Visitor Question

Liability of neighbor’s dog biting my daughter on the street?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Duluth, Georgia)

My daughter was playing near the house with her sisters when my neighbor was walking her dog. She had the dog on a leash and my daughters approached her to play with the dog. The neighbor encouraged them that the dog was harmless so they were free to pet it.

The dog bit my daughter in her face and it required stitches. Should I file a claim, since she is refusing to pay the medical bills? She said it is not her fault since her dog was on a leash. Is this true? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

The State of Georgia has a Strict Liability Dog law. This means all a victim of a dog bite has to show is that the dog bit the victim and caused injuries. With that shown, the dog owner is strictly liable to pay the victim’s “Damages.”

Damages can include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses for medications, costs of travel to and from treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, for strict liability to exist, the following must exist:

  • The dog must first be considered “vicious” or “dangerous,” which can be as simple as showing the animal was required to be leashed per city ordinance, or
  • The animal must be at large by the careless management of the owner, or
  • The person injured must not have provoked the animal into attacking him or her

Based on the facts and the above law, in this case the dog owner may escape strict liability. However, this does not mean the dog owner entirely escapes liability.

Under the common law, you still have a right to show the dog owner was negligent, and that negligence resulted in your daughter’s injuries.

To prove this will require you to show:

  • The dog owner knew the dog was dangerous, or
  • The dog had previously bitten other people
  • The dog owner knew of on or bit of these issues and ignored their potential fir injuries to others.

Get more information about Georgia Dog laws here.

Learn more here: Filing Lawsuits for Child Dog Attacks

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim,

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