The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog each year. Of this 4.5 million people being bitten, not every case involves a trip to the doctor or any medical attention. For 800,000 people, though, the dog bite can be serious enough that it causes a devastating injury and/or requires medical attention. Generally, the owners of a dog are responsible for biting another person. If you have been bitten by a dog, here are some things that you need to keep in mind in order to collect compensation for your injury.
As stated above, the owner of the dog who bites a person can be held liable for the damages caused by the dog. Georgia statute states that “a person who keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind who….causes injury to another person” may be liable for the damages of the individual injured. The statute also states, however, that the person who was bitten by the dog cannot have provoked the injury.
You might be wondering if every dog is considered “vicious.” Under the statute, to prove that an animal is vicious, it can be sufficient to show that the dog was supposed to be on a leash under an ordinance or law, or that the dog was required to be at heel.
In addition to proving that a dog was vicious and that the injured person did not cause his or her own injury, it must also be proven that the owner was negligent. The owner needs to have known that the dog was vicious or dangerous. Previously, this was an almost impossible standard to meet in Georgia. The “one bite rule” required that the injured person prove that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous. One way to do this was to prove that there was evidence that the dog had previously bit someone or exhibited dangerous behavior. However, a Georgia Supreme Court case examined the “one bite rule” and seemingly relaxed the “one bite rule” standards.
Depending on the severity of the bite, medical bills can become exceedingly expensive. A personal injury suit against the owner of the dog could result in compensation for your injury. This compensation includes compensation for medical expenses that relate to the dog bite injury.
Deadlines to Follow
A person cannot bring a personal injury suit based on a dog bite at any time. The cause of action must be brought within two years of the dog bite. This statute of limitations exists to encourage people to seek justice following their injuries as soon as possible and not wait to pursue legal action. If a case is filed outside of the two-year statute of limitations, it is almost certain to be thrown out by the court.
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, you have options. The dog bite attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can help you explore those options. Our experienced attorneys will explain the legal remedies available to you and help you determine whether to bring a personal injury suit. Contact us today for a consultation.