If someone else’s dog injured you, you might be facing medical bills, lost time at work, and pain and suffering. You might be wondering what steps you can take to recover your damages and move forward with your life. There are several laws affecting dog bite injury claims, so make sure you have a dog bite attorney in Gwinnett County like David Brauns to represent your rights properly.
With more than 70 million dogs in the U.S., it is inevitable that there will be dog bites. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs bite at least 4.5 million people annually, with 20 percent of them requiring medical attention. Reconstructive surgery is required for 27,000 of those bitten, and in 2013, there were 31 reported deaths associated with dog bite incidents. A dog bite can be painful, and filing a personal injury claim can add to that burden.
But Brauns Law can ease that burden by providing legal representation from the start of the claim until it settles or resolves in court so you get the compensation you deserve.
How do I know if I have a viable claim?
David Brauns will review every aspect of your case to determine if you have a viable claim, and can then help you collect the right evidence to prove it.
Georgia statute O.C.G.A. 51-2-7 governs how dog bite or other animal injury cases are handled. It states that the injured party must prove the animal owner’s liability for the injury. To do so, the injured party must show either of the following points are true.
- The animal is dangerous or vicious, and the owner knew the dog was dangerous or vicious. Further, the victim must prove that the dog owner did not properly manage the dog or allowed it to run at large.
- The dog was not on a leash as required by local law, and the owner did not properly manage the dog or allowed it to run at large. Under these grounds for liability, the owner does not have to know that the dog is dangerous or vicious.
The burden of proof is on the injured person to prove that the animal owner is liable. This means your case must include proof that the animal owner acted negligently or carelessly, contributing to the dog bite injury.
All claims involving dog bites are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. If the dog bite incident occurred more than two years prior to the date of filing, the courts will not hear the case.
What types of defenses should I expect in a dog bite claim?
An owner can claim lack of liability because he did not have knowledge of the vicious nature of his animal or could argue he did not exhibit lack of care or any wrongdoing in the incident. Some possible defenses you should prepare for in a dog bite claim include the following.
- Lack of knowledge: If the owner had no reason to expect his dog would bite a human (no previous incidents), he can use the defense that his lack of knowledge precludes his responsibility. Georgia has a “One-Bite Rule” which states that a dog owner can be exempt from liability if he did not know his dog was vicious before a bite. After the first bite or if the dog shows any propensity towards viciousness, the dog owner cannot claim lack of knowledge.
- No evidence of negligence: If the dog was properly restrained or in an area where leashes are not required, it may be difficult to prove lack of care. You need to be able to prove that the owner did not have proper control over his animal or that he let the dog “go at liberty.”
- Provocation: Georgia law states that if the injured party teased or abused the dog, then the owner may not be responsible for the bite. We will work with you to present evidence that proves this was not the case.
It is important to discuss the details of the incident with your attorney so you can prepare for defenses that might arise.
How can I get help?
David Brauns and the Brains Law team understand your concerns and fears and are ready to offer compassionate legal services to help you get results. For a free consultation, contact us at 404-418-8244.