Generally, dog owners are financially responsible for damages should their dog harm another person. However, if a dog bites someone while in the care of a dog sitter, the sitter can be liable. However, to prove liability for the bite, you must show that the dog sitter acted negligently.
Georgia’s Dog Bite Laws
States follow one of three models when it comes to dog bite liability:
- Strict liability – In some states, a dog’s owner is financially responsible for a bite injury, regardless of whether or not they acted irresponsibly.
- “One bite” rule: – States that adhere to one bite rules hold owners liable if they knew or should have known their dog was dangerous.
- Negligence – Under this model, dog owners are liable for injuries only if they acted carelessly or recklessly in the management of their animal.
According to O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, “A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured.”
In other words, an owner or sitter can bear financial responsibility. Also, in proving an animal’s vicious propensity, it is enough to show the animal was not “at heel” or on a leash as per local ordinances.
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How Can You Get Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injury?
You can seek compensation for medical bills and other losses associated with your dog bite through an insurance claim. Many homeowners and renters insurance policies cover dog bites. Usually, coverage applies even if the bite injury did not occur on the insured property.
Depending on your injury and the terms of the policy, the dog owner’s insurance may cover a bite that happened while the dog was in the care of a dog sitter. Additionally, if the sitter works for a professional agency, they may have coverage under a policy provided by their employer.
However, if insurance is not available or the owner or keeper’s policy limit does not satisfy your dog bite damages, you may need to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer with our firm can help you explore your options.
What Awards Can You Seek?
You can seek economic and non-economic losses stemming from your dog bite injury, including:
- Medical treatment bills – You can recover the cost of emergency room care, doctor visits, medications, stitches, and other necessary medical services.
- Lost wages – If your injury, treatment, or recovery period cause you to miss work, you can pursue your lost income, benefits, bonuses, tips, or other earnings. If the bite caused a disabling injury, you may qualify for compensation for the loss of your future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering – You can seek awards for the negative effect of your dog bite injuries on your physical, mental, and emotional health. You may receive compensation for physical pain, stress, trauma, fear, anxiety, scarring, disfigurement, and more.
- Wrongful death damages: Tragically, dog bite victims may lose their lives due to their injuries or infections. In that case, you could collect compensation for their final medical care costs and funeral and burial expenses.
How Long Do You Have to Take Action?
You should file your insurance claim as soon as you are able. If you need to take legal action to recover awards, you must pursue your lawsuit within the time limit set by the statute of limitations. According to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, you usually have two years to file a personal injury case.
Are Dog Bites Serious?
Dog bite injuries can lead to severe medical issues. Some bites require stitches, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, about half of dog bites introduce bacteria that can result in serious illness. Dogs who have not received the proper shots may also carry rabies.
Sadly, dog bite injuries can sometimes be fatal, especially if the bite leads to infection, severe bleeding, or the victim is a young child.
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How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help With Your Dog Bite Case?
A dog bite attorneywith our firm can take care of your claim or lawsuit from start to finish. Our team can:
- File your paperwork
- Track and adhere to deadlines
- Respond to emails and phone calls on your behalf
- Collect evidence proving the dog’s owner or sitter behaved negligently
- Fight for the best possible financial outcome during negotiations
- Represent you during a trial if necessary
Reach Out to Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help with Your Dog Bite Case
To learn more about dog bite liability and how we can help you seek compensation for your injury, contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.