Over 63 million households in America own at least one dog, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Dogs are arguably the most beloved pet for many families. They provide companionship, love, security, and sometimes even services to their owners. Unfortunately, some canines can be a danger to others around them.
With warmer weather and summer days approaching, more people are out walking and hiking with their dogs. This time of year is when dog bites and other dog-related injuries are more likely to occur. If you are the victim of such a bite or injury, do not hesitate to call an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights. Here are three things you should know about Georgia’s dog bite laws.
Dog Bite Victims Must Prove Negligence
When it comes to dog bites, some states deem owners to be liable no matter what. However, Georgia law requires that injured plaintiffs prove that the owner was negligent in causing the dog bite to occur, usually by not having their animal restrained or leashed. Georgia has what is known as a “one bite rule.” If the owner were not aware of the dog’s potential for aggression, the owner would not be held liable.
Georgia law views dogs as harmless. The plaintiffs must also prove that the dog that bit them was vicious or was potentially dangerous. Proving all of these elements in a dog bite case is often challenging and requires a Georgia personal injury lawyer’s skills.
Some Counties Have Leash Ordinances
In counties that have enacted leash laws, the owner merely having their dog off-leash or not within the physical boundaries of their property is proof enough that the owner acted in negligence. For instance, Atlanta legally mandates that all dogs be on a leash when they are in or on the city’s parks, trails, and public spaces. If you were in a county that does not have any leash law, you or your Georgia personal injury attorney have the burden of proving the owner’s negligence.
The Dog Cannot Have Been Provoked
If you provoked the dog in some way to act aggressively and bite you, your case will likely not be successful. The state’s dog bite laws explain that a dog’s owner cannot be liable for their dog’s behavior if they were provoked right before the bit occurred. Dog owners will often use this to their advantage. Having the right attorney can help you prove that you did not cause the dog to bite.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer about Your Dog Bite Today
If a dog in Georgia bit you, now is the time to act. The longer you wait to reach out for legal assistance, the more valuable evidence can disappear. Contact Slappey & Sadd, LLC as soon as possible after a dog bite to preserve your legal rights.
Our firm is based in Atlanta, and we serve clients in the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Muscogee, Newton, Troup, Walker, Walton, and Whitfield. Schedule a case consultation with a Georgia personal injury lawyer today by calling 404.255.6677 or use our online contact form. For your safety and convenience, we can conduct your consultation by phone or through video conferencing.