Every dog owner in Smyrna and the surrounding areas have a similar duty to keep their animals under control. Local leash and penning laws can create liability if an animal manages to escape and cause damage. However, the mere fact that an injury was the result of a dog attack does not automatically mean that an owner is responsible for providing compensation. In fact, local laws often allow owners to escape liability if they had no reason to suspect that an attack would occur.
A Smyrna dog bite lawyer could help injured individuals to collect the compensation that they deserve following a dog attack. Oftentimes, this can include the costs of medical treatment, reimbursement for lost wages, and compensation for lost quality of life. To learn more about your legal options, schedule a consultation today.
Pursuing Cases Using State Statutes
As a general concept, state law does not automatically place an obligation to provide compensation following an attack on a dog’s owner. While Smyrna is not in a state that uses a one-bite rule, a combination of similar concepts functions in much the same way.
The most common way to make an owner liable for the actions of their animal is to prove that the owner kept an animal with a “vicious propensity.” According to O.C.G.A. §51-2-7, a victim of a dog attack may collect compensation if they can provide evidence of this dangerous nature. An owner’s knowledge of a past incident involving the animal can fit under this umbrella.
Similarly, local laws may help to prove this concept. For example, the above-cited statute says that if an owner is in violation of a leash law that the owner is liable for any damage resulting from an incident. A Smyrna dog bite attorney can provide more information about the local dog bite laws and how they interact with a claim for compensation.
Pursuing Cases Using the Basic Concept of Negligence
Of course, not every dog bite case can rely on the options provided by state statute. In certain situations, it may be necessary to seek compensation under a theory of basic negligence. These cases argue that an owner should be liable because they were careless in allowing the attack to happen. Examples can include:
- Leaving a fence gate open
- Allowing a dog to escape from a leash
- Bringing an animal into another’s home
In these cases, it may be necessary for the victim of a dog bite to justify their own actions. A common defense against dog bite cases is that the animal was merely defending its own territory or that the victim was teasing or provoking the animal. When combined with the concept of modified comparative negligence under O.C.G.A. §51-12-33, a defendant who successfully uses this defense may only need to pay a portion of a victim’s losses. In some situations, a court may order no payment at all. A dog bite attorney in Smyrna can fight to demonstrate that a dog owner was solely liable for the actions of their animal.
Speak with a Smyrna Dog Bite Attorney for Help
Dog bites can be surprisingly serious. Even small animals have sharp teeth that are capable of breaking the skin. This can require a trip to the emergency room and antibiotics for treatment. Of course, larger animals have the potential to break bones or separate joints. In every event, a dog’s owner is liable to provide full compensation to all affected parties.
Still, it is only possible to collect this compensation if you can prove fault under state law. This can necessitate knowledge of local animal control laws, researching the animal’s past, or proving a case of negligence against a dog’s owner. A Smyrna dog bite lawyer is ready to help you to prove these concepts and to collect the payments that you need to set things right.