Premises liability cases account for injuries that happen on someone else’s property when the owner or occupier has been negligent. That can include attacks from animals that the owner allows on their property. We often think of dog bites when it comes to animal attacks, but injuries from wild animals can be covered under premises liability in Georgia too.
Wild animal attacks happen more often than you’d think in Georgia. When they do, the injured party has a right to file a premises liability claim if the property owner was negligent in the attack.
What to Know About Animal Attacks and Premises Liability
Dog bites make up the most common types of domesticated animal attacks on people’s property in Georgia, but liability in animal attacks is not exclusive to dogs and other traditional pets. If an animal attack happens on someone’s property, they are potentially liable.
Georgia Law on Dog Bites
Georgia Code § 51-2-7 discusses the liability of owners or keepers of vicious or dangerous animals when injuries are caused by those animals. It states that:
- Owners or keepers of vicious or dangerous animals may be liable for damages if “careless management” or “allowing the animal to go at liberty” causes an injury.
- The injury must occur without the injured person provoking the animal to attack.
- The animal’s owner may be liable simply by showing that the animal should have been on a leash or “at heel” when the attack happened (with the exclusion of domesticated livestock or domesticated fowl).
The above statute can be helpful for victims of dog bites or domesticated animal attacks, but what about wild animals that the property owner does not typically have ownership of?
Georgia Law on Wild Animal Attacks
All property owners in Georgia have a duty to keep their premises safe for those who are invited to come onto their property. If the property owner allows wild animals to come onto or remain on their premises, they may be putting visitors at risk.
Animal attacks may be caused by:
- Venomous snakes
- Hornets or wasps
- Various types of birds
- And more
If the owner knew the risk of wild animal attacks was present on their property and did not act to remedy the problem, they can be found liable in the event of an attack. However, these types of cases can be complicated and challenging. This is in part because, unlike dog bites, wild animal attacks are not specifically mentioned in the Georgia Code. Georgia premises liability laws also tend to favor property owners, especially if negligence seems to lie in a gray area.
Wild animal attacks can be extremely serious, resulting in severe, expensive injuries, disfigurement, disability, or even death. Although these types of cases can be complex, an animal attack victim deserves to recover for damages they were not responsible for.
An experienced Georgia premises liability lawyer will know how to pursue a case against a negligent property owner. At John Foy & Associates, we can advise you on the best course of action for you and your family. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with a FREE consultation.
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Damages You Can Recover in an Animal Attack Premises Liability Claim
The victim of any type of injury on someone’s property can seek compensation for their damages. Common damages from animal attacks in Georgia include:
- Immediate medical costs, including hospital stays, surgeries, tests, prescription medications, and doctor visits
- Future or ongoing medical expenses, including physical therapy, further surgeries, hospitalization, and medications
- Lost wages to recover missed work time
- Pain and suffering damages like emotional trauma, fear, embarrassment, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages for certain family members if the victim dies
Pain and suffering damages are available in most personal injury cases, and they may be especially relevant after a wild animal attack. Victims may be left with terrible scarring or other types of disfigurement. Serious injuries may even lead to a disability that affects the victim’s ability to work or live as they did before.
Any losses you suffer because of your animal attack injuries are eligible for compensation.
What to Do After an Animal Attack on Someone’s Property in Georgia
After an animal attack, you will need to file a premises liability claim with the property owner’s insurance company. To do this, you’ll need evidence of what occurred and will need to build a strong case showing the owner’s negligence. Instead of trying to do this alone, it’s best to contact a Georgia premises liability lawyer immediately.
Some things you can do to legally protect yourself and help build your case include:
- Identifying the animal that bit or attacked you
- Reporting the animal attack to the proper authorities (in Atlanta, you would need to call Fulton County Animal Services and the police)
- Get medical treatment right away
- Take a picture of the animal, your injuries, and the location of the attack (if you are well enough to do so)
- Keeping track of all medical records and other expenses
- Getting the names of any witnesses to the attack
A Georgia premises liability lawyer can help you with all of the above and more. Although premises liability cases should cover animal attacks, you may run into issues when you try to file your claim or pursue compensation for your damages. You will need the help of a legal professional who can present your case professionally and hold the property owner responsible for their negligence.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
If you were hurt by a wild animal on someone’s property in Georgia, our lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help. We have been helping victims of animal attacks for over 20 years all throughout the state of Georgia. Let us give you a FREE consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.
To get started right away, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today. We do not take a fee unless we win you money, so there’s no risk in calling or working with us.
Call (404) 400-4000 for your FREE consultation now.