Currently, there are fourteen states that follow the one-bite rule when it comes to dog bite lawsuits. Georgia is not one of them. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your Macon dog bite lawyer to win your case.
Here, we’ll discuss what the laws in Georgia say about dog bite victims and their ability to collect damages.
Georgia Law Spells Out What a Plaintiff Must Prove to Win Their Dog Bite Lawsuit
One of the things our Macon personal injury attorneys appreciate about Georgia dog bite laws is that they are very clear. Anybody who’s been bitten by a dog has the right to sue the dog’s owner for damages.
The question is, what does it take to win this sort of case? Here, we’ll break down the elements of a successful dog bite lawsuit in Macon. As long as your Macon dog bite lawyer can prove these elements, you’ll have a good chance of collecting damages.
Your Macon Dog Bite Lawyer is Very Familiar with Georgia Law
Over the years, our Macon personal injury attorneys have become very familiar with the dog bite laws in Georgia. In order to get our clients the compensation they deserve, there are certain specific things we need to prove.
To collect damages in a dog bite lawsuit, your Macon dog bite lawyer must prove the following.
- You were bitten by a dog.
- The dog was vicious or dangerous.
- The dog’s owner was careless in their management of the dog.
- You did not provoke the dog.
- You suffered physical injuries.
As you can see, there are several specific things you need to prove. If your Macon personal injury attorney manages to do this, you will likely win your case.
Who Can Your Macon Personal Injury Attorney File Suit Against?
Before we discuss damages or how to prove your case, it’s important to explain who you can sue in your dog bite lawsuit. Per Georgia Code §51-2-6 and 51-2-7, your Macon personal injury attorney can file suit against either the dog’s owner or the person keeping the dog.
You may wonder what it means that someone is a “keeper” of a dog. It essentially means that the person has dominion and control over the animal. They could be a relative, friend, or even dog walker.
Your Macon Dog Bite Lawyer Must Demonstrate the Dog Was Vicious or Dangerous
Now that we’ve covered who the possible defendant could be, it’s time to turn to the next element of the Georgia dog bite statute.
Your Macon personal injury attorney must demonstrate that the dog who bit you is dangerous or vicious. Many states determine this element by looking at the dog’s history of attacks. If the dog has bitten someone in the past, they are considered vicious. Georgia doesn’t follow this rule.
Georgia Does Not Follow the One-Bite Rule Like Many Other States
Since there is no one-bite rule in Georgia, your Macon personal injury attorney will need another way to prove this element.
Some of the ways in which they can do this include the following.
- Can they show that the dog has a history of charging people or other animals?
- Was the dog growling at you prior to the attack?
- Was the dog aggressively barking at you in the moments before it bit you?
- Has the dog bitten other people before?
- Has the dog’s owner been issued citations due to the dog’s behavior in the past?
Any of things on their own, or in combination, will suffice to prove that the defendant’s dog was dangerous and vicious.
You Must Also Prove the Owner or Keeper Carelessly Managed the Animal
Once your Macon dog bite lawyer demonstrates that the dog was vicious, they must prove that the dog was not well managed. The easiest way to do this is to cite a local statute or rule requiring dogs to be on a leash while in public spaces.
If a dog’s owner walks them without a leash, they may be found liable for damages. There is no reason why anyone should let their dog out without a leash. Not only is it potentially dangerous for other people, but the dog could get hurt as well.
Macon Does Have a Dog Leash Law
The good news is that Macon has a dog-leash law. There are dog parks around the city where people can let their dogs roam free. However, when in public, dogs must be on a leash.
Your Macon Dog Bite Lawyer Must Also Prove You Were Injured
As with any other personal injury lawsuit, your Macon personal injury attorney must prove that you were hurt. Of all dog bites in the U.S., more than 80% result in little to no injuries.
Your lawyer will need to submit medical records, pictures, and even videos showing how bad your injuries were. If you can’t prove that you were hurt, you won’t be entitled to damages.
The Dog’s Owner May Claim That You Provoked the Dog
One of the first things the defendant’s lawyer will say is that you provoked the dog. Under Georgia law, if you provoke an animal, you won’t be able to then sue its owner for damages.
This is similar to any personal injury case where the defendant argues the plaintiff was partially at fault. If this happens in your case, your damages may be reduced by your percentage of fault. Or your claim may be dismissed outright.
What if You’re Found to Have Possibly Provoked the Dog?
If the defendant claims you provoked or antagonized the dog, your Macon dog bite lawyer will submit evidence to the contrary. They can use the following things to prove the defendant wrong:
- Eyewitness testimony from people who saw the dog bite you
- Videos caught on a cell phone showing exactly what happened
- Statements from yourself about what happened
- Records that show the defendant’s dog has attacked people before.
It’s a Good Idea to Meet With an Experienced Macon Dog Bite Lawyer Right Away
If you or your child have been bitten or attacked by a dog, there’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to damages. It all depends on whether your Macon dog bite lawyer can prove your case. Rather than wait until the last minute, you should contact our office right away.
Our Macon personal injury attorneys offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This way, you don’t have to worry about paying money upfront. In fact, you don’t pay a penny until we settle your case.
Since the consultation is free, it’s in your best interest to call and schedule your appointment today.