When someone is bitten by a dog, the first reaction of most people is to blame the owner of the dog. However, the owner is not liable if his or her dog bites someone in certain situations, which are usually dependent on the actions of the injured person at the time of the bite. Determining if a dog owner is liable for a dog bite should be left to an experienced personal injury attorney, but any of the following circumstances may relieve the owner of responsibility.
The dog was provoked
If the owner can prove that the dog was provoked before causing the injury, then the owner may not be held liable. This is true even if the provoking act was unintentional, such as accidentally stepping on the dog’s tail. Exceptions to this rule do exist, which is why you must consult with an attorney instead of assuming fault.
The risk was known but ignored
If the injured person knew that he or she was at risk of being bitten and willfully ignored that risk, then the owner may not be held liable. For instance, if a beware-of-dog sign is prominently displayed but the injured person approaches the dog anyway, then the fault may be placed with the victim.
The injured person was trespassing
The general rule is that a dog owner is not liable when his or her dog bites someone while trespassing, but this is another rule that has many exceptions.
The injured person was committing a crime
In some cases, the injured person must prove that he or she was acting in a peaceable and lawful manner at the time the bite occurred.
The injured person acted carelessly
If the victim of a dog bite acted carelessly, then the victim may share in the liability, which means compensation is cut by the percentage of fault placed with the victim.
Talk to a knowledgeable Georgia injury attorney at Tate Law Group to discuss the specifics of your dog bite injury claim and determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.