When a dog bites you, it can cause lasting physical injuries, disfiguring wounds and psychological trauma. The cost to treat those damages can amount to thousands of dollars. You might expect to be able to take legal action against the animal’s owner, but your right to do so isn’t always guaranteed under Georgia state law.
Like many other states, Georgia requires that the victim prove the dog was dangerous to seek compensation under personal injury statutes. Making sense of this rule can help you decide your next step when a dog bites you or your child and creates thousands of dollars in medical bills.
What shows that an animal is dangerous?
Prior behavior of the animal and its actions during the attack can help you establish whether it was a dangerous animal or not. A dog acting to defend itself or its owner against provocation or a perceived threat is likely not inherently dangerous to the members of the public.
However, a dog that attacks someone without provocation and causes severe injury may be a very dangerous animal. If the dog has previously attacked another person without justification or killed other domestic animals, you will have reason to claim that the owner knew it was dangerous. Similarly, if the dog was particularly vicious and aggressive during the attack, as opposed to only inflicting a single bite wound, you may have grounds to claim that the animal was dangerous.
Statements made by the animal’s owner and even warning signs on the property could potentially help you build a claim against the animal’s owner.
Homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance could help
In a situation where you don’t believe the dog bite meets the Georgia state standard for a civil lawsuit, you may still be able to file an insurance claim. Provided that the animal’s owner has a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, you can potentially ask for reimbursement for medical expenses and property damage losses that the dog caused.
Both preparing for court and negotiation settlement can be difficult to manage while also recovering from a traumatic attack or caring for a wounded family member. Getting the right support can make all the difference for those coping with a recent dog bite attack in Georgia.