Many local families on St. Simons Island own dogs, and many visitors include their pets in family activities on the island as well. While most dog owners are responsible, there is always a chance that with so many dogs out and about on beaches, walkways, and other venues, a serious dog bite incident may occur. If you or your child experienced an animal attack, a St. Simons Island dog bite attorney could help you seek compensation for any damages incurred. Call an experienced lawyer today to schedule a consultation.
Dog Regulations on St. Simons Island
St. Simons has many pet-friendly attractions, including beaches that welcome dogs along with their families for specific seasons, hours, or all the time. The island even has some pet-friendly restaurants.
However, local regulations require dog owners to keep their dogs within close proximity to them at all times, even if they are not on a leash—which is not typically required on St. Simons Island.
If a dog owner fails to abide by these rules and their dog bit someone, a court may find the dog owner liable for any resulting damages. Of course, dog owners may still be liable even if they did not break any laws or fail to follow regulations.
Dog Owner Duties
Georgia state law typically requires victims of dog attacks to establish that a dog owner failed in their duty to control their dog when a dog bite happened. Unfortunately, the lack of leash laws in St. Simons Island sometimes makes it harder for the victims to prove that the dog owner acted negligently. This is one reason why it is so important for plaintiffs to have a skilled St. Simons Island dog bite attorney on their side to help establish liability and effectively pursue compensation.
Dangers of Vicious and Dangerous Dogs
In severe cases, dog bites can be disfiguring, requiring numerous surgeries, years of physical therapy, pain medication, and emotional and mental anguish. Especially when the injured person is a child or senior citizen, dog bite wounds can quickly become infected and require a lot of medical attention to heal properly. In dog bite cases, negligent dog owners are often responsible for compensating victims for these types of expenses.
However, there are exceptions to the rule that a dog owner must be found legally negligent in order to be liable for a dog bite. If it can be established that the dog had a history of being vicious or dangerous and that the owner knew or should have known of its propensity to bite, Georgia Code §51-2-7 holds that the dog owner can be held strictly liable—or automatically responsible—for the damages caused.
That being said, the individual may need to establish for the court that they did not provoke the dog to aggression. The dog owner’s defense team may claim that the injured person provoked the dog, especially if the person is a child. A seasoned attorney could work to rebut such a claim of provocation.
Consult a St. Simons Island Dog Bite Attorney Today
No matter the severity of the bite you suffered or the circumstances that led to the dog bite, a St. Simons dog bite lawyer could help you evaluate the strengths of your personal injury claim against the dog’s negligent owner and devise an appropriate plan of action for seeking compensation. Get started on your case today by scheduling an initial meeting with a dedicated local attorney.