Who pays the expenses from a dog bite injury?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Many people in Georgia have dogs as companion animals. There are also some people who have dogs to do certain work on their farms or to provide support for a loved one with a disabling medical condition. Dogs can be amiable companions and useful around the home, but they are also somewhat risky to own.

Animals are inherently unpredictable, and dogs can become aggressive with very little warning or provocation. Those bit by a dog or helping a loved one recover from a dog bite attack may incur massive expenses as a result of their circumstances. It is, therefore, important to understand who is typically responsible for the costs created when a dog turns aggressive in Georgia.

Georgia has a modified one-bite rule

Many states extend dog owners a bit of grace by imposing a one-bite rule for liability. If the animal has never shown vicious tendencies before and attacks someone suddenly, the owner may not have any liability. However, the rule in Georgia is a bit different. Dogs that have previously bitten a human or shown signs of unwarranted aggression are dangerous dogs that open owners up to liability if the animal hurts someone. Additionally, when an owner fails to keep a dog properly restrained, they may be liable for any damages it causes to others.

Letting a dog off of its leash at a public park would be a perfect example. Although most parks have clear signage indicating that dogs need to remain on leashes while in the park, owners may release the animal, at which point it could attack someone. The failure to properly restrain the dog or to keep it fenced in a yard at someone’s property could lead to liability even though the dog has never bitten a person before.

Insurance often pays

Some people feel hesitant to pursue dog bite claims because the animal belongs to a neighbor, a friend or even a family member. Often, dog bite incidents do require litigation, but the animal’s owner doesn’t necessarily pay directly. Both homeowners insurance and rental insurance can cover the costs of a personal injury lawsuit brought because of a dog’s aggression. Businesses can also be liable for dog bite attacks when they allow animals on their premises. In such cases, business insurance may apply.

Holding the right party accountable can diminish the lasting financial impact caused by a dog who has turned aggressive in Georgia. Seeking legal guidance can help an injury victim to receive the support they may need under such circumstances.