Our team at Lawbike gets a range of cases involving motorcyclists and the unique challenges they face on Georgia roads: potholes, left turns, deer. Each year, we also receive a few odd cases. But, 2023 stands out as the ‘Year of the Dog’ for motorcyclists in Georgia. We’ve seen a surge in accidents caused by dogs chasing motorcycles. We typically see one or two such incidents in a year; this year we’re already up to six.
So, how exactly does man’s best friend pose a threat to motorcyclists?
The Chain of Events
Imagine cruising down a scenic Georgia road, the hum of your motorcycle beneath you, when out of the blue, a dog sprints into the road, barking and giving chase. The sudden distraction can easily cause a crash, especially if you swerve to avoid the dog or are caught off-guard.
In these incidents, the responsibility usually falls on the dog owner. By allowing their pet to roam free, they put both the animal and motorist at risk. But liability is not always clear cut. Let’s take a look at why.
Who is Liable?
In Georgia, the accountability for damages caused by a dog falls on its owner. Fortunately, in the case of a motorcycle accident, the dog owner’s home insurance will typically cover the damages. An occasional misconception among motorcyclists who’ve had a run in with a dog is that their own Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance may foot the bill. But, to the insurance firm, a dog is neither considered uninsured or underinsured.
Interestingly, a homeowner’s accountability in Georgia extends beyond damages caused by their dog. If they’re negligent in preventing objects from their property, such as grass clippings or gravel, from spilling onto the roadway, then they’re often liable for the damages of any accidents caused.
When Is the Motorcyclist Liable?
But motorcyclists beware–in some Georgia counties, dog owners are not always liable for accidents caused by their free roaming dog. There is no statewide leash law in Georgia. And in counties without a strict leash ordinance in effect, dog owners may have their pet off the leash outside of their property without bearing strict liability for accidents it causes. These are often rural counties; areas you’d expect to be on the lookout for wildlife, such as deer. Our team at Lawbike would like to encourage you to ride with care in these areas and check the leash ordinance of the counties where you ride.
What To Do Following a Motorcycle Accident
Following a motorcycle accident with a dog, your first concern is your immediate health and safety, and that of other road users. Once this has been taken care of, take the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Then contact the police and ensure a police report is filed. Now, contact Lawbike. Don’t talk to the dog owner’s insurer until you’ve talked to us first.
Want to know more? learn more about what you should do immediately following a motorcycle accident.
Recovering From a Motorcycle Accident
The harsh reality is that motorcycle accidents often lead to serious and lingering injuries. Around 80% of motorcycle accidents result in an injury to the driver. From the motorcycle accidents we see involving dogs, about 50% make full recovery. For the victims and their families, the losses can be substantial and ongoing, both in financial terms and in quality of life.
The types of injuries we commonly see in motorcycle accidents include those of the brain and spinal cord, where the severity is often not clear until long after the accident. Paralysis is also a possible outcome. Such injuries can put families into long term financial hardship. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident with a dog, or any other form of motorcycle accident, don’t put off your claim. Don’t risk going under compensated. Contact our experienced and committed team at Lawbike to ensure you get the full compensation you deserve.
Trust Lawbike to Represent You
At Lawbike, motorcycle accidents are our focus. We know Georgia motorcycle law best and we’ve got the case results and client testimonials to prove it. With offices in Atlanta and Roswell, we serve clients throughout the state of Georgia.