Man’s Best Friend or Worst Nightmare?

dog-bite-resized-600-300x300For many their furry canine friend is an irreplaceable part of their family, “Max”, “Spike” or “Buddy” are treated like humans and given all the trust in the world, and for the majority of families, this is where the story ends. Unfortunately for others, this could not be farther from the truth, and “Spike’s” actions resulted in bodily harm to a human, or worse.

As circumstances unfold following an incident where a canine or other animal has caused bodily harm to a person, dealing with the emotional and physical repercussions can be overwhelming, and the road to recovery can be treacherous. If you find yourself in a situation like this, you must first hire an experienced attorney to be by your side, an experienced attorney will guide you through this time and get you the compensation you deserve.

Georgia Law & Dog Bites

In the state of Georgia you have two years after the incident to bring the case to court, after this period the statute of limitations for your case will be up (Sec. 9-3-33). Therefore it is important to ensure that you and your attorney file your claim in a timely manner. Once your claim is at the court the outcome of your case will be decided based on Georgia Statutes O.C.G.A 51-2-7 which details whether negligence has occurred, and who is at fault.

What Needs to be Proven?

According to the statute, you must show the following in order to prove that that animal’s owner is liable for your injuries:

The animal was not in any way provoked by the injured individual;

  1.     The animal was “dangerous”;
  2.     The animal’s owner was careless.

These characteristics hold true when proving any animal caused you bodily harm, in any way, in the state of Georgia.


In order to prove liability in the state of Georgia you must prove negligence. This means that the injured party must prove that the owner knew the animal was dangerous and did not act to restrain the animal. In certain instances, if a dog is not on a leash in an area that requires dogs to be leashed, and that dog bites you, this may be enough to prove negligence on the part of the owner.

Possible Defenses

If you are the owner of a dog or other animal that has harmed someone, there are potential remedies for your situation. If you are able to prove you gave reasonable care, had lack of knowledge, or that the animal was in fact provoked, you may be in luck.

If you were completely unaware, and had no prior warning that your animal may have these tendencies, you may not be liable. Additionally, if you can prove that you were not being careless you may also not be at fault. Georgia law is very specific in that if an animal was “provoked” then the owner is not liable. This means that if the animal was abused or aggravated, resulting in the following attack, then the owner may not be held liable.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog or other animal, you are not alone. The experienced attorneys at Anthony Overton Van Johnson & Associates, P.C., in Atlanta are ready to help relieve this burden and get you the compensation you deserve. Call (678) 882-7355 to speak to an Attorney today or to schedule an appointment.  We collect no fees unless we settle your case or win at trial!

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