Dog bite cases aren’t uncommon in Georgia. A dog may be man’s best friend, but just as friends sometimes turn on each other, so do dogs. Although dogs are generally friendly, they sometimes attack people, inflicting different degrees of injuries on them. A professional dog bite lawyer can get you the redress you need if you’re injured in an attack.
When a dog bite occurs, it leads to several questions on the dog owner’s liability and the victim’s right. This article will cover five common questions about Georgia’s dog bite cases and provide helpful answers.
Can I Hold a Dog Owner Liable for Injuries Under Georgia Law?
When it comes to who bears liability for a victim’s injury after a dog bite, the Official Codes of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Section 51-2-7 is the law to refer to. The law provides that any person who owns or keeps a vicious dog or who, through careless management, allows it to wander will be liable in damages if the animal injures anyone.
The law adds that the dog owners will be liable once the victim proves that the law required the animal to be at heel or on a leash. Thus, a victim is entitled to compensation from a dog owner who fails to keep their animal in check. Note that if there is evidence of you intentionally provoking the dog, you can lose your right to hold the owner liable.
Can I File a Claim Against a Dog Owner to Cover My Medical Bills After an Attack?
If a dog owner fails to keep a vicious dog away from the public responsibly, and such a dog attacks a person, the owner will have to cover the medical bills resulting from the attack. If the canine owner has a homeowner or renter’s insurance policy, they will cover the hospital expenses with it. Many dog bite cases fall back on the insurance to cover medical bills.
The victim’s compensation amount depends on the dog owner’s insurance policy and the severity of the injury suffered. Medical bills include but are not limited to the cost of x-rays, stitches, medication, therapy, or plastic surgery. It also covers the current and future expenses of any treatment the victim will receive for the dog bite.
What is Georgia’s First Bite Rule?
When talking about the first bite rule, it does not mean that a dog owner was not held liable after the animal bit someone for the first time. It also does not mean that the dog must have bitten someone for it to get labeled vicious or dangerous.
The first bite rule means that the dog has given the owner or keeper a reason or reasons for them to believe that it would bite someone. A victim relying on this rule needs to prove that there were reasonable grounds for the dog owner to know that the animal is vicious and take steps to keep it from the public.
Do I Have a Case If a Dog Injured but Did Not Bite Me?
Sometimes, a dog might attack a person without biting them. The preceding instances include when a dog lunges or chases a passerby, causes a bicycle rider to fall off the bike or the animal claws at a person leaving deep lacerations.
When this happens, you can bring a case against the dog owner for negligence, and you will have to prove that the person was negligent in controlling the animal. Note that cases that do not involve a bite do not come under the purview of Georgia Dog Bite Laws.
Is There a Deadline for When I Can File My Georgia Dog Bite Claim?
The statute of limitations stipulates the timeframe to institute a civil or criminal case. For dog bite cases, it provides the time frame a victim reserves the right to bring an action against a dog owner.
Different states in the U.S. have a time limit for when victims can bring dog bite cases. In Georgia, it is two years from the date the dog bit the victim. Any lawsuit filed after the two-year elapses is void ab initio, and the court will not entertain it. Thus, it is crucial to institute an action to recover damages as soon as the bite occurs, except you do not plan to seek legal redress.
Do You Have More Questions on Georgia Dog Bite Cases? Consult an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney at Calvin Smith Law
Calvin Smith Law has handled several personal injury cases and gotten millions of dollars in compensation. Our expert team of personal injury lawyers will provide answers to your questions and diligently work on your case if you choose to file a lawsuit. Contact us today for a free consultation.