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A Bite from the Family Dog Can Ruin a Family Holiday Gathering

January 02, 2013

Our Georgia personal injury lawyers understand that many people travel to visit family, especially during the holidays, and some of those family members will be exposed to dogs. When relatives visit, it is natural to assume that a loved one’s dog will be friendly and unlikely to bite or attack.

However, most dog bite victims are familiar with the dog that causes their injury. The commotion and large congregation of people during the holidays can disturb the family dog and result in unpredictable behavior, which is why this is a peak time for dog attack injuries.

A brief review of dog attack statistics reveals the danger associated with attacks from a relative’s dog during holiday gatherings. Approximately, seventy percent of fatal dog attacks are inflicted by a family dog and almost eighty percent of those fatal dog mauling incidents occur on the premises of the dog owner. Almost five million people per year suffer dog bite injuries. Twenty percent of these dog attack injuries necessitate significant medical treatment, and more than 30,000 require reconstructive injury according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dog attack incidents during the holidays also are promoted by the increased number of visiting children that are around an unfamiliar dog. Small children may not appreciate the potential risk from a dangerous dog that looks cute or friendly. They also may make the mistake of engaging in conduct that inadvertently antagonizes a dog. This lack of maturity and experience is why kids comprise sixty percent of dog bite victims.

Because the owners of dogs that bite or attack usually belong to family members or close friends, victims are sometimes hesitant to seek financial compensation by pursuing a personal injury claim. While it is understandable that injury victims and their parents may be apprehensive about initiating legal action against relatives and friends, these claims are typically covered by homeowners’ insurance policies, and the majority are settled with the insurance company without the necessity of a lawsuit. Dog bites account for a third of all homeowners’ insurance claims.

Liability in dog bite cases may be based on a number of factors. If the dog owner should know that a dog has potentially vicious tendencies, liability may be based on the past behavior of the dog. Where a dog owner fails to take reasonable precautions to protect others from dog attacks, this failure also may be a basis for seeking financial compensation. If the dog bite occurs in a city/county with a leash law, this is yet another basis for imposing liability on the owner of the dog.

If you or a loved one suffer injury in a dog attack, our experienced Georgia dog bite attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.