Who is liable when a stray dog bites you in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Dog bites |

A dog bite, particularly from a stray, can be a distressing event. The experience can often lead to injuries and, in some cases, even diseases such as rabies. Amid all the emotions and worries, it’s crucial to remember to protect yourself.

In many states, including Georgia, dog owners can be held liable if their pet inflicts a bite or causes injury. However, Georgia has a specific law called the “one-bite” rule. Under this rule, a dog owner may not be at fault for the first bite if they were unaware their dog could pose a danger to others. But after the first bite, the situation changes. The state may see the dog as showing dangerous behavior, leading to a shift in liability. This shift could have substantial legal implications for the dog’s owner.

Dealing with stray dogs introduces another layer of complexity. It might not always be possible to find the owner. But despite the challenges, it’s essential to do what you can to protect yourself and others from potential harm.

Establish ownership immediately

Taking steps to identify a dog’s owner is crucial after suffering a bite. Dogs that have an owner often wear collars, making identification easier. However, if a dog doesn’t have a collar, you may need to make an extra effort to identify the owner, potentially with the help of local authorities.

Here are some steps you should take immediately:

  1. Seek medical attention for your injuries.
  2. Reach out to local law enforcement to address the incident.
  3. Ensure that you report the dog bite to local animal control to maintain an official record of the bite. This also ensures they take all necessary steps if the dog poses a risk to others.
  4. Document the incident thoroughly by taking pictures of your injuries and the dog.

You could face obstacles in filing a claim or seeking relief without identifying the dog. This process is crucial to establishing liability and determining if the dog has received necessary vaccinations, such as for rabies. If the dog isn’t vaccinated, you’ll need immediate medical treatment to prevent the potentially deadly symptoms of rabies.

Ultimately, this process isn’t only about seeking justice; it’s also about ensuring your health and safety. It’s your right to protect yourself, so make sure to take all necessary steps.