A dog bite attack is scary and can be life-changing. A victim’s injuries can have serious complications like infections, disease, or permanent disability and disfigurement. What are your options after being bitten by a dog? What happens to the dog?
These are common questions. Let’s look at Georgia laws regarding dog bites.
What Is the One Bite Rule for Dogs?
If a dog bites someone once, then the owner should know the dog may bite again. Under these circumstances, a one-bite rule makes the dog’s owner legally liable for harm caused by second and subsequent bites.
Georgia does not have a one-bite rule, per se, but it does have several statutes in place to protect people and other pets from injuries caused by dog attacks or bites.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Laws
In Georgia, a person can file a dog bite claim after a dog bite in these circumstances:
- The injured person did not provoke the dog
- The dog was vicious or dangerous
- The owner was careless in allowing the dog to be unleashed or outside the owner’s property
If you were injured in any of these circumstances, then you may have cause to seek compensation from the dog’s owner. You could be entitled to compensation for your present and future medical care, lost wages from time missed at work, pain and suffering from the injuries, and emotional trauma.
Although Georgia doesn’t have statewide leash laws, in DeKalb County and within Atlanta, owners are required to control their dogs in these ways:
- Securing them inside if the owner is away
- Leashing them while outdoors
- If they’re outdoors, keeping them near a person whose commands the dog will obey
- Keeping them enclosed safely in a vehicle
Georgia’s law sets out rules for the handling of dangerous or vicious dogs.
Dangerous dogs are those that have:
- Acted in a way that a person could reasonably assume the dog poses a threat
- Bitten someone and punctured skin without seriously injuring them
- Inappropriately killed another pet off the owner’s property
Vicious dogs are those that have:
- Inflicted serious injury on a person
- Caused a person to suffer serious injury when they were trying to escape the dog’s attack
Owners of both types of dogs must have certificates of registration to keep the dog.
Other Aggressive Behaviors that Could Indicate a Vicious Dog
Your Atlanta dog bite attorney may be able to prove that a dog is vicious or dangerous even if it hasn’t bitten a person before, although a history of biting people or attacking other dogs is an easy way to prove a dog is a danger.
Other dangerous actions that could lead a reasonable person to believe a dog is vicious include:
- Charging at other dogs or lunging at people, even when leashed
- Excessive snarling, growling, or baring teeth in non-threatening situations
- Aggressive, threatening barking
- Attempting to get out of the owner’s control or breaking a leash, or running to attack another person or animal
Just because a dog hadn’t previously bitten someone doesn’t mean that its owner shouldn’t realize that the dog is likely to bite someone or attack another person’s pet in the future.
How Can an Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyer Help?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you can usually expect the owner to claim you provoked the attack or that the dog isn’t vicious. If you’re bitten by a friend’s or neighbor’s dog, getting your medical care paid for can get even more complicated as you try to handle a claim while preserving your relationship.
Hiring an attorney places a layer of protection between you and the dog owner. Your lawyer handles communication with the owner and their insurance company, seeking compensation for your injuries, and keeping you out of it as much as possible. Contact W. Winston Briggs Law Firm today at (404) 522-1500 for a free consultation after a dog bite.