Animal-related personal injury accidents usually brings the scenarios of dog attacks or bite to mind – thoughts of aggressive and dangerous animals attacking someone and leaving them with serious injuries. But this isn’t the only type of circumstance where pets may be responsible for injuries to others. Even the tamest animal can cause unintentional injuries. One common example of this is a dog running into a roadway, causing an auto accident.
Liability in these types of accidents caused by an animal may be difficult to understand and is heavily reliant on state laws. Essentially, Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 says that if an animal is allowed to go at liberty by its owner and it causes injury to another person, the animal’s owner may be held liable for damages.
There are many reasons legislation wouldn’t want animals off leashes and running at liberty – breeding, bite risks, and especially driving dangers. Swerving to miss objects in the roadway, including animals, can easily lead to crashes. Imagine a motorcyclist having to avoid an animal – the dangers are overwhelming.
Here are a few tips to avoid serious accidents as a result of animals running in front of your vehicle:
- Stay alert while behind the wheel – checking the radio or your phone for even a moment can make all the difference.
- Avoid swerving to avoid an animal in the roadway unless you’ve had time to make sure it’s safe to do so. While striking an animal with a car isn’t something any of us want to do, it is many times safer than the loss of control caused by swerving.
- Travel at or below the speed limit – slower speeds provide more distance to stop before hitting an animal or object in the roadway.
- At night use your bright lights or high beams – this allows for improved vision and viewing distance.
If you’ve experienced property damage or injuries as a result caused by a loose animal, it’s not an absolute guarantee that the animal’s owner will be held liable. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to prove negligence and argue your cause. For more information on dog accident liability, call Jones & Swanson today at 770-427-5498 for a free consultation.