A dog owner’s liability for injuries caused by a dog bite sometimes can be challenging to prove. There generally are two circumstances under which this can happen. Both will require ample evidence to support a claim of negligence.
Proving Dog Owner Liability When Someone Has Sustained Bite Injuries
The first way of proving liability requires that:
- the dog was considered vicious or dangerous; and
- the dog was allowed to roam free due to the owner’s negligence.
A dog may be considered dangerous when it has (without provocation) inflicted severe injury on a person or it has aggressively attacked/bitten (without provocation) someone. If the dog bit an individual (again, without provocation), then it may be considered potentially dangerous. Not properly managing the dog could mean allowing it to walk without a leash or not fencing a dog on his/her property.
The second way of proving liability requires that:
- the dog was not on a leash or at heel when a local ordinance requires it; and
- the owner carelessly allowed the dog to roam free or failed to manage it.
It would be important to acquire a copy of any local ordinances that require dogs be leashed. Again, there would need to be evidence that the dog wasn’t managed properly or that it wasn’t contained. It’s important to note that in proving liability based on these factors, it isn’t necessary to establish the owner’s knowledge of a vicious or dangerous dog.
In addition to proving a dog owner’s liability, victims will need to establish the physical and/or psychological harm suffered. This could lead to different types of compensation that may be available in a dog bite claim.
Jason Schultz is an attorney in Peachtree City, Ga., who can help victims of dog bites pursue compensation for their damages. Contact us at (404) 474-0804.