Animal bites and attacks can cause extreme physical pain, permanent scarring, disfigurement and a variety of psychological conditions, ranging from a fear of rabies, or other diseases, to broader-based fears of dogs, animals, and one’s general environment in some cases.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Almost a million of these bites involve injuries serious enough to require medical attention. Medical costs associated with these dog bites and attacks are said to approach almost 165 million dollars each year.
Laws and regulations concerning dogs and other animals vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In the state of Georgia, a dog owner is liable for damages if the owner has knowledge that the dog has the propensity or is likely to act viciously or bite. This is known as the “first bite rule,” although the rule does not literally require a first bite. ‘Leash laws’, and ‘control’ regulations can also give rise to a claim against a dog or animal owner. For example, if you were walking past a house where a dog is charging, snapping and/or barking in a threatening manner and you trip, fall or injure yourself; the dog’s owner may be liable if you can prove that the dog’s behavior caused your injury.
Your ability to recover in these types of cases oftentimes depends upon a number of legal issues and in the event you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a dog or other vicious animal, you should contact a lawyer who has had experience handling these types of cases.