Defenses Dog Owners Use to Defeat Georgia Dog Bite Claims
Dog bites can cause devastating injuries, emotional pain, and financial losses, so it is reassuring to know that you have options to recover compensation. Under Georgia’s dog bite law, an owner can be held liable for careless management of the animal. In most cases, you seek monetary damages by filing a claim under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Many of these claims settle, but you will have to take your case to court if the parties cannot agree.
Throughout the claims process, settlement negotiations, and litigation, defenses will most definitely be raised by the insurance company and the dog’s owner. Your claim is a loss for the company, so the insurer will try to find any and all reasons to deny it. However, you can overcome defenses to dog bite claims and get the compensation you deserve. You will need a skilled Atlanta dog bite lawyer to assist with these claims by a dog’s owner.
You did not comply with the statute of limitations. Georgia has a deadline for personal injury cases, including dog bite claims. You have two years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit in court. For child victims, the statute of limitations is paused until their 18th birthday. If you fail to initiate litigation, the dog’s owner can claim the defense that you did not meet the deadline. You can count on your lawyer to prevent the statute of limitations from being a defense, because your case will be filed on time.
Your case does not meet the statutory requirements. There are certain details in the law that you must prove to recover compensation, so the dog’s owner may try to allege that:
- You did not show that the animal was dangerous or vicious.
- The dog was on a proper leash as required by law.
- The owner used reasonable precautions and did not carelessly manage the animal.
The dog was provoked. The statute does allow the owner a safe harbor if the victim provoked the animal, thereby causing the dog to attack, bite, or knockdown a victim. Note that this is a valid defense if you did poke, prod, tease, or otherwise engage the dog. You will need evidence to counter the allegations by the owner that you were provoking.
You were trespassing when attacked. If you were not legally present in the space where the dog bit you, the animal’s owner may again have a valid defense. The laws will not award someone who was breaking the law by trespassing, and then bitten by a dog on the premises.
Our Georgia Dog Bite Attorneys are Prepared for Defenses
If you were injured by a dog, you cannot let defenses by the dog’s owner stand in the way of getting the compensation you deserve. For more information about your rights, please contact Zagoria Law. You can call 404.653.0023 or visit our website to schedule a free case review. An Atlanta dog bite can tell you about the challenges in your case and explain strategies for overcoming them.