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Georgia Personal Injury Blog

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dog Bites

Dogs are one of the most common companion animals in the United States. The Humane Society estimates about 54.4 million households in 2015-2016 owned at least one dog. They have been proven to decrease stress, increase exercise levels, and serve as playmates for children. However, occasionally they will bite and children are the most common victim.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Among these, about 885,000 require medical attention for injuries sustained. A 2010 Study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that the cost of medical treatment for dog bite-related hospital stays was $18,200 per visit, while the average for other injury-related hospital stays was only $12,100 per visit. The Insurance Information Institute estimated that between 2003 and 2015, the average cost per dog bite claim rose more than 94 percent due in part by the increased medical costs.

Prevention is the key to saving potentially thousands of dollars in medical bills. The CDC encourages people to follow these basic safety tips when interacting with unfamiliar dogs:

·         Do not make any sudden movements when approached.

·         If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked and hands over your ears.

·         Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

·         Do not let small children play with a dog unsupervised.

·         Always allow a dog to sniff you first before petting.

 However, sometimes a dog bite will occur regardless of precautions. If this happens, then it is important to know your rights and what to do next.

Liability/law

It is important to know that the State of Georgia does not impose strict liability in dog bite cases. This means that just because you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, the owner is not necessarily liable for the harm caused. Generally speaking in Georgia liability for dog bites occurs in one of two instances. First, if the owner knows of the dogs dangerous propensities through a prior bite or menacing behavior, then the owner can be found liable for not taking appropriate precautions to prevent the bite. The other instance of liability occurs if the owner allows the dog to run free in violation of an existing leash law. Many, but not all municipalities and counties in Georgia, such as Henry County, have a leash law.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite that required medical attention and needs help with your claim, contact John Webb today for a free consultation at jwebb@smithwelchlaw.com  or call 770-389-4864.

Smith, Welch, Webb & White, LLC., is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia with expertise in this area of law. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and community. Our team of experts routinely handle a wide range of legal matters beyond criminal law, and will be happy to provide outstanding service for you, your family, or your business.

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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