Dog bites can be damaging injuries that lead to serious, long-lasting problems requiring medical treatment. The people who own animals have a legal responsibility to prevent their dogs from biting other people, especially when they know that the animal may bite.
If a dog bit you, a DeKalb County dog bite lawyer could review your case to determine if you can take action against the dog’s owner for compensation for your damages. A well-versed personal injury lawyer could guide you through the claims process if you choose to pursue compensation.
Dog Bite Laws
While some states have a strict liability policy that requires dog owners to compensate dog bite victims except under certain circumstances, Georgia law is somewhat different. People who were injured by dog bites can still pursue compensation for their damages under certain circumstances, under O.C.G.A. § 51-2-6 to 7.
Dog bite victims can work to show that the regulations of the statute apply. Under state law, to hold a dog owner responsible, the injured party must show that:
- They suffered an injury that directly resulted from the owner’s negligence
- The dog or other animal was dangerous or had a “vicious propensity,” and the owner knew this
- The animal ran free due to careless management or permission by the owner
- The victim did not first provoke the dog
Also, the statute of limitations on dog bite claims in Georgia is two years from the date of the occurrence. This means a lawsuit must be filed within that period to seek accountability.
“One Free Bite” in DeKalb County
The standard in Georgia is often referred to as “one free bite” because a dog owner whose dog has already bitten someone now is on notice that the animal could pose a threat. This is true even when the dog bite injury is very severe. In some cases, it may not be necessary to prove a previous injury-causing bite if there is a history of previous aggression.
Many areas of DeKalb County have leash laws that can help victims prove their case if the dog owner had the dog unleashed outside their own property. In Atlanta, according to Sec. 18-61 of the Code of Ordinances, owners must keep a dog on a leash, at heel, or obedient to and beside a competent person if the dog is going off the owner’s property or outside the owner’s vehicle.
The statute also provides that vicious propensity can be proven by showing the animal was not at heel or on a leash as required. It may be possible to proceed without proof of a previous bite by showing a violation of relevant leash law at the time of the dog attack. A dog bite lawyer can help victims analyze their unique situation and determine how the various laws apply to their cases.
Serious Dog Bite Injuries
For people who have been bitten by a dog, it is important to record detailed information about the event, including the pet’s owner and contact information. In many cases, immediate medical attention is important. Some serious illnesses that can result from dog bites include:
- MRSA or a staph infection
- Bacterial infections
These are in addition to traumatic injuries, including injuries to the limbs, face, or torso. In some cases, and especially when small children are involved, dog bites can be fatal. In this case, a dog bite attorney may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s family to seek justice.
Learn More from a DeKalb County Dog Bite Attorney
When you have suffered serious injuries due to a dog, a DeKalb County dog bite lawyer could help you take action to seek the compensation you need. Call today to further discuss your options.