerous dog in their household. Once a dog is legally considered hazardous, its owner faces strict liability in any dog bite cases brought against them by an experienced attorney in Norcross. In addition to a civil case, the owner of a dangerous dog who bites or attacks a second time may also be subject to criminal fines and possible jail time.
GET IN TOUCH WITH A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
If someone else’s dog caused you injury, you may be able to recover damages for your medical costs, lost wages, emotional trauma, permanent scarring, pain and suffering, and more in a personal injury case. Schedule an appointment with a Norcross dog bite lawyer and learn more about your legal options after an attack. If you are unsatisfied with our services during the first 30 days, we will return your file without any charges.