Georgia has strict laws (Ga. Code Ann., § 51-2-6 to 7) concerning dog bites and owner liabilities. In Georgia, the state statute notes strict liability for dogs that bite others. There are three requirements under this law that apply to the dog and owner.
First, the law also states that the animal must be considered vicious or dangerous. Don’t let this legal requirement fool you. If the dog was required to be on a leash according to the city ordinance and was not, it may count as being an action against the law. Second, the dog must have been under the “careless management of the owner.” In these cases, the dog was often supposed to be under the owner’s control, or the dog was supposed to respond to the owner’s voice command to stop or return to the owner if straying away. Third, if the person injured is to make a claim under this law, then that individual must not have been in the position to have provoked the dog into attacking the person.
Provoking the Animal to Attack
According to the Georgia laws on dog bites, if a person does not provoke the dog to attack, then the owner may be held liable for damages to the person injured by the dog. There will no doubt be an issue as to whether the dog had a propensity for being vicious, in those cases. It may be enough to show that the animal should have stayed by the owner’s side (heel) or should have been on a leash according to city, county or town ordinance, and the dog was left to roam free before the dog bite occurred.
Children and the Provocation of Animals
It is always an emergency if a dog bites a child. Even a supposedly “sweet” or even-tempered dog can turn and bite a child if the conditions are right for this unfortunate accident to occur. There will be a question regarding whether the child provoked the animal to attack or not. Many scenarios may factor into these cases, and all cases are unique in this respect.
Factors to Consider in Child Dog Bite Cases
If you’re asking yourself a question like, “A dog bit my child, what should I do?” There will be many factors to consider in the case of dog bites on a child. For example, it will be essential to determine:
The age of the child
Whether the dog was on a lease before biting the child
Was the dog roaming free outside of the view of the owner?
Did the child provoke the dog to bite?
Was the child alone at the time of the dog bite?
Was the child inside or outside at the time of the dog bite?
Was the child in the dog owner’s home or their own home at the time of the dog bite?
Has the dog ever bitten someone else in the past?
The age of the dog?
Was the dog trained to be vicious?
Did the child realize their actions were provoking the dog to bite?
Children Who Are Bitten by Dogs Can Be Traumatized Afterwards
Children can be scarred emotionally after a dog bit. Young children bitten by dogs often develop a lifelong fear of dogs after a dog bite incident. Children are often of a small size, and are smaller than many large breed dogs. Additionally, it is possible that a child is at a lower level of view in the eyes of a dog, and may be seen by the animal as easy to control or intimidate. Some children have not been taught to approach strange dogs with caution and approach a mean or vicious dog without realizing the danger when trying to pet or “play nice” with a new dog.
Children Bitten by Dogs Can Have Major Injuries
If a child is bitten by a dog, the child can have significant injuries. If the child is bitten on the head, face or neck, there could even be serious or life-threatening injuries for the child if the teeth marks are deep enough. Children bitten by a dog on the arms, hands, legs or feet can also risk losing a limb or a finger to a dog bite. If a child is bitten on the trunk, stomach or chest, this dog bite could penetrate the child’s skin and actually affect major organs, especially on very young children because of their small size.
My Child Has Been Bitten by a Dog, What Should I Do Next?
If a dog has bitten your child, then you may want to seek medical attention right away. The child should be checked by formal medical healthcare personnel, such as at a hospital, urgent care clinic, or the pediatrician’s office. The child may need stitches, need follow-up care, or need to be referred to a plastic surgeon to manage wound care in serious situations. Keep track of all doctor visits, doctor-related bills, and medications given to your child.
Also, after the child’s immediate medical needs are attended to, it is important to make a formal complaint with the law enforcement authorities regarding the dog bite attack. Give the police all information related to the incident and don’t leave any details out of the report.
Who Will Pay for My Child’s Medical Bills After a Dog Bite?
If your child suffers a dog bite, you will want to consider bringing an action or claim against the dog owner for these damages. Always seek to exchange information or find out the owner of the dog after a dog bite attack on your child, and share this information with the authorities.
If your child has been bitten by a dog, find a child dog bite lawyer. At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm we are able to talk to you about your dog bite case and offer advice on how you should proceed. Call our injury and accident attorneys at (833) 254-2923 or fill this form to schedule an appointment if your child has been bitten by a dog and has suffered a dog bite.