Victims who file a dog bite claim must establish dog attack liability, which generally falls with the dog's owner. By filing a dog bite injury claim with an Atlanta dog bite attorney, victims may be able to recover compensation from the liable party for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When an Owner May Hold Dog Attack Liability
The most common liable party in a dog bite claim is the owner of the dog. The owner may be liable for the attack if the dog is considered 'dangerous' or 'vicious,' according to Georgia Code §51-2-7. But how does a dog become classified as such?
Per Georgia Code §4-8-21, a 'dangerous dog' is one that substantially punctures a person's skin without serious injury, attacks in a manner that the person being attacked believes serious injury is imminent but does not suffer injury, or kills a pet animal while off the owner's property. A 'vicious dog' is one that inflicts serious injury. A dog control officer may classify a dog as 'dangerous' or 'vicious.’
Further, three counties in Georgia -- Floyd, La Grange, and Lawrenceville -- have laws against pit bulls, including restricting them, declaring them "vicious," or outright banning ownership. These laws may be considered in a dog bite claim.
Additionally, when proving dog attack liability, it may also be sufficient to demonstrate that the owner was in violation of a local leash law and that the dog was loose at the time of attack. A report from an animal control officer or police officer may provide details of the attack that an Atlanta dog bite attorney may use to demonstrate liability. Witnesses may also be used to prove a dog was off of a leash.
There are a few exceptions regarding owner liability for their dog's attack, such as if the dog was defending its property or if the injured person provoked the dog to attack.
Other Parties That May Be Held Liable in a Dog Bite Claim
While the owner is most likely the liable party, there are also other parties that could be held liable. Manufacturers of dog restraint devices such as leashes, leads and harnesses could be potential liable parties if the devices were defective and allowed the dog to break free and attack. The product itself may be used as evidence by an Atlanta dog bite attorney when demonstrating dog attack liability.
Further, a property owner or landlord may become liable if the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous and was being kept on the property. Also, if another person such as a pet sitter was charged with watching the dog and failed to take reasonable precaution to prevent an attack, he or she might also be held liable. If a dog escapes from a kennel or shelter and is allowed to attack, the kennel owner may be held liable.
Basically, the person or party responsible for keeping the dog restrained may hold dog attack liability in a dog bite claim. Circumstances may differ from case to case, and it may be helpful to seek legal consultation with an Atlanta dog bite attorney to sort out the details of the dog bite claim to determine who may be liable.
Atlanta Dog Bite Attorney Jason Schultz Can Help
An Atlanta dog bite attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., can help victims of a dog bite or attack seek justice for their damages through a dog bite claim. Contact our office today at 404-474-0804 to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation regarding your legal options and for help determining and proving dog attack liability.