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The 3 conditions of Georgia's strict liability law for dog bites

Dog attacks are a problem all across the country, and we certainly have our fair share of these incidents here in Georgia. When a dog bites someone and causes them injury, the victim will likely be considering the legal ramifications of the incident. Can I sue the dog owner? Was the owner negligent in any way? What about the dog itself? These are important questions that the victim will want answered as soon as possible.

In the state of Georgia, we have a strict liability law when it comes to dog bite incidents. This means the owner of the dog can be held liable for the incident -- but three conditions must be met first:

  • The dog must have been considered "dangerous" or "vicious in the first place. Lacking this designation, the owner may not be held liable for an attack. However, this can be proven if the dog was off leash in a park where dogs are required to be leashed.
  • This leads to the second point, which is that the dog must have been "at large due to careless management of the owner." In other words, if the dog was loose and too far away to be controlled by the owner, then the dog would be "at large" due to the owner's poor control and management.
  • Last but not least, you must not have provoked, antagonized or baited the dog into attacking you.

If these conditions are met, then the dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by his or her dog to another person.

Source: Animal Legal and Historical Center, "West's Code of Georgia Annotated. Title 51. Torts. Chapter 2. Imputable Negligence.," Accessed Oct. 17, 2016

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