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The number of dog bites is on the rise in the State of Georgia. Thankfully, the law makes provisions for people who have been bitten by a dog and injured while on the premises of another individual. 

According to Georgia State’s Premise Liability, an injured person can claim damages from the owner of a building on the grounds of negligent conduct during three circumstances: 

  • Slip and fall
  • Negligent security
  • Dog bites 

If an individual’s dog has viciously attacked you or your loved one, Georgia gives you the right to seek redressal from the court of law.

Who can seek damages under the Dog Bites Athens GA? 

Just as with other Georgian Premise Liability laws, only those people who were invited to the building by the dog owner and who were legally present on the property are eligible to seek redressal and claim damages for dog bites. Trespassers bitten by dogs are ineligible to make claims.

Eligibility criteria for dog bite claims 

If you’re thinking of exercising the rights accorded to you by the Dog Bites Athens GA law, you should establish proof of the following:

  • The dog has a history of aggression – According to Georgian law, dogs don’t need to have a history of bites for a claimant to be eligible for redressal. According to Dog Bites Athens GA law experts, an angry snap is as good as a missed bite.As the claimant, you will need to prove that the dog has always been violent and aggressive, exhibiting signs of attack multiple times. Any evidence to prove the animal is dangerous will help.

  • The owner was careless in his/her handling of the dog

Owner negligence refers to one of the following instances: 

  • The owner has not trained the dog to behave and has subsequently also failed to train the dog, despite the show of aggression.
  • The owner has, despite knowledge of the dog’s aggression, allowed the dog to be off-the-leash.
  • The owner has not intervened to stop the attack.
  • The owner has not informed the injured about the aggressive nature of the dog prior to the visit.

Any of these, if proved, can help the claimant seek damages from the dog’s owner.

  • The claimant had not provoked the dog – Finally, and the most important evidence the claimant needs to furnish to claim damages under the Dog Bites Athens GA law, is to prove that he did nothing to provoke the dog. Eyewitness evidence and even evidence from the dog owner himself can work here. Testimony from neighbors, who have experienced the aggression of the dog themselves, can also support this claim.

What to do in cases of wrongful penalization? 

Not all dogs are aggressive. Some dogs may only become violent and bite under uniquely stressful circumstances. The owner of the dog can seek to rebuff the claims made by the injured by providing evidence of: 

  • The dog’s natural even temperament.
  • Lack of history of bites.
  • Notice about the dog’s aggression to his guests/visitors.
  • Use of leash/enclosure for the dog during the visit.
  • Provocation by the claimant – teasing & abuse.

 Speak to an attorney specializing in Dog Bites Athens GA law for more information.