When you are bitten by a dog, it is certainly painful, frightening, and frustrating. Especially when they are injured by the bite, many people decide to sue the dog owner for their injuries. But should you? Specific dog bite laws vary from state to state, but this is what you should know about Georgia’s dog bite laws. Once you have a basic understanding, your personal injury attorney can help you sort out the rest.

How do I know if I have a dog bite case?
To hold a dog owner liable for your injury in Georgia, you need to prove several key factors. Under Georgia’s bite statute, plaintiffs must prove that:

  • The owner acted carelessly in handling the animal or let it “go at liberty.”
  • The animal is dangerous or vicious.
  • You, as the injured party, did not provoke the animal.

In addition to proving these factors, you must prove that the dog owner was acting with negligence. Keep in mind that even common words like “negligence” often have a different, specific meaning in legalese. According to Georgia law, negligence means that the owner knew that the animal was dangerous and did not take reasonable care to restrain the animal and prevent injury. For example, if a dog runs out of someone’s yard or charges you at a public park while not on a leash, it’s possible that the owner acted with negligence. Likewise, if the owner knew his or her animal had a history of violence or biting, and yet they still let the animal “go at liberty,” you may be able to move forward with a civil lawsuit.

How do I know if it’s worth it to sue?
First, it’s important to consider whether your situation falls within Georgia’s statute of limitations. For animal bites, your case will be thrown out if it is filed after the two-year statute. Your personal injury attorney will go into more detail concerning this decision, but it’s also important to know if your injury compensation will be worth the time and energy involved in filing personal injury lawsuits. For smaller injuries, such a small cut on your leg, it might not be worth it to take legal action.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 39.4 million ER visits for injuries every year. ER visits caused by dog bites can be severe and expensive, so it might be best to seek a settlement.

By scheduling a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, you can determine whether you have a personal injury case for your dog bite. If you do, be sure to communicate closely with the attorney. They are there to secure the compensation you deserve and ensure your rights are protected. Stay diligent and ask questions along the way to ensure that all of your needs are met.