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Atlanta Injury Lawyer > Blog > Dog Bites > How Do You Prove That You Did Not Provoke the Dog That Bit You?

How Do You Prove That You Did Not Provoke the Dog That Bit You?


Georgia has a vast array of scenic natural landscapes, musical styles and regional cuisines.  As a swing state, Georgia is not even uniform in the political views of its voters.  Something that almost everyone can agree on in Georgia is that we love dogs.  In fact, Georgia’s dog bite laws are more dog-friendly than most other states.  Georgia law grants dogs the presumption of innocence.  If a dog bites a person in Georgia, the court will assume that the person gave the dog a reason to bite.  This means that, if someone else’s dog bites you and you file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog, the burden of proof is on you to show that you did not do anything to provoke the dog to bite you.  If the owner of the dog that bit you is claiming that you did something to bother the dog, contact an Atlanta dog bite lawyer.

What Kinds of Behaviors Are Considered Provoking a Dog to Attack?

Just like people, dogs have individual personalities.  Just as some people would laugh if you played an April Fool’s joke on them and others would be mad, some dogs are more welcoming than others of strangers petting them and small children climbing onto their backs.  In general, though, common sense dictates that most dogs interpret the following behavior by humans, whether strangers or humans they know, as aggression or harassment:

  • Pulling a dog’s fur, ears, or tail, even when you are playing with the dog
  • Hitting or kicking the dog
  • Cornering the dog, even if it is bigger than you are
  • Touching the dog or its food bowl while it is eating
  • Approaching the dog quickly or suddenly
  • Behaving aggressively toward the dog’s owner; dogs may not understand human language, but they can tell verbal aggression from your tone of voice and your body language

The Burden of Proof Is on the Plaintiff in Georgia

In Georgia, plaintiffs in dog bite lawsuits must prove that they did not provoke the dog, as opposed to other states, where the defendant must show that the plaintiff was the aggressor in the encounter with the dog.  All the defendant has to do to win the judge over is show some photos of puppy dog eyes and playful moments.  If you have video footage of the dog attack, then this will help your case, especially if the dog bit you for no apparent reason during an otherwise photogenic interaction.  You probably do not have video footage, though, in which case eyewitness testimony is probably your strongest evidence.

Contact Zagoria Law About Dog Bite Cases

You may not need to file a lawsuit after a dog bite injury, but you may need the help of a lawyer.  An Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help you get compensation for your dog-bite related medical bills if someone else’s dog bit you.  Contact Zagoria Law in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss your case.



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