If you or a loved one has suffered an after a dog attack, you may be able to file a lawsuit. The Atlanta dog bite attorneys at Cruz & Associates can help. Georgia is a one of the states with the highest number of fatalities from pit bull attacks. Though these attacks do not always lead to fatalities and they do not only occur with pit bulls, dog bites are a serious issue that can cause debilitating damages.

Liability for Dog Bites in Georgia

The most foundational aspect of any personal injury case is who was liable after an injury. In situations with dog bites, it can be more difficult to determine fault because the owner was not the one who committed the wrongdoing. To win a dog bite lawsuit in Georgia, you must prove the animal was dangerous, the owner’s careless behavior caused your injury, and that you did not provoke the attack.

Proving Negligence in a Dog Attack

Proving negligence is the most basic way to prove liability after an injury from a dog bite. If you own a dog, the law requires that you take reasonable care to make sure your dog does not injure another person. There are strict laws in Georgia regarding dog bites and attacks, and dog owners should know these regulations.

Georgia’s “One-Bite” Rule

Georgia is one of the states that follow the one-bite rule regarding dog bites. The one-bite rule means that dog owners are responsible if they knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous. The idea being that if a dog bites someone in the past – even once – he or she should have known that the dog was dangerous.

There are many ways to prove dog owners know or should know their dog was dangerous. One of the most obvious ways is if the dog has a history of biting. If the dog has attacked before, the owner should be aware that it could happen again. It is different if the dog has attacked another dog, however. The court usually sees interactions between dogs differently than between dogs and humans.

Even if the dog has not actually bitten a person before, any aggressive behavior could count as a warning of the dog’s dangerous nature. These signs could include

  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Snarling at people who have not provoked the animal

A playful dog that jumps on houseguests is unlikely to be a danger. However, if the dog has knocked someone over by jumping, the owner should be aware that the animal could injure someone in the future, even if not on purpose.

Warnings from other people can count as making the owner aware of dangerous behavior in certain situations. If a neighbor, for example, has explicitly expressed to the owner that the dog has attacked someone or was close to attacking someone, then the owner is responsible for knowing the dog is dangerous.

Georgia Leash Laws Regarding Bites

States have varying laws about the use of leashes in proving liability. In Georgia, even though the one-bite rule requires the owner have knowledge of the aggression, there is an exception. If you are in an area that requires leashes and your dog is roaming free when it attacks someone, the fact that you didn’t use a leash is enough to show you were being careless. Even if the dog has no history of being aggressive, if the owner didn’t use a leash in an area the law requires he or she should, then the owner may be responsible.

10 of the Most Dangerous Dog Breeds

While all types of dogs can become dangerous and harm, there are certain breeds which are more prone to attacks and aggressive behaviors. It’s important to note that not all dogs in these breeds are dangerous, the dangerous breeds include:

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Dobermann Pinscher
  • Wolf Hybrid
  • Bullmastiff
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Boxer
  • Great Dane

Contacting an Atlanta Dog Bite Attorney

If a dog has injured you or a loved one, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you determine who was liable and, if the dog’s owner was liable, help prove he or she was at fault.