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All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.

Is the dog owner definitely responsible for my bite?

If the owner has knowledge of the dog's vicious tendencies (also referred to as the "scienter requirement"), liability may be imposed without evidence of negligence by the dog owner.

This concept of liability without proving negligent conduct by the dog owner is referred to as strict liability. While some states impose strict liability on a homeowner whose dog bites someone regardless of fault, the law requires more before liability will be imposed in Georgia. Georgia imposes the one bite rule in dog bite cases.

This name is somewhat misleading because some assume it means that an owner will not be liable if their dog has never bitten anyone prior to the bite at issue in a particular case. The so-called one bite rule only requires that the owner have some reason to know that the dog has violent propensities. Although the fact that the dog has bitten someone on a prior occasion generally would satisfy this knowledge requirement, other forms of behavior by the dog including lunging, charging, attempting to bite or similar forms of aggression may suffice.

Alternatively, an owner who posts a sign that reads “Beware of Dog” or muzzles a dog also might be determined to have sufficient knowledge to impose liability. If the owner has knowledge of the dog’s vicious tendencies (also referred to as the “scienter requirement”), liability may be imposed without evidence of negligence by the dog owner.

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