Dog attacks happen too frequently in Georgia. Young children and the elderly are more likely to be injured by a stray or vicious dog. Attacks often last a short time; but the impact can last years. Injuries due to a dog bite include emergency treatment, broken bones, puncture wounds, scarring that leads to surgery, as well as mental trauma. These are all items of damages that you can recover if you have been attacked by a stray, loose or vicious dog.
Reasons for a Dog Attack
Biting incidents occur due to poor owners. Typically, their dog is running loose, the dog is improperly leashed, the dog is not properly housed, and in some situations poorly maintained fences. Dog attacks also occur when owners fail to implement appropriate safety measures when keeping dogs that are known to be vicious and aggressive. Many bites and attacks can be prevented if owners just act responsibly. Unfortunately, Georgia has limited the rights of dog bite victims where recovery can only occur in certain and limited circumstances.
Violation of State Law or Local County Ordinance
One way to recover for your dog bite is to show that the dog owner violated a state law or a local county ordinance. Almost all counties in Georgia have adopted “leash laws” which determine how dogs are to be kept while on private and public property. Cobb County local ordinances require that dog owners keep their pets either indoors or on a leash while the dog is on their property. Dogs that are roaming in public must be under the control of their owner either by a leash, chain or tie. All victims of dog bites should contact the police and local animal county authority following an attack. They will determine if the owner violated any laws and in certain circumstances confiscate the dog that bite you. Invariably, citations issued against the dog owner can be used in your civil case to recover for your injuries.
One Bite Rule
The one bite rule applies in situations where the owner of the dog knew about a prior attack. This rule imputes knowledge on an owner that their dog is vicious if it has bitten or attacked before. Any future bites are actionable as negligence is placed on the owner for his or her failure to prevent a future bite. Unfortunately, filing a lawsuit is the only way to find out about prior incidents of dog attacks. A lawyer handling any dog bite claim should interview neighbors and witnesses who might have some knowledge about the dog. This should be done immediately after your injury so as to preserve critical evidence while you recover.
Landlord, Tenants, Apartment Complexes, Management & Leasing Companies
It is not always clear who is responsible for a dog attack. The dog may be owned by tenants renting from a landlord. The attack could have occurred at an apartment complex leased by a third party. Fortunately, there are many online investigative tools that a dog bite lawyer can access to find out who owns the dog, who owns the property where the dog is housed, and if insurance coverage is available. At the very least, a knowledgeable attorney should file a lawsuit against everyone that might be responsible for your injuries. This would include bringing claims against the landlord, the tenant, the dog owner, as well as any management and leasing companies of the property. Only then can you find out if insurance is available to cover your dog bite claim.