Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, but sometimes, they can also pose a threat to humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year, and Georgia is no exception. A dog bite injury can result in serious physical and emotional trauma, as well as expensive medical bills. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in Georgia, it’s important to understand who may be liable for the damages.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Law
Georgia has a specific law that addresses dog bites. According to Georgia Code § 51-2-7, if a dog causes injury to a person who is in a place they are legally entitled to be, the owner of the dog is liable for any damages the person sustains. This law applies to all dog bite cases in Georgia, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression or not.
Who Is Considered the Owner of the Dog?
In Georgia, the owner of the dog is the person who has care, custody, or control of the dog. This can include the person who owns the dog, the person who is taking care of the dog, or the person who is responsible for the dog at the time of the attack. It’s important to note that in some cases, more than one person may be considered the owner of the dog.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Dog Bite Case?
If you are the victim of a dog bite in Georgia, you may be entitled to recover damages from the owner of the dog. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the owner’s behavior was particularly egregious. However, if the victim was partially at fault for the attack, their damages may be reduced.
What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Dog in Georgia
If you are bitten by a dog in Georgia, there are several steps you should take:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Gather information about the dog and its owner, including the owner’s name and contact information.
- Contact animal control to report the incident.
- Take pictures of your injuries and the location where the attack occurred.
- Contact a Georgia personal injury attorney who has experience handling dog bite cases.
It’s worth noting that Georgia’s dog bite law applies not only to bites but also to any injuries caused by a dog, including scratches and knockdowns. Additionally, the law applies to any place where the victim is legally allowed to be, including public places, private property, and even the victim’s own property.
It’s also important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit in Georgia is two years from the date of the incident. Failing to file within this timeframe may result in the loss of the right to seek compensation.
In some cases, a dog owner may argue that the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing on their property, which could affect the outcome of the case. However, even if the victim was partially at fault, they may still be entitled to recover damages under Georgia’s comparative fault system.
If you are a dog owner in Georgia, it’s important to take steps to prevent your dog from causing harm to others. This includes keeping your dog on a leash when in public, properly training your dog, and supervising your dog when around others. If your dog has a history of aggression or has bitten someone in the past, it’s even more important to take these steps and potentially seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
A dog bite injury can be a traumatic experience for the victim, and it’s important to understand the legal implications and potential for compensation in Georgia. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately and consult with a personal injury attorney with experience handling dog bite cases in Georgia.
Princenthal, May & Wilson, LLC is a law firm that has experience handling personal injury cases in Georgia, including dog bite injury cases. Our team of attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options, as well as guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your damages.
Specifically, we can assist in the following ways:
- Investigating the incident: We can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and examine medical records to determine the cause of the dog bite and identify the liable party.
- Negotiating with insurance companies: We can handle communications with the dog owner’s insurance company to seek a fair settlement for your damages.
- Filing a lawsuit: If necessary, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court.
- Providing legal advice: We can provide legal guidance throughout the process, including advice on how to deal with insurance adjusters and how to handle the legal system.
Our goal is to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a dog bite injury can take, and we are committed to fighting for your rights and holding the responsible parties accountable.
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in Georgia, contact Princenthal, May & Wilson, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.