Dogs are indeed man’s best friends until they bite. Even a friendly-looking dog can turn at you and attack. Dog bites are quite common than most people think and they can result in minor, severe, or fatal injuries. Thus victims should contact a Carrollton dog bite lawyer to learn about their compensation options.
According to the National Canine Research Council, dogs are more likely to bite someone they have no familiar relationship with. The council also notes that family-owned dogs are less likely to attack and bite people they share a relationship with. However, there are instances when these dogs still attack people despite having positive interactions with humans.
This possibility of dogs biting humans made several states in the U.S., including Georgia, enact a dog bite statute. This law regulates dog bite cases and spells out the liability of dog owners and the rights of victims. In this article, our personal injury lawyers discuss some of the applicable dog bite laws in Carrollton, Georgia. Contact the Law Office of John B. Jackson if you’re a dog bite victim.
Georgia Dog Owner Liability
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) section 51-2-7 provides several scenarios where a dog owner would be liable for an injury caused by their dog. A dog owner would be liable for a dog bite injury where:
- The dog is considered a vicious or dangerous animal;
- The incident happened through the owner’s careless management or allowed the dog to go at liberty; or
- The injured party did not provoke the dog through their action.
The question people find themselves asking is, what makes a dog vicious and dangerous? According to the statute, a dog would be deemed vicious and dangerous if the animal was required to be on a leash or controlled under local law when the incident happened. Thus, an owner that lets a dog meant to be on a leash loose will be liable for any injuries resulting from a dog bite.
However, the dog owner would also be liable even if the dog was not “vicious or dangerous.” Here, the law considers whether the owner was negligent in their action. For instance, suppose a dog was not required by local law to be on a leash. But the owner knew or should have known that the dog posed a danger to other people and failed to take necessary precautions. The owner would be liable for the victim’s injuries and other losses.
The One-Bite Rule
The one-bite rule simply states that a dog owner is liable for their dog’s dangerous actions if they know that the dog has shown past vicious propensity. Thus, the dog owner would be liable if the animal has bitten before, is known to jump on strangers, or there have been complaints about its behavior. Several states in the U.S. apply the one-bite rule, but it is not applicable in Georgia.
Georgia’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits
In Carrollton, Georgia, dog bite cases fall under personal injury law, so the state’s Statute of Limitations applies. Under this law, a dog bite victim has two years to file a lawsuit against the dog owner. Here, the time starts counting from the date of the incident; that is, the day the dog bit you.
The provisions of the Statute of Limitations ensure the right to sue doesn’t go on forever. Thus, where a dog bite victim fails to file an action within the time given, they are forever barred from seeking compensation. So get a Carrollton personal injury lawyer to commence the lawsuit against the owner immediately after the accident.
Applicable Defenses to Dog Owner’s Liability
Georgia’s law provides two grounds where a dog owner would not be liable for a dog bite injury. The first is where the injured person intentionally provoked the dog. The second is where the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property. In either of the two scenarios, any claim for damages by the injured person would fail.
Are You a Dog Bite Victim in Carrollton? Let Our Personal Injury Lawyers Help You!
A dog bite or attack can leave you with significant injuries and scarring. You might also develop post-traumatic stress disorder and a fear of dogs. Georgia law recognizes these damages and allows you to receive monetary compensation. But you need an experienced Carrollton personal injury attorney to help you prove the dog owner’s liability.
This experience, in addition to an in-depth knowledge of Georgia dog bite law, is what we offer at the Law Office of John B. Jackson. We are only interested in getting you justice. So call today for a free case review.