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Order Secured in Case After Dog Attacks Young Girl at a Halloween Party

Per a recent court order entered on March 15, 2023, plaintiffs Brenda and Will Weiss will be permitted to proceed with a legal claim against the owner of a dog that bit their 3-year-old daughter at a Halloween party. The Court found that a question of fact existed concerning the defendant’s (owner’s) knowledge of the dog’s potential to cause an injury. As a result, the Court rejected the defendant’s request for a summary judgment on all counts.

Video footage from inside the home where the attack happened shows the child, Hannah Weiss, approaching the dog while the adults were looking in the opposite direction. Hannah approached the dog three times before it attacked her. Hannah then walked over to her mother with her hand over her eye, having suffered a bite wound inflicted by the dog.

The Court based its decision on evidence of the dog owner’s superior knowledge. Under the theory of “superior knowledge,” a dog owner could be liable for injuries caused by their animal if:

  • They knew or should have known that the dog was vicious or dangerous.
  • The dog was “at liberty” when the attack happened.
  • The injured party did nothing to provoke the dog’s attack.

In other words, a victim could hold a dog owner liable by showing the owner had superior knowledge of the danger and failed to warn or protect others. A jury might infer that a dog owner had superior knowledge if the evidence proves they were aware of at least one similar incident that would lead a reasonable person to believe the dog was capable of causing injury.

In this case, Hannah’s parents submitted evidence from veterinary records demonstrating that the dog had previously acted aggressively in a vet’s office. The dog snapped at office personnel when they attempted to coax it out of a corner for treatment. “Based on the Court’s proper application of the superior knowledge standard, Brenda and Will Weiss will now be able to confidently move forward in court and seek justice for Hannah,” said the plaintiff’s counsel, Brittany Schwanitz.

Dog Bite Statistics

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 4.5 million dog bites happen each year in the United States. Roughly 20 percent of these dog bite victims require medical care after the attack. However, not all bites are reported, so these staggering numbers are likely even higher.

Dog Bite Laws in Georgia

Some states have “one-bite” laws, which largely prevent dog bite victims from holding owners responsible if the dog has never bitten anyone before. Georgia has modified the one-bite rule so that a victim can hold an owner liable even if their dog has not bitten others in the past. However, the victim must prove the owner knew or should have known the dog was vicious or dangerous and did not supervise the dog properly.

Contact a Georgia Dog Bite Lawyer for Help

If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a dog bite or attack in Georgia, you might be entitled to compensation. The legal team at Kevin A. Adamson, P.C. can help you pursue it. Contact us today for a free consultation session to learn more.