Georgia is one of a few states that still utilizes the concept of the one-bite-rule. In short, this means that a dog’s owner is not liable for an accidental attack unless the plaintiff can prove that the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s violent history.
However, other portions of the law allow a plaintiff to bypass this requirement if the owner was so negligent as to ignore local animal control laws or if an owner allows a known dangerous animal to run free.
A Columbus dog bite lawyer could help you to pursue your claim following a dog bite injury. A seasoned legal professional could work to establish your rights under the law, investigate the principal incident, and look into the animal’s history to determine any past incidents of violence.
While state law still gives dog owners the benefit of the doubt after an accidental attack, dog owners still carry responsibility. According to O.C.G.A. §51-2-7, the keeper of an animal may be liable for an attack if the animal has a “vicious propensity.”
As a result, an injured person may pursue damages from a dog’s owner if the attack happened in a place where the owner had a duty to keep the animal on a leash. Because Columbus law requires all dog owners to keep their animals on a leash when not on the owner’s property, an owner is likely liable for an attack.
However, this same statute provides a possible defense for defendants. Defendants may attempt to present evidence that a plaintiff teased or otherwise antagonized the animal causing the incident. A dog bite lawyer in Columbus could help defend against counterclaims of enticing a dog to attack and preserve a plaintiff’s ability to recover compensation.
The State Supreme Court case of Steagold v. Eason, GA: Supreme Court (2017) finds that a dog owner may be liable under a theory of common negligence. This means that an owner may still be responsible for an attack that happens on their land if the plaintiff can show that the owner had a reason to know of the dangerous nature of the animal. This is in line with traditional one-bite rules.
As a result, many dog bite cases rely on a plaintiff’s ability to investigate the dog’s history of violence and discipline. It may also require a plaintiff to evaluate the owner’s knowledge of that past. A Columbus dog bite attorney could perform the necessary discovery work to determine if a claim based around common law negligence is appropriate.
The aftermath of a dog bite may leave you scared and confused. Dog bites and other attacks can result in serious injuries that leave physical damage, financial losses, and emotional trauma in their wake. However, determining if a dog’s owner is liable for that attack may involve a complex combination of statute and case law analysis.
A Columbus dog bite lawyer could help you to make the necessary legal argument to collect compensation for your losses. They could also help measure those losses and pursue your case within the two-year statute of limitations. Contact a Columbus dog bite lawyer today to discuss your options.