There are situations in which it seems that people simply don’t think. Consequences that follow such thoughtless behavior can frequently be costly. Beyond the financial burden of higher insurance rates and/or court costs, there is the cost in terms of human pain and suffering. When bad things happen, careless people sometimes put totally innocent others in the epicenter of the storm.
Some years back, the general manager of a retail store brought his dog to work and chained it to the back steps of the business. There was to be construction work in progress at his home, and he did not want his dog to be in the midst of it. All of this might have worked out alright had not an independent contractor arrived at the back door of the store to pick up a load of scrap cardboard.
The dog took exception to the contractor’s arrival and bit the man as he tried to get back into his truck’s bed. The injured man sued the store and the manager/dog owner.
The contractor’s lawyers argued that the store was liable for the man’s injuries because it was because of their employee’s negligence that the injuries occurred.
Regarding the Store, the court also looked at Georgia’s premises liability law, O.C.G.A. 51-3-1, regarding the duties of a business proprietor. Under this statute, the lessee or owner of the premises has a duty to keep the building, its surrounds, and the approaches to his premises safe for public use. The proprietor must also keep the general public safe from the actions of his employees by intervening to prevent injury. His duty begins at the moment he knows of potential injurious conditions.
In this case, the corporate owners did not know that their general manager had brought his dog to work with him on the date of the incident. Employees of the company are not permitted to bring their dogs to work with them so the company had no actual or presumed knowledge of the situation. The corporation was neither the owner nor keeper of the dog, and therefore could not be held liable under the applicable dog-bite statutes.
The appellate court for these reasons held that the defendant corporation’s motion for summary judgment in favor of the corporation was not granted in error.
If and when somebody else’s thoughtless behavior causes injury to you or someone you know, it’s probably time to hire a lawyer. In general, dog-bite cases are difficult – but certainly not impossible — to win. When other unusual circumstances within the facts are present, they can be even more difficult. While we may not be able to overcome strange fact-patterns like this case, in general to have the best chance to win, you need a personal injury specialist.
The lawyers at The Millar Law Firm only handle personal injury cases. Every working day we are enmeshed in the complicated world where negligence, carelessness, and off-the-wall decisions like the one in this case cause pain and injury to others.
Call the law offices of The Millar Law Firm today for your free case evaluation. You’ll be glad you did.