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Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Jury Awards $5.6M To Plaintiff In Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit In Georgia

Jury Awards $5.6M To Plaintiff In Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit In Georgia


When you see a dog bite verdict go into the millions, it’s largely because the plaintiff was severely injured in the attack. While most dog bites involve small lacerations, dog attacks can sometimes be fatal, prevent an individual from working, leave permanent scarring, or cause them to have PTSD.

In one recent Georgia dog bite lawsuit, a Hall County jury returned a verdict of $5.6 million in favor of a high school teacher who was attacked by her neighbor’s dog. The jury awarded another $20,159 to her husband for providing care to his wife while she recovered. According to her attorneys, it was among the largest amounts ever awarded in a dog bite lawsuit in Hall County.

What happened? 

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff walked over to her neighbor’s house in Gainesville to give them mail that was accidentally delivered to her house. The dog, which was a labrador/pit bull mix, “clamped its teeth onto the plaintiff and violently shook.” An attorney representing the plaintiff described the dog as a “ticking time bomb that should have been dealt with long before our client was savagely attacked.” The plaintiff was able to establish in court that two different veterinary offices described the dog as having “aggression problems” during 5 out of 6 visits.

Georgia’s modified “one bite rule” 

In a dog bite lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant had foreknowledge of the potential threat posed by the dog. While Georgia does operate on a one bite rule (meaning that the dog must have bitten someone previously for the plaintiff to claim negligence), the owner’s liability isn’t exclusively limited to scenarios in which the dog previously bit someone. Instead, any sign of aggression that the plaintiff can establish can be used to establish the legal concept known as “Scienter” which means “knowledge” or more precisely, foreknowledge of aggressive behavior.

In this case, the plaintiff was able to establish that the defendant had foreknowledge that the dog was aggressive. The defense argued that the neighbors were not liable because they didn’t know that the dog had a propensity to attack others. Under a strict version of the “one bite rule,” this would have been enough to defeat the claim. However, in this case, the plaintiffs were able to prove that the family had foreknowledge that the dog was aggressive and could attack other people based on previous vet visits in which he displayed hostility to staff. Establishing scienter in this case was a matter of showing that the family had foreknowledge that the dog was potentially hostile.

Talk to a Georgia Dog Bite Injury Attorney Today 

Gillette Law represents the interests of Georgia residents who have been attacked by a vicious dog. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your case right away.



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