Dogs may be “man’s best friend,” but in the end, they are animals who are capable of biting people in Georgia and elsewhere. Dog bite injuries can be very painful and can cause scars and disfigurement. Therefore, it is important to have a general understanding what a dog owner’s responsibilities are when it comes to dog bites.
In general, dog owners can be held liable for dog bites under two theories: strict liability or negligence. With strict liability, the dog bite victim can pursue compensation without having to prove the dog owner directly at fault for the injuries their animal inflicted on the victim. Some states have strict liability laws like these on the books. Keep in mind that if the person the dog bit had provoked the animal prior to the bite or was trespassing, this may mean the injured person may not be able to recover damages under the theory of strict liability.
In the absence of strict liability laws, recovery may be possible if the dog owner knew or should have known that the animal had the propensity to be vicious. There are a number of ways to show a dog had the propensity to be vicious. One is if complaints had been made about the animal before or that the owner knew about it but did nothing. Muzzling or confining the dog could also show that the dog owner knew that his or her animal could be vicious.
In the end, this is only a general overview of dog bite issues. Ultimately, those who want to pursue a lawsuit following a dog bite will want to seek professional legal guidance before doing so. This way, the dog bite victim can make informed decisions with regards to seeking compensation for the damages he or she suffered.