Dogs can be wonderful family pets or important workers for farmers and hunters, but when a dog bites someone, the damage can be devastating. Physical and emotional pain, expensive medical bills, and other associated costs can put unfair strain on the person who was bitten.
When you are attacked by someone else’s pet, you should not have to handle the consequences on your own. Laws and court processes for dog bite lawsuits vary between states, so knowledge of the Georgia-specific rules is essential to a successful case. Working with a compassionate personal injury attorney could help. With the assistance of a Riverdale dog bite lawyer, you could bring a civil lawsuit against the animal’s owner to help you recover the costs associated with your injury.
Georgia Laws for Dog Bites
Georgia is not a “one-bite state.” Unlike some other states, a dog owner can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by their pet even if the animal has never bitten anyone before.
Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 51-2-7, the owner of a “vicious or dangerous animal” can be liable for injuries that animal causes. While we do not generally think of family dogs as “vicious or dangerous” animals, a dog bite of any kind can cause serious injuries. If the owner was breaking state- or county-specific animal ownership rules when the bite occurred, they could still be held “strictly liable” under the law. In Clayton County, this includes an owner not keeping their dog on a leash or having inadequate yard fencing to contain their pet as required by the county’s Municipal Code of Ordinances § 14-114. The dog’s owner may have a defense, however, if they can show that an injured person “provoked” the animal in some way.
It can strengthen a dog bite claim to show proof that the owner had reason to know their pet’s temperament could make it likely to bite. Evidence for a dog bite injury lawsuit may also include photos and records of medical treatment received. It is also important to note that people are legally required to file a police report when they have been bitten by someone else’s dog. A Riverdale dog bite attorney could help gather all relevant evidence for a personal injury case.
Legal Remedies and Consequences for Dog Bites
The state of Georgia allows several types of compensation in a dog bite lawsuit. For example, an injured person could sue a dog’s owner for the cost of:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Physical therapy/ongoing rehabilitation
The state does not have a cap on these types of damages, as long as a jury determines the amount is justified. Payout could be reduced or canceled entirely, however, if the injured person is found to be partially at fault under the rule of modified comparative fault via OCGA § 51-11-7. During a case review, a dog attack attorney in Riverdale could provide more detail about potential resolutions and settlements.
Get Help From a Riverdale Dog Bite Attorney
Because dog bite laws can vary so much from state to state, it is easy to get overwhelmed if you try to build your case alone. Working with an experienced Riverdale dog bite lawyer who is familiar with the laws and processes in Clayton County, Georgia, can help you navigate your case.
With over 25 years of extensive trial experience and compassionate client care, Attorney Robert James could identify what compensation you are entitled to and argue your case in court to help you collect the money you are owed. Contact us now to get started on the road to recovery.