Like many other states in the nation, Georgia uses the “one bite rule” (also referred to as the “first bite rule”) to determine civil liability for dog bites. Under this rule, the owner or other possessor of a dog can be held liable for damages caused by the animal if that person has reason to know that the animal has a propensity to cause harm because it had previously bitten another person.
It can be incredibly difficult for a person to prove that a dog owner had this knowledge. Any person who suffered serious injuries because of a dog bite in Georgia will want to contact the Nye Law Group before speaking to any dog owner or his or her insurance company.
Dog Bite Laws in Georgia
When Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 685—otherwise known the Responsible Dog Ownership Law—in 2012, it created Georgia Code § 4-8-21. That statute defines a “vicious dog” as a dog that inflicts serious injury on a person, and any vicious dog responsible for a second bite must be euthanized.
The same statute also defines a dangerous dog as any dog substantially puncturing a person’s skin by teeth without causing serious injury, aggressively attacks in a manner that causes the reasonable belief that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury even though no such injury occurred, or kills a pet animal while off the owner’s property.
Owners of dangerous dogs must apply annually for certificates of registration, build secure enclosures, and post warning signs at all entrances on their property. Such owners also need to maintain a minimum of $50,000 in liability insurance and microchip their dogs.
Damages for Dog Bites in Georgia
People bitten by dogs are often extremely confused about what to do after the attacks. In many cases, the dog owners are the friends or family members of victims. As a result, victims immediately fear the possible financial consequences for people close to them—as well as the possible ramifications for the animal involved.
In most cases, dog bites are covered by a dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy. Victims in such cases can be entitled to a number of different kinds of damages, including:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Rehabilitation expenses;
- Pain and suffering; and
Any person who has been bitten by a dog in Georgia should avoid speaking to the negligent party’s insurance company until he or she has legal representation. Agents for insurers may express concern and a willingness to help victims, but they usually are attempting to get victims to make damaging recorded statements that are later used to reduce payouts.
Find a Dog Bite Attorney in Georgia
Did you or your loved one sustain severe injuries because of a dog attack in Georgia? You will want to contact the Nye Law Group.
Our firm has office locations in Savannah and Hinesville, and our Georgia personal injury lawyers work tirelessly to help people obtain all of the compensation they need and deserve. Call 855-636-9277 or contact us online today to have us review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, no obligation consultation.