Many people have and love dogs. Most dogs are sweet natured, crave attention and just want to be loved. However, there may come a time when a dog might injure someone. When this happens, the injured party could file suit against the dog owner. The victim of the dog bite or attack will try to prove that the owner was negligent. How does this work?
In order to win a lawsuit based on negligence, the injured person must prove that the dog’s owner had not taken the proper steps to prevent foreseeable injuries. As taught in the first day of law school, many states adhere to the “one-bite rule.” In other words, the first time your dog bites someone you may get a “get out of jail free card.” But, after the first incident, you are on notice that your dog could be a threat to other people. That said, Georgia does not strictly follow the one-bite rule.
Georgia’s Dog Rules:
In order to prove that a dog’s owner is liable under Georgia Law, the injured person must show negligence on part of the owner meaning that the:
- Owner had knowledge that the dog was vicious or dangerous
- Owner ignored leash laws and let the dog run freely
- Injured person did not provoke the animal
Defenses to a Georgia Dog Bite Injury Claim
A dog owner who faces an injury claim has several possible defenses under Georgia law, including lack of knowledge, reasonable care, and provocation.
Because Georgia is a “Negligence” state, an owner must generally know that a dog might be vicious or dangerous in order to be held liable for a dog bite. If an owner has no prior warning, it may not be possible to show liability.
Basic Measures to Keep You and Your Dog Safe
- Train and socialize your dog.
- Never let your dog run loose, even on your own property without a fail-safe fence. Local leash laws will govern these specifics.
- Watch how your dog is relating to children and or strangers, including delivery people.
- Post a “Beware of Dog Sign.”
If you have been injured by a dog or you are being sued by someone who claims your dog injured them, you should speak with a personal injury attorney. The legal rules about proving negligence in a dog-bite case can be complicated and can vary significantly from state to state. A lawyer experienced in this area can explain how the law applies to your situation and can help protect your rights
As someone who owns and breeds dogs, I understand the love a pet owner has for their four-legged friends, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions. The lawyers at Miller & Wynn work with injured persons and dog owners who are being sued. Our locally-based attorneys, Mike Miller and Christopher Wynn have decades of experience. Contact us for a free consultation at 770-942-2720 or visit www.MillerWynnLaw.com.