How Do I Prove a Georgia Dog Owner is Liable for My Injuries?

Georgia law is a bit tricky with regard to dog bite liability. Unlike some other states in which the dog owner is effectively liable for any attack or injuries caused by the dog, here in Georgia the default assumption is that dogs are harmless, so the burden of proof is on the victim – not the Georgia dog owner – to show otherwise. Specifically, under Georgia law, to prove a dog owner is liable for your injuries, you must provide convincing evidence of three things:
  • You must show that the dog is vicious;
  • You must show that the owner knew the dog’s nature and did nothing to stop it (in other words, the owner was negligent); and
  • You must convince the judge or jury that you did nothing to provoke the dog.
One factor that can make this process much easier is if the bite takes place in a local jurisdiction where a leash law is in effect. If the dog was off-leash illegally when it bit you, Georgia law allows this as evidence of the dog’s “vicious propensities.” By extension, if the owner was in violation of a local leash ordinance, you may also be able to use that fact to prove negligence.

Other Possible Ways to Prove Liability

Here are a few additional ways dog owners may be able to demonstrate owner liability for dog bite injuries:

“Dangerous dog provision”

If there is prior evidence that the dog has attacked before, you may be able to use this information to prove owner negligence. Georgia has a “dangerous dog” classification that requires owners to provide additional constraints if there is documented evidence that the dog has bitten someone else in the past. Your attorney should be able to search public records to find out whether this is the case.

Cellphone footage

Granted, it can be a challenge to think of grabbing one’s camera phone in the aftermath of a dog bite, but the more visual evidence you can provide, the easier it can be to prove your case. A photo/video can document the dog’s breed and physical characteristics, as well as show whether it was leashed. Likewise, a photo/video of your own injuries can serve as evidence. Because dog bite cases can be difficult to prove under Georgia law, we recommend you enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you prove whether a dog owner is liable for your injuries. For a free case evaluation, call Sutton Slover today at 404.768.0292.