The state of Georgia allows for victims of dog bites to recover compensation for their injuries from owners who are acting negligently. This can refer to a dog owner who is aware that their dog has a vicious nature and does not take steps to protect the public or an owner who carelessly allows their dog to escape from their property.
The “Responsible Dog Ownership Law” was enacted in 2012 to provide some protection to the public and to protect dog owners from frivolous lawsuits. The law, which is codified through OCGA 4-8-1 through 4-8-33, sets guidelines for responsible pet ownership and provides state minimum standards for the control and regulation of dogs, and establishes state crimes for violations of these standards. However, this law does not prohibit local governments from adopting and enforcing their own ordinances or resolutions that provide more restrictive controls and standards. Therefore, if you are a dog owner or the victim of a dog attack, you should also research county and city ordinances relating to dog bites.
You may feel overwhelmed during these moments, but dog bite attorney Ali Awad, the CEO lawyer, is here to stand up for your legal rights after a dog bite incident. Don’t accept lowball offers, and don’t take insurers at face value. Arm yourself with the legal representation you need to get a fair shake at the settlement you deserve. Call the CEO Lawyer for a no-obligation consultation of your case at (833) 254-2923.
What Makes a Dog Dangerous?
Georgia law defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that:
Causes a substantial puncture by teeth of a person’s skin;
Aggressively attacks in a way that a reasonable person may believe the dog poses a serious threat to oneself or another person;
A dog who kills another animal while off the owner’s property, given that the dog is not working or training as a hunting, herding, or predator control dog.
Note that “nips,” “scratches,” or “abrasions” do not constitute sufficient injury to classify a dog as dangerous. The ordinance also defines “serious injury” as any physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or actual death, results in broken or dislocated bones, lacerations that require multiple stitches, the impairment of internal organs from functioning, or disfigurement. The ordinance also defines “serious injury” as any injury that includes the transmission of an infection or contagious disease.
The law does distinguish between a “dangerous” dog and a “vicious” dog. O.C.G.A 4-8-21 defines a “vicious” dog as one that inflicts serious injury on a person performing reasonable attempts to escape from the dog’s attack. More simply, a vicious dog attempts to harm a person trying to get away from the dog.
What are the Owner’s Responsibilities when it Comes to Dangerous Dogs?
Under state law, the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog is required to notify animal control within 24 hours if the dog has bitten or attacked another person or is on the loose. Owners must also register dangerous dogs and notify the proper authorities if they move to a new jurisdiction within 30 days of becoming a resident of that area. Dangerous dogs are not allowed to be unattended with minor children.
Dangerous dogs are required to stay on their owner’s property at all times unless they are on a leash that does not exceed six feet or contained in a closed or locked crate. Exceptions to this rule exist in the case of dogs training to be hunting dogs, herding dogs, or predator control dogs.
What Happens if My Dog Bites or Attacks?
Many states operate under strict ordinances when it comes to dog bites, but Georgia is not one of them. In Georgia, the defendant must prove that the dog owner knew that their dog was dangerous and did not secure the animal. It must be shown that the owner did something wrong, such as failing to leash the dog or failing to recognize its aggression. If the circumstance proves that the dog has never bitten anyone before and has never shown any signs of aggression, the owner may not be held liable in the dog bite case.
If your dog has bitten or attacked another person, the animal will be confiscated and held by animal control for a set amount of days, usually to give the dog owner time to comply with local ordinances regarding securing dangerous or vicious dogs.
What are the Sources of Compensation in Dog Bite Cases?
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dangerous or vicious dog, it is wise to consult with a dog bite attorney. Attorneys with experience in these cases are aware of which sources of insurance can provide compensation to victims of dog bites. Most homeowners carry insurance that covers dog bites or dog attacks, but many renters do not carry insurance.
In particular cases, a landlord may be held liable for their tenant’s dangerous pet. For example, if the dangerous animal escaped a broken fence that the landlord was aware of, they may be held liable in a court of law.
The most common types of expenses that are awarded in dog bite injury cases are:
Medical bills and related medical expenses, including reconstructive surgery
Lost wages or earnings
Pain and suffering
Loss of quality of life
Learn More About Dog Bite Laws in Georgia
Dog bite laws in Georgia can be confusing, as many local governments have provisions that exceed those issued by the state. If your dog has bitten another person, or if you are the victim of a dog bite, you should contact an experienced dog bite attorney who can help you navigate confusing laws and ensure that your rights are protected.
Give one of our CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys a call today. We are here for you and will help you get the recovery you deserve. We will give you peace of mind to know that your concerns are being heard, and we will get you the compensation that you should have as a result of being injured from the wrongful actions of other parties. Our experienced attorneys are here for a no-obligation, free consultation. Contact us online or call us today at (833) 254-2923 right now.
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To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
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