Experiencing a dog bite to either yourself or a loved one can be a traumatic event. We have learned to appreciate dogs as our beloved pets and some are even like family members, so when dogs behave in an aggressive manner, it can be shocking and may cause severe injuries or even death. Dog owners can typically be held liable for the injuries that their dogs inflict upon victims. Whether a dog bites or otherwise attacks a person or damages property, the owner is accountable. Many times the dog owner is remorseful and accepts dog bite liability, allowing a fair settlement to be reached outside of court. In cases where the owner fails to accept responsibility for the actions of his animal, it may become necessary for the victim to proceed to taking legal action. When dog owners are sued for damages caused by the dog attack, the owner is often held liable to the full extent that the law allows.
What Does The Law Allow in Georgia?
In 2014, Georgia ranked number 9 in the nation for dog bite injury claims. Georgia’s dog bite statute is clear regarding what constitutes owner culpability in the event of injury caused by a dog bite. An owner has dog bite liability under the statute, if all of the following conditions are met:
- the animal is vicious or dangerous
- the owner was careless with the animal or let it “go at liberty,” which resulted in the injury
- the injured person did not provoke the animal.
The wording of the statute does not limit the dog bite injury claim to an actual bite. Any injury caused by a dog where the circumstances meet the conditions may qualify for compensation of damages.
Deadlines for Dog Bite Claims in Georgia
As in all claims, there is a time limit from the date of the incident that dictates how long the victim has to file the dog bite lawsuit. The time frame is referred to as the statute of limitation. The state of Georgia allows the victim to file a claim within two years of the date of the injury. If a case is filed after the two years has expired, it will more than likely not be honored in court.
What Do I Do Now?
When you or a loved one experience an injury caused by a dog attack, it is important to consult with a legal professional immediately for a free case evaluation. The evaluation will provide you with the necessary information required to make the best decision about whether to proceed with a dog bite lawsuit. The consultations do not involve any up front costs and will assist you in protecting the rights guaranteed to you by the state of Georgia.