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Atlanta Injury Lawyer > Blog > Dog Bites > What Does It Mean to Provoke Under Georgia Dog Bite Laws?

What Does It Mean to Provoke Under Georgia Dog Bite Laws?


Not all US states have enacted laws to protect victims who are bitten or attacked by dogs, but Georgia does have a statute that specifies legal remedies. The state dog bite law states that the owner of a vicious or dangerous animal is liable when it causes injury to someone else, if the reason for the incident is careless management or allowing the dog to roam. There may also be options under common law, which come from the body of cases decided by courts. Negligence principles and the “one bite rule” may be the basis for liability.

Whether you proceed under the statute or common law, there is one factor that could have a major impact on your case. Provoking the dog and related acts could mean you are barred from recovering any compensation, so it is critical to understand how your conduct affects your rights. An Atlanta dog bite attorney can provide personalized details, but a summary is informative.

Provoking a Dog Impacts Your Claim: The Georgia dog bite statute specifically states that an owner is only accountable when the animal causes injury to someone who does not provoke the incident by their own act. The statute bars the claim, and you may not be able to fall back on the common law principles either. There is a contributory negligence rule in Georgia, which could reduce your compensation if you engaged in misconduct – such as provoking the dog.

The definition of provoking the dog is relatively broad, so there may be implications for a wide range of acts. Provocation may include:

  • Throwing objects or spraying fluids on the dog;
  • Making disturbing noises, such as blowing a high-pitched whistle;
  • Interacting with a dog’s puppies; and,
  • Interrupting a dog that is eating or taking food away.

Trespassing and Georgia Dog Bite Cases: Victims may also run into challenges with pursuing a dog bite claim when the circumstances include criminal activity. If you were unlawfully breaking, entering, or otherwise trespassing on property, you cannot recover compensation. The theory is that a victim should not obtain a windfall after committing a crime.

 Other Defenses by Dog Owners: Besides claiming provocation and trespassing, there are additional ways a dog owner may try to avoid responsibility for your losses. Examples are:

  • You did not file a lawsuit under Georgia’s statute of limitations, which is 2 years.
  • The dog’s owner claims self-defense by the dog, if you were threatening or attacking.
  • You assumed the risk of suffering dog bite injuries because you were dog sitting, taking the animal to the vet, or handling it without the owner around. 

Our Georgia Dog Bite Lawyers Will Advise You on Legal Remedies

Dog owners will always attempt to shift liability to avoid paying victims, so you will need solid legal counsel to address claims of provocation. Zagoria Law is prepared for challenges and will fight to ensure you receive fair compensation. Please call 404.653.0023 or go online today to set up a no-cost case assessment with an Atlanta dog bite attorney.



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