Whether it is the President of the United States, a family, or a man and his dog in the countryside, the companionship between a dog and its owner is a part of our society. The wide majority of dogs are well-trained family pets, but not every dog is trained right. The American Humane Association (AHA) estimates that 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and nearly 800,000 of those dog bits require medical attention.
It is paramount to have an attorney who understands the specifics of Georgia law on the topic of dog bites. Georgia is a “one bite state.” The Georgia Court of Appeals, in Clark v. Joiner, held “dog owners are liable for their animal’s behavior only if an owner knows that a dog has the ‘propensity to do the particular act, such as biting, which caused injury to the complaining party.” Clark v. Joiner, 242 Ga. App. 421 (2000).
O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 provides two ways that an animal owner may be found liable for injuries inflicted by his animal:
- The victim must prove that the animal was dangerous or vicious, that the defendant had the requisite degree of knowledge, and that the defendant either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty.
- The plaintiff must prove that the animal was not at heel or on a leash as required by a local ordinance and that the defendant either carelessly managed the animal or allowed it to go at liberty.
At Coleman, Chambers & Rogers, LLP, our attorneys have a vast working knowledge of dog bite cases. We will work to make sure that the owner of the dog and his or her insurer are held accountable. The AHA states that the insurance industry pays more than $1 billion dollars ($1,000,000,000.00) in dog bite claims each year.