According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States will fall victim to a dog bite every 75 seconds. This adds up to over 1,000 people seeking emergency care for their injuries every day. Recent updates on the state level have helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding Georgia’s dog bite laws.
Grounds That Must Be Met to Prove Owner’s Liability
There are two ways that are defined under state law to prove that a dog owner can be held liable for injuries as a result of an attack from their dog. Under the scienter ground, the dog bite victim must prove that the dog’s owner was aware that it was vicious or dangerous under the definitions provided under the law and that the owner allowed the dog to run loose or did not properly manage it.
A dog that has previously caused serious injury to a person is classified as vicious. This classification requires the owner to comply with strict restrictions in order to prevent additional injuries to others. A dog is classified as dangerous if it has caused previous injury to a person by nipping, scratching or breaking a person’s skin. If a dangerous dog then injures another person, it can then be reclassified as a vicious dog.
The second ground in which a dog owner can be found liable is the ordinance ground. In order to prove negligence under this ground, two conditions must be met:
- The dog was not properly restrained or under control of the owner, according to local ordinances.
- The owner allowed the dog to run free or was careless in managing the dog.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
If a dog bites you, you may find that even though these laws demand more accountability from dog owners, they are not always stacked in favor of the bite victim. You may need to prove that the owner was aware of the dog’s propensity to attack, despite their being no previous reports of biting incidents. Without this proof, you could end up responsible for paying all the medical costs related to being bit by a dangerous or violent dog. There is where the expertise of an attorney experienced in dog bite attacks can assist you in proving your case.