Georgia Dog Bite Laws: Basics For Injured Victims
It is horrific to think that an animal you associate with friendliness and loyalty could be capable of causing serious injuries to humans, but some dogs do present a risk of harm. Whether from a dog bite or other attack, victims can suffer extreme injuries that require expensive medical treatment and surgery. Plus, there are emotional implications, particularly psychological disorders and a paralyzing fear of dogs. If you or a loved one was hurt, it is a comfort to know that Georgia dog bite laws provide you with legal remedies. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, and many other losses.
Fortunately, there are multiple theories of liability that you can pursue to obtain the monetary damages you are entitled to by law. Though you can trust an Atlanta attorney to advise you on Georgia dog bite laws, an overview of the basics is informative.
Two Forms of Liability by Statute
Like approximately 35 other US states, Georgia has a dog bite statute on the books. It provides two options that victims can pursue to recover damages:
- An owner may be liable for injuries if the dog was dangerous or vicious, the owner knew about the risks, and he or she failed to exercise proper care to manage the animal. Careless management of the dog may include allowing it to roam freely.
- If the animal was not on a leash or otherwise secured by a local ordinance, the victim must prove the owner carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty. It is not relevant that the owner knew the dog was dangerous.
Common Law “One Bite” Rule
In a 2017 court case, the Georgia Supreme Court found that an owner can be held accountable for injuries if they knew or should have known that the dog was prone to causing such harm. The animal’s owner will be charged with this knowledge if the dog had nipped, lunged, snarled, or otherwise acted in a way that a reasonable person would realize the potential for injuries.
Under the legal concept of premises liability, landlords have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for those who enter upon it. This obligation applies only to common areas where the landlord has access, but there is still an element of knowledge. To obtain compensation, a victim must show that the landlord knew the dog was dangerous – through a prior bite, attack, or show of aggression.
Statute of Limitations
Georgia has imposed a two-year time restriction on filing a personal injury case, including one based upon dog bite injuries. If you do not sue in court before the statute of limitations expires, you cannot recover damages.
Our Georgia Dog Bite Lawyers Can Provide More Details
Knowing some basics about the laws is useful, but you will not need to worry about the specifics when you have experienced legal counsel on your side. Our team at Zagoria Law will handle the claims process, so please call 404.653.0023 or go online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can explain the Georgia dog bite laws that impact your rights.