Nearly one in five people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. It can be traumatic, painful, and disfiguring. When you or someone close to you has been bitten by a dog or other animal in Georgia, you may be able to recover compensation under certain conditions.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute
Georgia’s dog bite statute also covers injuries caused by other animals and almost any kind of animal behavior that causes injury. In order to prove that an animal’s owner is liable under the statute, the injured person must show that:
- The animal is vicious or dangerous;
- The owner was careless with the animal or let it “go at liberty,” which caused the injury; and
- The injured person did not provoke the animal.
Georgia’s Negligence Law for Animal Injuries
Georgia is a “negligence” state when it comes to animal bites. In order to prove liability, the injured person must prove that the animal’s owner knew that the animal was “vicious” or “dangerous” and acted without reasonable care to restrain the animal or protect other people from injury. If an owner has no prior warning, it may not be possible to show liability.
Georgia does not have a statewide leash law; instead, individual counties have laws that stipulate how and when a dog must be restrained. In counties with leash laws, failing to have an animal on a leash is enough to show negligence of the owner.
Deadline for Filing an Animal Bite Lawsuit in Georgia
As with all personal injury claims, there is a statute of limitations specific to your state and the type of case that you are filing. This means that there is a time limit on your right to file a lawsuit after your injury or accident. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for an animal bite claim is two years.
Animal Bite Injury Defenses as an Animal Owner in Georgia
An animal owner who faces a dog or animal bite injury claim has several possible defenses under Georgia law, including lack of knowledge, reasonable care, and provocation. Since Georgia is a “negligence” state, an owner without the knowledge that their pet is vicious cannot be held liable. Likewise, if the owner did not allow the animal to “go at liberty” and was not “careless,” then the owner cannot be held liable. Lastly, if the reason why the bite victim was bitten was that they provoked the animal, the owner will not be held liable.
Damages for Animal Bite Claims
The type of damages that an animal bite victim might be awarded include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of actual earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Veterinary medical treatment for the victim’s dog if it also was injured in the same incident
- Property damages
- Future disability
For More Information, Contact One of our Georgia dog Bite Attorneys
Are you considering filing a lawsuit due to a dog or other animal bite? It is important to seek legal advice so that you understand your rights and obligations. Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC to schedule a free consultation by calling (404) 389-1035.