Animal attacks are a frequent occurrence in Georgia. Nationally, over 4.7 million people are bitten each year by dogs and over 800,000 people seek medical attention, half of those being children. Many states have statutes which impose strict liability on dog owners (e.g., Arizona, California, & Colorado), which generally mean that owners are responsible for injuries that are caused by their dogs, regardless of whether an owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.
Liability in Georgia for dog bites generally requires proof that the dog was off its leash at the time of the bite, or evidence that: (1) the dog was vicious or dangerous, and (2) the owner knew, or should have, known about it. Both the dog’s viciousness and the owner’s knowledge need to be proven, and the investigation of these cases hedges on the ability of our team to develop evidence that supports the dog owner’s prior knowledge of vicious propensities. Our investigation attempts to discover the following evidence:
- Identification of where the dog was acquired and any training it had prior to the incident.
- Identification of the dog’s veterinarian. The veterinarian will produce (after a subpoena) the records of the dog. These records can be vitally important in showing prior knowledge. For example, a vet’s tech might note that the dog snapped while the owner was present.
- Identification of the dog owner’s neighbors. Once we are able to identify the dog owner’s neighbors, we can send a private investigator to canvass the neighborhood to see if the dog owner’s neighbors have had any prior incidents with the dog.
- Were the police, animal control, or the paramedics ever called to the dog owner’s house prior to the subject incident? Generally, we can obtain this information through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Many of the dog bites incurred each year can be prevented by learning or being taught some basic dog safety skills such as not running from a dog and avoiding direct eye contact with a dog. Those who do get bitten can suffer a variety of different injuries. Some of the more serious injuries include open fractures, infections including osteomyelitis, and nerve laceration. Medical expenses associated with dog or other animal attacks can be quite high, depending upon the nature of the injury. Ponton Law has experience in getting financial compensation for victims of animal attacks. This is especially important if the nature of the injury results in a lengthy healing process, often requiring surgery and/or physical therapy, and/or loss of income due to extended absence from work. If you or someone you know has been injured from a dog bit, contact an Atlanta, Georgia dog bite lawyer at Ponton Law today at 404-418-8507.