While many domesticated dogs live up to the nickname of “Man’s Best Friend,” not every pooch is as polite as we want them to be, especially when their owners fail to train and control them properly. If an unrestrained dog ends up attacking another person, it is not uncommon for that person to suffer serious and even life-threatening injuries that in turn can result in catastrophic financial and personal losses.
When someone else’s dog injures you by no fault of your own, you deserve fair financial restitution for the harm you have sustained. A seasoned Atlanta dog bite lawyer could play a key role in making sure you get it. Civil claims over dog bite injuries are unique from other injury cases in numerous ways, and guidance from a skilled personal injury attorney can be vital to navigating those differences efficiently and getting a favorable final result.
When Are Dog Owners Liable for Bite Injuries?
Notably, while it is often possible to sue the owner of a dog that bites and injures you, dog owners in Atlanta are not automatically liable for every injury their dog causes. Instead, the Responsible Dog Owner Act holds dog owners civilly liable for serious injuries caused by a dog that they—the owner—knew or should have known was “vicious” or “dangerous” but nevertheless failed to keep under control as they were required to by law.
This rule is sometimes referred to as a “one bite rule,” because it holds that a dog owner should be aware that their animal is dangerous after it bites someone else for the first time. They should take appropriate action to keep their pet under control based on this initial incident. Additionally, dogs can also be found dangerous based on other forms of aggressive behavior beyond barking or growling, such as killing another pet animal or charging at someone without biting them.
Under Georgia Code § 51-2-7, a dog owner can be liable if a local ordinance required the dog to be at heel or on a leash and the dog was not. It is also worth noting that it is sometimes possible to file suit over injuries that someone else’s dog causes through behavior other than biting, such as jumping on someone and knocking them over. An Atlanta dog bite attorney could discuss potential filing options in more specific detail during a private consultation.
Demanding Compensation for Dog Bites Inside Filing Deadlines
As someone who was attacked and injured by another person’s out-of-control dog, you have a right to demand compensation for both economic and non-economic losses you can trace directly back to that incident. This means you could possibly recover not just for objective financial losses like medical expenses and missed work income, but also various subjective forms of harm, such as:
- Physical pain
- Emotional anguish/PTSD
- Lost overall enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement caused by the attack
Importantly, though, Georgia state law typically limits people injured by the negligence of another to a maximum of two years after their injury to file suit. Failing to start a claim within this deadline will almost always lead to a case being thrown out of court for being “time-barred.” Fortunately, with help from a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer in Atlanta, injured individuals can meet these important deadlines.
Work With an Atlanta Dog Bite Attorney
Holding an irresponsible dog owner liable for a bite injury is not quite as simple as just proving that other person was the owner of the dog that bit you. In many situations, to achieve a positive case result, people hurt in this way need to have thorough knowledge of exactly how state law governs this specific type of civil claim. Furthermore, they need to apply that knowledge in a way tailored to their unique circumstances.
Put simply, the support of a tenacious Atlanta dog bite lawyer could be vital to ensuring you get paid fairly for the harm someone else’s pet caused you. With over 25 years of trial experience, Robert James Trial Attorneys are ready to take action. Let our next victory be yours. Call today to learn more.