In many households across America, dogs are considered beloved family members. While most dogs are friendly towards people and other pets they are familiar with, even the nicest canine companion still has the potential to cause serious harm if it feels threatened. If a dog with a history of viciousness injures you through a bite or other attack, you may have grounds to sue that dog’s owner and pursue damages for your avoidable harm.
Receiving compensation for a dog attack is not as simple as just identifying the dog and its careless owner. Even though the liable party may seem obvious to you, there is still a legal process that much be followed to determine negligence in court. A Kennesaw dog bite lawyer could guide you through your lawsuit and help you recover the damages you deserve. Contact the Gunn Law Group today to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney about your unique case.
When it comes to civil litigation over dog bite injuries, local courts follow a modified version of the “one-bite rule” that many other states enforce. This rule cuts dog owners some slack in terms of civil liability for injuries if they had no prior knowledge that their dog was aggressive enough to potentially hurt another person, pet, or livestock animal.
However, according to the Official Code of Georgia §51-2-7, any dog owner who is aware—or reasonably should know— that their dog has aggressive tendencies could be held civilly liable for any injuries resulting from their failure to keep the dog restrained. Alternatively, anyone injured by a dog that was not leashed, muzzled, or otherwise controlled by its owner in accordance with local ordinances may have grounds for civil litigation even if the dog in question was not known to be vicious.
It is important to note that a dog does not necessarily have to have bitten someone in the past to be considered vicious, nor does a single bite incident out of context necessarily label it vicious for the purposes of a civil claim. A Kennesaw dog bite attorney could explain these laws in more detail during a free initial consultation.
Regardless of how liability is established, any person found culpable for injuries their dog causes by biting them may be held responsible for all economic and non-economic losses sustained by the injured party. These damages may include medical bills, lost work income, physical pain, psychological trauma, and long-term consequences of permanent disfigurement or disability. Vet bills for harm sustained from the injured party’s own pet during a vicious dog’s attack cannot be incorporated directly into their personal injury claim. However, such damages may still be recoverable through a separate claim filed in small claims court.
No matter how severe the repercussions of a dog bite are, almost all prospective plaintiffs have two years maximum under O.C.G.A. §9-3-33 to begin the litigation process. Guidance from a seasoned dog attack attorney in Kennesaw could prove vital in building a strong claim within the strict legal time limit.
Dogs that have vicious tendencies must be controlled by their owners. Even if their pet does not have a history of aggression, an owner that fails to control their canine per local ordinances may be held legally responsible for damages that their dog causes. Fortunately, state law often allows people injured by vicious and/or unattended dogs to obtain civil restitution for their injuries and losses from that dog’s careless or reckless owner.