If you have been bitten by a dog or your dog has bitten someone, you will probably be curious about who in that situation is legally liable for the bite. Each state has its own laws regarding dog bite liability. Some states have laws that favor dog owners and other states have laws that favor victims. Because there is so much variability between states, you will want to make sure you know the dog bite liability laws in your area.
Currently, the laws of the state of Georgia favor dog owners when it comes to dog bites. If you are bitten by someone’s dog, there are two primary ways the dog’s owner can be found liable. In the first method, you must be able to prove:
1) The dog was dangerous or vicious.
2) The owner knew that the dog was dangerous.
3) The owner managed their dog carelessly.
This statute it used to prove liability when an owner was aware of their dog’s tendency to bite. Georgia adheres to what is known as the “one bite” rule. This rule states that it takes a previous bite for the owner to know that their dog can be considered to be dangerous. Once they have this knowledge, it is their duty to ensure that their dog is handled in a way that prevents it from acting aggressively again.
In the second method, you must be able to prove:
1) The dog was not at heel or on leash when it was required by city ordinance.
2) The owner managed their dog carelessly.
This statute is generally used to prove liability in situations where a dog does not have a record of biting or acting aggressively prior to the incident.
If a dog owner is aware of their dog’s propensity to bite and yet they do nothing to prevent the dog from biting, the owner is considered negligent. However, Georgia state law prevents negligent dog owners from being held liable for injuries caused by their dog.
The general consensus in the world of responsible dog owners is to “blame the deed, not the breed.” This means that dogs rarely act out due to their breed or heredity, but because of the environment in which they were raised. As a dog owner, the owner is responsible for raising the animal in an environment that will not foster aggressive tendencies. Even so, the state law in Georgia acts in almost direct opposition to this idea, but people are working to change this.
The dog bite liability laws in Georgia are some of the most complex dog bite laws in the nation. If you find yourself in a situation where you are taking legal action because of a dog bite, it is highly suggested that you consult with a legal professional who is knowledgeable in the area of dog bite liability.