Dogs may be man’s best friends, but unfortunately these animals cause significant harm every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 4.5 million dog bite incidents occur every year in the United States. This indicates about one in every 72 people will experience a dog bite each year. It’s important that residents of the Roswell, GA, area know what to do after a dog bite and how the state handles these incidents.
Every state has unique laws when it comes to dog bites, but most either fall under strict liability or negligence laws. Under strict liability laws, a dog’s owner is entirely liable for any damages his or her dog causes to another person, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog might bite or if the dog had a history of previous bites. Georgia follows a negligence law for dog bites, meaning that a dog’s owner is only liable for injuries his or her dog causes if the owner knew the dog had a history of aggression or had bitten other people in the past.
Proving Negligence in a Georgia Dog Bite Case
As with any other personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff in a dog bite case in Georgia must prove that the defendant (the dog’s owner) was negligent, and his or her negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s damages. In a dog bite case, the plaintiff must prove:
- The dog’s owner knew the dog was vicious or dangerous.
- The owner was careless in handling the dog.
- The plaintiff did not agitate or provoke the dog to attack.
- The plaintiff was lawfully present at the location of the attack. A dog owner is not liable if his or her dog bites trespassers on the owner’s private property or inside the owner’s home.
For example, if a dog’s owner had no idea that his or her dog was dangerous, and the dog had no prior history of biting anyone else, the dog’s owner may still face liability for an injury the dog causes. If the owner allows the dog to play in an unfenced yard, does not use an appropriate collar and/or leash for the dog, or otherwise cannot properly restrain the dog in public, the dog’s owner will likely face liability if the dog injures someone else.
Damages and Compensation
A dog attack can lead to more injuries than just biting wounds. A dog may knock a person to the ground during an attack, causing broken bones or head injuries. The CDC estimate about 900,000 of the 4.5 million annual dog bites become infected, opening victims to a host of other medical issues. After a dog bite, a victim may incur significant medical bills to treat injuries. This is just one type of compensation the victim may claim in a lawsuit against a negligent dog owner.
Victims of negligent dog bite attacks can also sue for their pain and suffering, lost income, and any property damaged in the attack. When these incidents occur in the Roswell, GA, area, victims can turn to the Kaufman Law, P.C. team for their legal concerns. We have a 40-year history of successful cases in the area, and our attorneys will leave no avenue of compensation unexplored for our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation, and we can let you know what type of compensation you could expect from filing a lawsuit.