Georgia law and dog bites: Who’s liable?
Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend. In many cases, this old adage holds true. Dogs are often great companions and are common additions to households throughout the country. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that approximately 77.8 million dogs are owned as pets in the United States.
Unfortunately, not every dog is companion material. 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog every year. Of these dog attacks, 885,000 are so serious that they require medical attention.
When dogs attack where does liability fall? In most cases owners are generally held responsible for their dog’s actions. The exact details for how liability is handled depend on state law.
In Georgia, the law states that a person who “owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured.” Essentially, this means the owner is generally liable when his or her dog bites someone.
What should I do if I am the victim of a dog bite attack? First, seek medical attention if needed. Next, gather information. This can include the owner’s name and contact info as well as checking into whether the dog has had other incidents in the past.
Keep track of all bills associated with the attack. In Georgia, these bills generally add up to $37,600. Depending on the details of the attack, you may be able to hold the owner accountable through a personal injury suit.
If you believe the owner of the dog is liable for the bite, contact an experienced attorney. Your lawyer can review the details of the case and help better ensure a more a positive outcome.