As previous posts here have noted, dog ownership comes with many responsibilities. However, even when a dog owner is not aware of any dangerous propensities of their pet, it may be possible to hold them liable for a dog bite. When an individual suffers harm due to a dog bite, that individual may be able to seek legal recourses through a civil action. However, in order to obtain a monetary award, the victim needs to consider what legal theory of liability will apply in the matter.
There are several nuances when it comes to applying dog bite laws, and the success of a victim’s legal action is often dependent on the legal theory they apply to the matter. What legal theories apply to a dog bite case? Typically, this can be broken down into two categories, which includes “strict liability” and “negligence.” With regards to strict liability, a victim can seek compensation without having to prove fault. There are two types of cases in which strict liability applies. The first is when a dog is proven to be vicious or dangerous. The second is when a dog was legally required to be restrained, but was not.
When these two scenarios do not fit the case, it is likely to be a negligence matter. This also means that Georgia dog laws likely will not apply, but rather personal injury law. Through this legal action, it may be possible for a victim to prove that a dog owner was negligent and thus resulting in the injuries.
On the other hand, for strict liability to apply under the vicious animal theory, two factors must exist. First, the dog must have caused severe injury to a person without provocation. Second, the dog acted aggressively towards a person after previously being classified as potentially dangerous. Suffering harm because of a dog bite can be an overwhelming experience. However, dog bite victims should understand that they may have legal recourses available.