Every pet owner has an obligation to keep their animal under control. This applies especially to situations where a dog owner takes the animal off their own property. If a dog owner fails in this duty, and the dog causes an injury, that owner may be liable for any resulting damage.
Alpharetta laws concerning the liability of dog owners are very complex. The plaintiffs may need to prove that the owner knew of the dog’s violent tendencies to claim compensation. Fortunately, a seasoned personal injury attorney could advocate on your behalf and help prove your case.
If you or a loved one were injured due to a dangerous pet, an Alpharetta dog bite lawyer could help you seek compensation. They can work to research the dog’s history, to discover evidence concerning the incident, and to demand proper payments from all at-fault owners.
Potential Effects of Dog Bites
A dog’s bite is capable of causing serious injuries. Even smaller animal bites can cause puncture wounds that may induce severe bleeding, can become infected, or may result in scarring. Larger animals have powerful jaws that can break bones, tear tendons, and require surgery to correct.
When an animal bites another, the owner could be held liable for damages. The animal owner may be required to cover the cost of all the plaintiff’s losses. With the help of an Alpharetta dog bite lawyer, injured claimants may be eligible to recover compensation for damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A diligent animal bite attorney could help injured plaintiffs to evaluate their losses following a dog attack and to demand appropriate payments from negligent pet owners.
How Does Georgia Define Dangerous Canines?
A dangerous canine is one that makes the individual believe the animal will cause serious if not fatal injuries due to the aggressive nature of the attack. Barking, snarling, or growling is not enough, as the dog must also make physical contact with the person. Georgia also defines dangerous dogs as those who severely puncture human skin or kill pet animals belonging to the owner’s friends, neighbors, family members, or anyone else. Legal professionals typically argue that such dogs are community hazards with the potential to harm more people in addition to the plaintiff.
Proving Liability Following a Bite
Demonstrating that an injury was the result of a dog bite is only the first step to an effective claim. It is still necessary to prove that an owner was negligent in allowing that bite to occur. Many states have one-bite rules that allow owners to avoid liability in certain situations. In the State of Georgia, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to demonstrate that the owner knew of the animal’s tendency for violence and still allowed the bite to occur.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated §51-2-7 states that an owner could be liable for damages if they allowed a vicious or dangerous animal to roam free, and the pet causes injuries. The plaintiff’s attorney bears the burden to prove the animal’s vicious nature, but the statute also states that proof of a local leash or restraint law is sufficient to meet this burden. In other cases, the owner may be liable if they order their animal to attack in public or if they fail to keep the dog on their property through proper fencing.
The defendant can argue that the plaintiff shared some of the blame for the incident. They may state that a plaintiff was taunting the animal in public or that the bite occurred on the owner’s private property. Working with an Alpharetta dog bite lawyer could help individuals to prove the violent propensity of the animal and combat any allegations of shared fault.
Do Trespassers Have Legal Rights in Dog Bite Cases?
Defendants often cite the private property defense in dog bite cases; however, such defenses are ignored by the court if the plaintiff was legally allowed on premise. Invitees and licenses such as friends, family members, salespeople, and service persons are among those with legal claims following dog attacks. If the bite took place on the dog owner’s private property and the plaintiff was trespassing, they do not have a legal claim. Even if the individual was not teasing, taunting, or trying to hurt the canine, they do not have legal right to be on premise and will see their case dismissed. Attorneys usually prevent such cases from moving forward since there are no grounds.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Canine Bite Injuries?
An individual attacked by a dog has two years to file a legal claim with their attorney according to § 9-3-33. The statute of limitations starts on the day of the attack. Those who do not request legal action and damages during this time usually cannot file. However, if the injured party was a minor, their filing timeline starts on their 18th birthday as per Georgia law. Both children and adults face emotional scarring from a dog attack; however, it can be even more traumatic for a child who does not fully understand what is happening or why the dog is acting viciously. Upon their 18th birthday, the child might be able to request larger damages if they suffered from PTSD for years.
Let an Alpharetta Dog Bite Attorney Help
An animal attack can be a painful and traumatic experience. Even smaller animals are capable of inflicting severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment. The costs of medical treatment following a dog bite could cause a significant financial burden.
Fortunately, an Alpharetta dog bite lawyer could help you pursue your case. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your damages. Call today to discuss your case and legal options.