Who you can sue for your dog bite injury in Georgia depends on who owns and is responsible for the dog. In most cases, the liable party will be the dog’s legal owner. In rare cases, your dog bite lawyer may be able to identify a second liable party who also owes you damages.
Dog Owners Are Responsible for Preventing Dog Bites
O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 states that the owner of a vicious dog must take reasonable precautions to protect others from harm. This includes keeping the dog properly leashed or penned in at all times. The owner could be held liable for an attack if:
- They purposely let the dog run free
- They did not keep the dog in a secure enough area, and the dog was able to escape
- They had reason to know that their dog was dangerous but took no precautions
The only time a vicious dog’s owner is not responsible for an attack is when someone provokes the animal. For instance, if you wave a stick at the dog in a deliberate attempt to tease or upset them, the dog owner cannot be held liable if the dog responds by attacking you.
Other Potential Responsible Parties
While most dog bite cases involve only the bite victim and the dog’s owner, there are some rare circumstances where another party could be held liable. For example:
- If the dog was staying with someone other than the owner, that person or company could be liable.
- If the owner’s landlord knew about the presence of a vicious dog or was in any way responsible for the dog, the landlord could be liable.
- If the owner built an enclosure for the dog and did not realize the materials they used were defective, and if this defect allowed the dog to escape the enclosure, the product manufacturer could be liable.
How can you tell if such factors will affect your case? It would be very difficult to do so on your own. A dog bite attorney from our firm can investigate on your behalf and give you a clearer picture of how the attack happened.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
How to Sue a Dog Owner
The process for suing a dog owner follows the same rules as most other personal injury cases in the state of Georgia. For example, you must begin your case within two years of the attack, according to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Cases filed after this date will be declared invalid, and you will not be able to proceed with your lawsuit.
To begin such a case, you can seek advice from a Bader Scott personal injury attorney who has experience with dog bite lawsuits. Our firm will listen to your story and tell you if you have a legally viable case at no charge. If you do, we can help you by:
- Investigating the circumstances that led up to the dog bite
- Collecting evidence that shows the dog owner knew or should have known their dog was vicious but did not take adequate steps to protect others
- Cataloging every loss for which you can seek compensation, including medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering
- Presenting this evidence to the dog owner’s insurance company and using it to negotiate a fair settlement for you
- Taking the dog owner or another liable party to court and arguing in the courtroom on your behalf
The process of filing a lawsuit may take months or even years, depending on how complex the case is and how uncooperative the dog owner chooses to be. This is why hiring a lawyer as soon as you can is a good idea. An attorney can:
- Tell you what to expect throughout the process
- Answer any questions you have about your rights or how the dog owner’s actions will affect your case
- Explain each of your options and help you decide which is right for you
- Handle difficult tasks, like speaking directly to the dog owner, so you do not have to worry about them
How to Prepare to Sue
Even before you file a lawsuit or hire a lawyer, there are steps you can take to make it easier to sue after a dog bite. For example:
- Get the dog owner’s contact information, if you have any interactions with them before leaving the place where the bite happened
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible
- Take photos of the injury, the dog, the place where the dog was supposed to be restrained, and anything else of relevance
- Do not accept any settlement offers without speaking to an attorney
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We Take Georgia Dog Bite Cases
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers wants to help you figure out who you can sue for your dog bite injury. We are proud to serve clients in the state of Georgia and are eager to learn about your case. Call us at any time to get a free case evaluation that will inform you of your rights and what services we offer.