Clayton County dog owners can be held legally responsible when their animal bites and injures someone. If you suffered serious injuries in a dog bite incident and believe that the owner could have prevented the attack, you should consult with a Clayton County dog bite lawyer to review your potential legal options. A personal injury attorney who has a thorough knowledge of the state’s dog bite laws and how they apply to your specific situation could work toward a favorable courtroom or settlement resolution for your injuries and related expenses.
Establishing an Owner’s Fault for a Dog Bite Injury
There are several legal standards that must be met to establish the owner’s fault for an injury that their dog inflicts on someone. Plaintiffs must prove that they did not do anything to elicit the menacing response from the dog. Furthermore, injured parties must provide evidence that the dog exhibits ferocious tendencies and that the owner acted recklessly or allowed the animal to roam without inhibitions.
If the dog’s owner was aware of the animal’s propensity to attack or bite others, and did not take the necessary steps to restrain the dog, the court may hold that owner at fault for the plaintiff’s damages. Even if the animal has not bitten a person before, but has shown signs of aggression or savage behavior, this may suffice to hold the owner legally liable if the dog bites and injures someone. A Clayton County attorney could investigate the owner’s fault in a dog bite case and advise whether the injured individual may have a viable claim to compensation.
Monetary Damages Awarded to Dog Bite Victims
There are several categories of damages that a Clayton County lawyer could recover on behalf of someone injured in a dog bite incident. A settlement for a dog bite case can include general, special, and punitive damages.
General damages are the intangible losses someone endures due to a dog bite, such as emotional trauma, mental distress, pain, and suffering.
Special damages are losses which can be easily calculated. These are often the result of serious injuries such as broken bones, nerve and tissue damage, scarring, disfigurement, and muscular injuries. Special damages can include someone’s hospital bills and medication expenses, as well as lost income.
Finally, punitive damages may be recovered in rare cases if the dog bite owner was grossly careless or acted with malicious intent. Punitive damages are aimed at punishing the at-fault party for their wanton conduct and discouraging others from doing something similar.
Contributory Negligence in a Dog Bite Case
One factor that can affect the amount of compensation someone receives for dog bite injuries is contributory negligence. Georgia law maintains that if plaintiffs’ negligence contributed to their injuries, their award of damages could be reduced or zeroed out. For instance, if victims provoked the dog in some way, the court can assign them a certain percentage of liability for their negligence.
If the person’s percentage of negligence is 50 percent or greater, that person is not entitled to compensation. However, if the dog bite victim’s contribution of negligence is 49 percent or less, the court could subtract their percentage of liability from their damages. For example, plaintiffs in a dog bite case who were found to be 15 percent responsible for their injuries would collect just 85 percent of their compensation.
Talk with a Clayton County Dog Bite Attorney
A Clayton County dog bite lawyer could protect a victim’s rights every step of the way during their case and strive for maximum possible recovery of owed damages. To talk with a Clayton County attorney about your potential claim, call now and schedule an initial evaluation of your case.