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How dog bite liability is determined

Georgia, like every state, has laws on dog bite liability. Dog owners may be held liable for any injuries that their pets cause. In addition, business owners, daycare providers, landlords and others who are responsible for the safety of a property can also be subjects of a lawsuit. The following is an outline of how most negligence laws work.

The laws in some states operate on a "first bite" premise, which means that dog owners are not necessarily to blame if a dog with no prior history of aggressive behavior bites someone. Of course, the owner will not be immune after that first incident. Other states have "strict liability" laws; dog owners are always to blame for all injuries their pets cause regardless of prior history.

It's important for dog owners to comply with regulations like leash laws and to take reasonable precautions for reducing the risk for an injury. Owners should muzzle dogs that are known to be aggressive and routinely warn guests and other people about that aggressiveness.

Veterinarians are exempt from dog bite liability since bites are a known hazard. In some states, those who are injured because they provoked a dog or threatened the owner will not have a valid claim. However, this is not true in those states with a strict liability law.

Since the laws can be complicated, and since any dog bite claim will meet opposition from the other side, a bite victim may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Such lawyers normally have networks of professionals who can assist with claims, including investigators who may be able to show that an incident was a preventable accident. A claim might ultimately provide compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other applicable losses.

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