Most people agree that dogs can be some of the best pets, and for good reason. Dogs can protect their home and their owners, all the while being man's best friend. Still, we must not forget that dogs are animals with animal instincts and sometimes, a dog will bite or attack a person, causing serious if not life-threatening injuries.
What causes dogs to bite? It depends, but it often comes down to a lack of socialization, or the way the dog has been treated by his or her owners in the past. For instance, if a dog has endured a life of neglect and/or abuse, the dog can understandably develop an aggressive personality.
Other times, a dog may have received nothing but love from his owners, but somehow the dog was just born with an unpleasant personality. Regardless of the reason why a dog is aggressive, the dog's owner has a responsibility to ensure that their dog does not bite or attack other people.
Since dogs have a long history of biting, especially postmen, young children and the elderly, state legislatures have enacted dog bite laws that hold dog owners liable when their dog bites or attacks another person.
State Dog Bite Laws
While the dog bite laws vary from state-to-state, there are definite similarities. Often, a dog owner is liable for damages if their dog bites or attacks another person who was lawfully in a public or private place. Generally, burglars and trespassers are not covered.
In Texas for example, there is no law that addresses dog bites specifically, however, people can file personal injury claims against dog owners based on the theory of negligence. In a Texas dog bite claim, the victim would have to show that the dog's owner failed to exert reasonable control to prevent the bite, or that the owner knew the dog was aggressive or had a history of biting.
In contrast, Georgia dog bites are covered under O.C.G.A. §51-2-7 of the Georgia Code. Under this section, if a dog owner keeps a dangerous or vicious dog and by careless management or by allowing the dog to roam freely, the dog injures another person, the dog owner can be liable for the victim's damages.
To learn more about the dog bite laws in your state, contact a personal injury attorney near you.