It may sound like something you’d see on a sitcom, but people get bit by dogs all the time in Georgia. Usually, the dog is one that they don’t know or aren’t familiar with. Most of us know whether or not our friend or neighbor’s dog is friendly. But that isn’t always the case. A dog could love you on Monday and bite you in the hand on Friday. It depends on the nature of the dog. It also depends on how you treat the dog on any particular day.
Almost every state has a dog bite statute. After seeing so many dog bite cases go to court, the legislatures decided it made more sense to put the law in black and white. This way, both dog owners and dog bite victims know what’s supposed to happen in these situations. The dog bite laws in Georgia are not quite as strict as some other states. For example, in some states, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their animal inflicts. It doesn’t matter whether they had any idea that their dog was dangerous. Georgia is a bit different.
Here, we’ll discuss the dog bite statute in Georgia. We’ll also talk about what defenses are available to dog owners. Finally, we’ll explain how a Macon dog bite lawyer can help you sue even if you don’t quite meet the requirements of the Georgia dog bite statute.
Georgia is Not Technically a One-Bite Rule State
The dog bite statute in Georgia can be found at OCGA 51-2-7. This law governs both dog and animal bites and attacks. There is no language in the statute that says a dog owner is liable as long as the dog has bitten one person before. That is the gist of one-bite dog rule. Instead, the statute in Georgia states that a dog’s owner is liable under the statute in the following situation:
The Owner Knows the Dog was Dangerous
Keep in mind. If the dog had already bitten someone in the past, the owner should know that the dog is dangerous. Your personal injury lawyer in Macon will have to prove that the dog’s owner had a reason to know their dog may be likely to bite or attack someone. Maybe the dog hates strangers. Or, maybe they know the dog is liable to go after someone who is walking another dog.
The Owner was Careless
This is easy to prove if they don’t have their dog on a leash. Most towns and cities have a separate law governing the requirement for dog leashes. If they break this law, then it won’t be hard to prove that they were careless. The same may be true if they were walking several dogs at the same time and couldn’t reasonably be expected to control all of them at once.
The Victim did not Provoke the Dog
If the defendant can show that you were intentionally teasing, abusing or tormenting the dog, they will probably not be found liable. This is true whether you’re on the dog owner’s property or out in public.
There are a few important things to point out about the Georgia dog bite statute. You don’t have to be on public property. However, if you’re trespassing at the time of the injury, the defendant may not be held liable. Also, unlike some other states, Georgia’s dog bite law covers both actual bites and attacks.
If You’re Bitten or Attacked by a Dog in Georgia, Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Macon
Hopefully, even if you were bitten by a dog, your injuries won’t be that serious. Typically, when we see people with serious dog bite injuries, they’re children. Most adults are able to avoid vicious attacks by dogs and other animals. Regardless of how serious your injuries are, you may need to call an experienced personal injury lawyer in Macon, Georgia.
If this happens to you, call and schedule your free initial consultation with our office. You can sit down with a lawyer who’s handled more than their fair share of dog bite cases. They understand what the Georgia dog bite statute entails. They also know how to prove that the dog owner was negligent. You can ask them any questions you may have. They might even be able to give you an idea of what your case is worth.
The consultation is absolutely free and you don’t have to pay a dime until you settle your case.