Owning a pet is fairly common in Georgia and other states. Whether it is a cat, dog, rabbit, bird or fish, owning a pet comes with many responsibilities. It means caring for it, keeping it safe and ensuring it is healthy. Beyond that, owning a pet means protecting others that come in contact with the pet. With regard to dog owners, dog bites are a major concern. And, when a dog bites someone, they can be held accountable for the harm suffered by the bite victim.

In order for a bite victim to hold a dog owner accountable, the situation that caused the bite as well as the laws in the state must be understood. In the state of Georgia, a dangerous dog is defined as one that causes substantial puncture wounds to a person’s skin with their teeth, aggressively attacks in such a way that it causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog poses an imminent threat of serious injury, or one that kills another pet when not on the property of its owner.

This same law further defines a vicious dog. This is one that inflicts serious injury to a person or causes serious harm when a person is attempting to escape from the dog’s attack. In Georgia, a dog owner is liable for the damages and injuries caused by their dog if they own or keep a vicious or dangerous dog and carelessly manage that dog, resulting in the dog injuring another without provocation. As such, a dog is not classified as dangerous or vicious if the injured party was trespassing, abusing the dog or attempting to commit a crime against a person.

The harm suffered following a dog bite can be extensive and life-altering. Therefore, it is important to understand what can be done to address the injuries, damages and losses suffered. A personal injury action could help a victim recover compensation and can be used to address medical bills, rehabilitation, ongoing medical care, lost wages and other losses.