Dogs of any size or breed can make a great addition to a family. Whether you are looking for a travel companion to take on hikes or a family pet that will protect and play with your children, pets provide unconditional love, emotional support, cuddles, and laughter. However, no matter how docile a dog may seem, they are still an animal. Even if they have shown no aggression issues, dogs can become dangerous at a moment’s notice, which could result in injury to yourself, a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. 

If you find yourself injured by a pet, it is beneficial to understand Georgia’s dog bite laws, especially if you find yourself needing to file a claim for financial compensation due to injury. 

Georgia Law Concerning Dog Bites

It is a dog owner’s responsibility to monitor and be aware of their pet’s behavior and triggers. If a dog bites or attacks an individual, that person has the right to seek compensation from the pet owner if there is a clear level of negligence. Negligence often involves an owner who is aware of their dog’s vicious nature but fails to control them properly. This can include not following established leash laws or not ensuring the dog is completely unable to escape the owner’s property. 

In Georgia, a dog owner can be held liable if it can be shown the owner was aware the dog was dangerous or a bite risk. Establishing that the down owner was aware of the risk is an important factor when seeking compensation as a dog attack victim. Factors you may need to establish include:

  • There is a previous history of aggression.
  • The owner knew of the dog’s negative temperament. 
  • The owner managed the dog poorly.
  • The dog was allowed to wander free.
  • The dog was required to be leashed or under owner control, but this requirement wasn’t met. 

In the state of Georgia, it comes down to the victim to prove reasonable liability on the part of the dog owner when seeking compensation. There has to be a clear distinction between a random accident and a preventable attack due to the negligence of the animal owner. This is often where the first-bite rule is more closely examined. 

What Is the First Bite Rule?

There is some confusion when it comes to understanding what the first-bite rule in Georgia means. This does not mean that a dog can essentially get away with a first bite without repercussion or that a bite has to happen for the dog to be labeled as dangerous. It essentially means the animal has given the owner reason to expect undesirable behavior. This could be the dog actively biting in the past or demonstrating a tendency to be threatening to humans. Understanding the prior aggression laws in Georgia can help better establish the success your claim may have in a court of law. 

Compensation Available

Dog bites can cause significant injury, regardless of the size or breed of the dog. Damages that are considered economic include medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages can include physical pain, trauma, and emotional or mental suffering. The amount of compensation a person can be awarded largely depends on the unique circumstances of their case. 

Seeking Legal Support

It can be difficult to prove that an owner had prior knowledge of a dog’s tendency toward aggressive behavior. When seeking a dog bite injury claim, it is important to work with an experienced legal representative who understands the fine details of this type of case. You have to be able to prove liability when it comes to the owner doing something wrong. This includes the owner knowing the dog was dangerous, a dog in violation of leash law, or a dog in violation of a city or country animal control ordinance that results in a serious injury to the victim. Let the professionals at Lamar Legal Office, LLC examine the details of your case.