Q: If the dog only clawed at me and did not bite, can I still file an injury claim?
If a dog injures you, whether by biting your or clawing at you, you may have grounds for a legal claim if you can meet the requirements in Georgia's dog bite laws. However, the one-bite rule can make it difficult to establish owner liability in some cases.
Establishing Liability for a Dog Injury in Georgia
A victim must prove that the dog was dangerous and the owner had knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite and cause injury. Another way that it might be possible to show liability is by establishing that the owner violated a local leash law by allowing the dog to be off the leash at the time of the incident.
Because of these limitations, someone who is injured by a dog can face an uphill battle in holding an owner liable. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If it can be demonstrated the dog had previously acted in an aggressive or vicious manner and the dog owner was negligent in managing the dog, the victim may successfully recover damages in an injury claim.
Examples of vicious behavior that an owner should have managed include:
- baring its fangs;
- snapping; or
- walking menacingly toward a person while barking.
These types of behavior could be considered vicious enough that an owner should have known there was the potential for the dog to eventually bite someone.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice When Injured by a Dog
Although bites are the most common injuries when it comes to an encounter with a dog, a person could sustain damage from being clawed.
If there was serious physical harm—such as it caused a significant amount of skin to tear or it led to the person developing a life-threatening infection—it would be critical to seek help from an attorney as soon as possible to begin an injury claim.
Despite the many challenges that can be faced in this type of case, it doesn’t necessarily mean an Atlanta victim has no legal options. Call Jason R. Schultz at 404-474-0804 to set up a consultation about your claim.