Georgia’s dog bite liability law, Georgia Code Ann. Sec. 51-2-7
There is a law in the State of Georgia designed to keep those who own dangerous, aggressive animals from harming others. Georgia’s dog bite liability law, Georgia Code Ann. Sec. 51-2-7, makes the owners of such animals responsible for damages incurred by others.
A Spring Day That Turned into a Nightmare Dog Attack for a Georgia Man
One spring day a self-employed handyman and car washer was walking across the parking lot of a fitness gym in Northwest in Atlanta. While he was making his way across the lot, two pit bulls owned by the gym’s owner escaped from a nearby fenced enclosure.
The dogs attacked and bit the victim on both legs. He climbed atop a parked car to escape from the dogs, but the dogs dragged him off of the car by his legs. The victim attempted to flee from the animals but the attack continued. In his attempt to run away from the pursuing dogs, he fell over a retaining wall at the edge of the parking lot. He fell three feet to the asphalt below, landing on his left knee. The dogs then continued the attack. Eventually, the owner of the dogs came and stopped the dogs from further mauling.
The injured man was transported by ambulance to WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for three days. Physicians there diagnosed the injuries as a comminuted fracture or shattering of the left patella (kneecap.) He was also treated for lacerations to his legs and a puncture wound to his right calf. While hospitalized, Morris underwent surgery with open reduction and internal fixation of a metal and wire basket to hold the patella fragments together.
A Long Lasting Brutal Injury
The injured man was prescribed medication for his pain while he underwent four months of physical therapy, consisting of strength exercises meant to increase left knee mobility. After several years, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove the implanted hardware from his knee-cap and to adjust the knee to prevent wear on the cartilage.
Then Came the Lawsuit and Settlement
Eventually, the injured pedestrian filed a civil suit in Fulton County State Court before Judge Diane Besson. The complaint alleged that the owner of the dogs had a duty and responsibility under Georgia Code Ann. Sec. 51-2-7, to keep his dogs securely confined because they had a documented history of violent behavior and were known to be dangerous and aggressive.
The Plaintiff further argued that the defendant dog owner was also the owner of the property where the attack took place. As such, he was liable for any animal attack that occurred on the property.
A week prior to trial, the parties agreed to a $350,000 settlement. Each of the defendant’s two insurance carriers paid a portion of the total settlement.
Just as you are expected to carry insurance on your automobile – which is a potential lethal weapon – so are you required to provide liability coverage for other dangerous items you use, or keep, or own. This includes any animal that has the potential to harm or kill an innocent victim. These insurance policies are in place to protect and indemnify the rights of others in the event of damages done to them. If you’ve been attacked by a dog, contact us now.