Have you been bitten by a dog?

Dog bites are typically portrayed on tv and in movies as comedic events, but in reality, they are no laughing matter. Not only can you be seriously injured by a dog bite, but getting attacked by a dog is a traumatizing event. If you’ve been bitten by a dog and suffered serious injury, it’s important that you understand your rights under Georgia law.  

Statute of Limitations

The phrase “statute of limitations” is legal jargon for the period of time during which you can file a lawsuit. There are different time periods for different kinds of cases, and they vary by state. Georgia law requires that you file a lawsuit for personal injury due to a dog bite within two years of the incident. This is important because if you fail to file the lawsuit during that period of time, you will be barred from receiving compensation for your injuries.  

Determining Liability

In order to receive compensation as a result of a dog bite, you need to prove two things: (1) that you have been harmed as a result of the dog bite; and (2) that the owner of the dog is at fault.  

Proving that you’ve been harmed is relatively straight-forward. Keep copies of all medical bills and other expenses related to the dog bite, as well as any doctor’s notes and other medical reports. You also want to document any lost wages and other expenses that were caused by the incident. Don’t forget that you may be entitled to compensation for things like emotional distress, increased anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder that may have been caused by the incident.  

Proving that the owner of the dog should be held liable for your injuries is more complicated. Georgia Code Section 51-2-7 requires that you demonstrate the following:

  1. The dog was vicious or dangerous;
  2. The owner was careless in managing the dog or allowing it to go “at liberty;”
  3. The injured person did not provoke the dog.   

In proving that the dog is vicious or dangerous, Georgia law allows you to rely upon your local leash ordinance. In other words, if local law requires that a dog is on a leash, the fact that it is off leash may be enough to demonstrate that it is dangerous.  

However, note that you have to prove all three. For example, the owner may allege that the dog was off the leash because he escaped the yard – the owner was not careless with the dog, nor did he allow it to go free. The owner may also allege that you provoked the dog into attacking you.  

Contact an Atlanta Attorney Who Handles Dog Bite Cases

If you’ve been attacked by a dog and are injured, the damages can be severe and you need an attorney who can help you with your case. The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd can help you understand your rights and get the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form in order to schedule a free consultation.  

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