Walking You Through Complex Claims After A Dog Bite
Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, but they are still animals and their behavior can be unpredictable. When a dog gets scared, excited or territorial, it can bite or attack, causing serious injuries.
If you or your child has been bitten or harmed by a dog in Columbus, southwest Georgia or eastern Alabama, you should speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer right away. Because Georgia’s dog bite statutes are complex, you will need experienced legal counsel to help you explore your options and recover the compensation you are entitled to by law.
Have questions regarding Georgia dog bite laws? Get in touch with me, attorney Mark Casto, at The Mark Casto Law Firm, PC, today. I have litigated dog bite cases for more than 25 years and can help you and your family recover from this deeply traumatic incident.
Understanding Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute
Georgia is a “negligence” state when it comes to dog bite laws. This means you will have to show the dog owner’s carelessness is responsible for your injuries. One way you can do this is by proving the dog owner should have known about their dog’s dangerous or aggressive tendencies.
For example, a person who is walking a dog off leash should know their animal might be difficult to control. If the area where the person was walking their dog had leash laws, these laws could help establish the owner’s knowledge and carelessness.
Similarly, anyone whose dog has bitten someone or behaved aggressively before must take extra care in preventing similar behavior in the future. If the dog that bit you or your child has a bad reputation or history of dangerous behavior, you can use this to prove the owner’s negligence.
Using decades of experience and proven strategies like the one outlined above, I can help you win your case.
Proving A Dog Bite Claim
When proving a dog bite claim, we help you show the following:
- The dog or animal was dangerous or vicious.
- The owner of the dog was careless and allowed the attack to happen.
- The dog or animal was attacked without provocation.
- You were legally allowed to be in the place when the attack occurred.
Every situation, of course, will be different. I am familiar with local laws, including leash laws, and take the time to truly get to know you and your case. If you are someone who once loved dogs and now fears them, for instance, I can help you recover compensation for your trauma.
You might choose to use the money for therapy or to begin a new life as a cat person. Once you have the resources you need, you can begin to recover in the way you see fit.
Whatever your goals are, you can rest assured that I am dedicated to helping you achieve them.
Georgia And The ‘One-Bite Rule’
You might have heard about the “one-bite rule.” This is a common-law rule which states that a dog owner is liable when their dog injures someone if the owner knew (or reasonably should have known) that their dog is vicious. A dog is only considered “vicious” under the one-bite rule if they have bitten somebody prior to the latest incident.
Georgia law uses a modified version of this rule. Just like with the traditional rule, a dog owner is liable for injuries their dog causes a person if the owner knew or should have known that the dog is vicious. The difference is that Georgia provides two more ways of proving that a dog is vicious.
Along with proof of a previous bite, a dog can be considered vicious if the attack was unprovoked or the owner’s careless actions led to the attack. For example, an owner could be liable if they let their dog wander around without a leash or failed to put up sufficient fencing in their yard. Or the dog could be proven vicious due to a history of aggressive behavior like frequent growling and charging or lunging at people.
The Georgia version of the one-bite rule can make it easier for victims to make a claim because they don’t have to prove the dog that attacked them has done it to somebody else before. I know how to build a compelling case that the dog owner was negligent or the dog was vicious so you are entitled to compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites In Columbus
Dog bites can cause a lot of confusion, especially if the dog that bit you was the pet of a friend or family member. Below are a few common questions I receive to help clear up some confusion:
What steps should you take after a dog bite?
- First, it’s important to get immediate medical attention to guard against any diseases or infections.
- Then, verify the dog’s medical records with their vet and report the dog bite.
- Next, preserve evidence and contact a lawyer who can help you navigate this case.
- You will also want to speak to the dog’s owner, especially if the dog bite happened to your child.
What leash laws should dog owners abide by?
Leash laws often vary by county, but in general, dogs must be leashed in public areas, such as parks and trails. If you are unsure whether to leash your dog or if the dog that bit you should have been leashed, check your local ordinances.
How should you safely approach a dog?
While a dog bite cannot always be prevented, there are a few ways to reduce the chances of a dog becoming aggressive when interacting with it. Before approaching the dog, ask the owner’s permission. Then, allow the dog to approach you, first. Hold your hand out in a fist, so the dog can sniff you and get to know you. Go slowly, and try to make movements calm and steady when interacting with a strange dog. Avoid making direct eye contact with the dog, as this can be seen as aggressive. Do not approach a strange dog from directly overhead or behind, as this can startle a dog.
It’s also important to teach young children safe ways to approach and interact with dogs.
Interacting with a dog you don’t know, and even a dog you do know, can be different each time. And unfortunately, in some cases, even if you are doing everything right, an interaction with a dog can still end with a bite. If this occurs, I can help you through the next steps of the process of filing a claim and dealing with the aftermath.
Put Over 25 Years Of Personal Injury Experience On Your Side After A Bite
At The Mark Casto Law Firm, PC, I offer all clients a free, no-obligation consultation to help them get started. When you meet with me, I can thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case and provide honest, straightforward advice to help you pursue your dog bite claim.
While you will make all the important decisions regarding your case, I will make sure you have personalized support throughout. Whether you choose to take my advice or not, I am on your side every step of the way and offer compassion and knowledge to you whenever you need it.