A Guide to Georgia Dog Bite Laws
by Arina Smith Legal 04 January 2021
Dog bites are a serious problem in the United States, with dog bites injuring more than 4.7 million people each year. Here in Georgia, dog bites are also a very serious problem. Our state ranks 7th in the top 10 states with the most dog bite injury claims each year.
Dog bites are a tragic and traumatic experience for the victim. These attacks are physically and mentally painful and can take a long time to heal. There are also risks like rabies or other infections being transmitted from the dog. And, of course, there are the ever-present risks associated with any type of injury and treatment.
Fortunately, Georgian’s have rights when it comes to dog bites. Put together by Douglasville dog bite lawyers, let’s take a look at Georgia dog bite laws and what you can do if you are attacked.
Georgia Dog Bite Laws
Georgia is considered a “negligence” state when it comes to dog bites. That means the victim of a dog bite must prove their claims. According to Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 51-2-7), the victim must show that:
- The dog is dangerous or vicious and the owner knew it.
- The owner was careless or acted without reasonable care to others (let it run without a leash, etc.).
- The victim did not provoke the dog in any way.
If you are injured by someone else’s dog and can prove that they were negligent, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner or the property owner. This compensation may be obtained through a personal injury or premises liability lawsuit. Speak with a lawyer to determine the best course of action for your dog bite case.
Georgia Statute of Limitations
It is important to note that Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations on dog bite injury claims. That means you must take legal action within two years from the date of your injury. After that time, the court may prohibit you from filing a claim.
Dog Bite Premises Liability Claims
Dog bite injury claims can be a type of premises liability claim if the attack happened on someone else’s property. If you were visiting a friend, neighbor, or family member and their dog attacked you, you can file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. As difficult as it is to imagine suing a friend, neighbor, or family member – you should if their dog has caused you harm.
According to Georgia law, if you were invited as a guest or customer, the property owner has a duty of care to ensure that you are safe. That includes making sure that any animals on their property are restrained, fenced, or are well behaved.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you have been bitten by a dog, your primary focus should be on getting medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should have a doctor examine you. In many cases, people who are bitten by a dog will require rabies vaccines.
Documenting your injuries and their cause is important if you plan to file an insurance or premises liability claim. The dog’s owner may have homeowners or renters insurance that will pay for some of your medical bills, but often their offers are low compared to the cost of your ordeal.
To make sure you are treated fairly and your legal rights are preserved, speak with a Georgia premises liability lawyer about your injury.