You’ve heard the phrase before – a dog is man’s best friend. And, while this is usually the case, it doesn’t apply to situations where you’re attacked by a dog. You could be walking down the street minding your business when a dog comes out of nowhere. The dog may bite you or knock you down. Or, the dog could try to attack you and scare the daylights out of you. When this happens, you’re going to think the dog’s owner should be held responsible.
One thing to remember when it comes to personal injury law is this – nobody is ever guaranteed damages. Even in cases where it seems obvious that the defendant was at fault, there’s never a guarantee that your claim will be paid. There are often times special circumstances that change the outcome of a case. Or, you don’t have a lawyer and make a mistake in the way you file your legal papers. Any number of things can happen that jeopardize your odds of winning.
When it comes to dog bites in Georgia, it really depends on whether or not you can sue under the dog bite statute. Unlike some other states, Georgia is not a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites. Your Atlanta personal injury lawyer is going to have to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in order to get you damages. If you’re not sure what the dog bit laws are in Georgia, read on. Here, we’ll briefly discuss the Georgia dog bite statute. We’ll also talk about some of the defenses to a dog bite lawsuit.
What are the Dog Bite Laws in Atlanta?
Every state has some sort of statute dealing with dog bites and dog attacks. Many states hold dog owners as strictly liable when it comes to dog bites. This means that, no matter what the circumstances, if their dog bites someone, they’re liable. A lot of laws also limit recovery to people who were bitten by a dog. They don’t include other sorts of animal attacks. Finally, unlike other states, Georgia’s statute covers all sorts of animals – not only dogs.
In order for you to collect damages under the Georgia dog bite statute, you need to show the following:
- The dog was vicious or dangerous
- The owner was careless or let the dog walk on its own (have liberty)
- You didn’t provoke the dog
- You were injured
Take note – this doesn’t require that you be bitten by the dog. Just that you were injured. It also covers all animals, not just dogs. In order to sue someone under this statute, you do have to prove negligence. This means your Atlanta personal injury law must show the following:
- The owner should have known that the dog was dangerous or had a propensity to attack
- The animal was left to its own liberty – for example, the dog was not on a leash
- You didn’t do anything to provoke the animal
- If your lawyer can show all of these things, you have a good chance of recovering for your injuries.
What are the Defenses to a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Georgia?
If you sue someone because their dog attacked you, they aren’t going to sit idly by and pay your damages. Their attorney is going to fight back. Some of the defenses to a claim under the dog bite statute include:
- You abused, tortured or provoked the dog
- The owner had no idea the dog was dangerous
- You weren’t hurt
- You were a trespasser at the time of the attack
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta
If you or your child are bitten or attacked by a dog call our Atlanta personal injury firm. You’re going to need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you. First, you need to prove that the defendant was negligent. You also need to prove that you were injured. It’s a lot easier to do this if you have a skilled injury lawyer by your side.
You need to call right away and schedule your initial consultation. You don’t have to pay anything to do this. You can sit down with an experienced injury lawyer for free. Let them answer any questions you may have. They’ll also let you know how strong your claim is. If you decide to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner, your attorney will help you do this. And remember – you don’t pay a dime until you settle or win your case.