If you have suffered a dog bite, it is important to understand how Georgia dog bite laws can protect you. Owners of dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs – and their insurance companies – may be required to pay dog bite victims for damages and injuries if they are found guilty of violating local and state laws.
According to Georgia law, dog owners may be required to pay damages to victims of a dog bite if they knew or should have known their dog had a tendency to bite people and cause injuries.
Most importantly, the statute of limitations for taking a dog bite case to court in Georgia is two years.
Key Elements of Georgia Dog Bite Law
Georgia law defines a dangerous dog as an animal that causes injury to a person without provocation. In addition to dog bites, the statute also covers injuries caused by other animals. Severe injuries from a dog bite can include broken bones, death, and gashes that require stitches or cosmetic surgery to repair. In order to prove the animal’s owner is liable under the statute, the injured person must show that:
- The animal is vicious or dangerous;
- The owner was careless with the animal or let it “go at liberty”, which caused the injury;
- The injured person did not provoke the animal
If an owner knows their dog is potentially dangerous and the dog is labeled potentially dangerous, the owner is liable for injuries. Dog owners must adhere to certain guidelines to control their dogs and protect innocent bystanders from a dog bite. Dangerous dogs or potentially dangerous dogs have to be registered in the state of Georgia.
- Dangerous dogs or potentially dangerous dogs must be registered in the State of Georgia.
- While inside and outside, dangerous dogs or potentially dangerous dogs must be securely restrained.
- While outside, the dog must be placed in an area enclosed by a fence or other structure, to prevent the animal from escaping and prevent people from entering the area.
- While outside, a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog, not in an enclosed area, must be muzzled, leashed, or chained, and physically restrained by a person.
- Owners of potentially dangerous dogs or dangerous dogs must place signs on their property warning people that a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog is there.
- Owners of dangerous dogs or potentially dangerous dogs must have at least $15,000 worth of liability insurance for personal injuries caused by a dog. In lieu of liability insurance, a dog owner could obtain a surety bond worth at least $15,000 to pay a dog bite victim.
Dog owners must strictly adhere to leash laws in Georgia. If you are walking in an area with a leash law in effect and receive a dog bite by an unleashed dog, that fact alone is enough to prove the dog was “vicious”, even if the owner had no reason to believe so otherwise.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite, immediately report the incident. Call the police or local animal control agency in your area. In addition, contact an experienced dog bite attorney who understands Georgia dog bite laws. Tom Monk, can help you understand the laws of the state and help you win damages caused by a vicious dog. Call the Monk Law Firm for a free consultation. Our Atlanta personal injury law firm is here to help.