Dog bites occur far more frequently in Stone Mountain than you might think. Although some people fear that all dogs who bite have rabies, that is generally not the case—but a dog doesn’t have to have rabies or any disorder to be considered a vicious animal. Dog bites can still cause serious, long-term damage, especially if they become infected. In those situations, it is a good idea to call a Stone Mountain dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Hundreds of dog bites occur across Georgia every year, and John Foy & Associates has seen our fair share of those instances. When a dog’s owner lets the dog run freely or has a careless disregard for how their dog acts around others, that can lead to harm—and legal liability. Owners are almost always legally responsible for their dog’s actions, which means that you could have a right to receive money for the expenses you had related to medical bills, lost time from work, and the long-term issues caused by a dog bite. Let us help you get legal counsel and secure the best outcome for your case. We’ll give you a free consultation to get you started. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
When can I sue for a dog bite in Stone Mountain?
Dog owners must keep their animals under control to prevent injury to others. This is particularly true when the dog’s owner knows that it is vicious or has bitten others in the past. Dog bite laws in Georgia are based on the concept of “negligence.” That is, the dog’s owner must have been careless in one way or another, and that carelessness caused the dog bite. Negligence is usually shown in one of two ways:
- The dog’s owner knew that the dog was aggressive or dangerous.
The law on dog bites in the City of Stone Mountain is based on the “one bite” rule. This rule is also sometimes referred to as the “first bite free” rule or the “common law rule” regarding dog bites. Under this rule, a dog’s owner is only charged with knowing that their dog is dangerous after it has already bitten someone else.
But, this rule applies to other aggressive behaviors as well, not just a bite—so if the dog’s owner knew that the dog had previously chased, nipped, or lunged at someone, the owner should have known that the dog has the potential to bite as well. Basically, if the dog showed signs of aggression in the past, and didn’t control the dog accordingly, that may be enough to count as negligence.
- The owner did not contain the dog properly.
Another ground for starting a lawsuit is if the owner was negligent in how they were keeping the dog. For example, if the owner let the dog run free in a location where it should have been on a leash, then that could be enough to show that the dog counts as “vicious.” The same type of situation occurs when a dog frequently gets out of its fence and bites someone while it is roaming free unsupervised. Any kind of situation where the owner failed to contain the dog while unsupervised can count.
You only need to demonstrate ONE of these two facts to prove your claim. And our dog bite attorneys have a long history of gathering the evidence needed to make a strong case and win a settlement.
Are there any exceptions to dog bite liability in Georgia?
Yes. If you were engaging in certain activities when the bite occurred, your ability to recover damages might be limited. These situations are rare, however, so it’s a good idea to talk to a Stone Mountain dog bite attorney about the particular facts of your circumstance before you rule out the possibility of a dog bite claim.
- Teasing or provoking a dog can cause it to get upset and violent. For that reason, dog owners are usually not liable for a dog bite if you were teasing or taunting the dog before the bite occurred. But, keep in mind that when you are simply trying to be friendly, a dog may think you are a threat. That means that what the dog thinks is provocation may not really be something that would keep you from filing a dog bite lawsuit in your local court.
- Dogs are often kept as “guards” or “protectors.” As a result, dog owners will not be liable for dog bites that occur because the dog is defending its property or family against those who are illegally present on their property. Again, however, the dog may think you shouldn’t be there when you have a legal right to be on the property. Dogs may react negatively even when you’re visiting friends and neighbors with permission.
Beware of false accusations from insurers. Just because you are being accused of “provoking” an animal does not mean it’s true. We can prove the facts.
What if the owner is claiming it’s not the dog’s fault?
Georgia law assumes that the dog is harmless. Of course, this assumption may or may not be true, depending on the dog. Victims have the obligation of showing that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous and that the owner was not taking appropriate action to keep the perilous dog away from others.
Keep in mind that you must prove that the dog owner was negligent to recover. If the dog broke free of its chain for the first time, that may not be a situation where there’s any liability. But anything careless, like dropping a leash, could lead to damages. And so can can attack by an animal with a history of aggression.
These cases are very fact-specific, so it helps to keep a record of exactly what happened just before and during the bite. This information will help your lawyer build the strongest case possible and improve your chances of recovering money.
Talk to a Stone Mountain Dog Bite Lawyer for Free
Don’t wait to talk to a lawyer after your dog bite incident. There are time restrictions that apply to your claim. If you don’t act now, you may lose your right to bring a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. John Foy & Associates can help. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.