Dog Bite Liability in Georgia
Victims of dog attacks in Atlanta, Georgia may often recover from the dog owners for their injuries. Like all premises liability cases, under Georgia law, recovering for injuries sustained by a dog bite requires a showing that the dog owner either knew or should have known about the animal’s dangerous and violent propensities. Dog owners could also be responsible for attacks for failing to comply with leash laws.
Dog owners are not automatically liable for attacks on other people. That is, there is no such thing as “strict liability” for dog bites in Georgia. To show that a dog owner knew or should have known about the dog’s violent tendencies, evidence of past dog attacks or bites or prior aggressive behavior such as charging toward someone or trying to bite someone should be sufficient. Even if the dog is of a violent breed, such as pit bulls, there is no liability without a showing of notice or knowledge.
Finding evidence of prior bites can be difficult and may require investigation into public records, such as incident reports or interviewing neighbors and other witnesses. If the investigation does not bring forward any information, filing a lawsuit would require the dog owner to answer questions or testify under oath as to whether s/he knew about the dog’s dangerous propensities.
After showing knowledge of the dangerous dog, a victim of a dog bite attack must also be able to actually recover compensation for his or her injury. This can be tricky, as many individual dog owners do not have money or assets that can be used to pay the victim. Thus, the claimant must inquire as to whether the dog owner has available homeowner’s insurance coverage to the dog bite.
As in any personal injury case, the nature of the injury is also an important factor in determining whether compensation can be gained from a dog bite. For example, a permanent scar in a visible area such as the face that may require plastic surgery is considered a bad injury.
Obtaining compensation for injuries sustained from a dog bite in Georgia is not necessarily an easy process. A knowledgeable Georgia dog bite attorney can maximize your ability to recover for a dog attack. To speak to an Atlanta personal injury lawyer, call The Davis Injury Firm at (404) 647-0722 for a consultation.