Dogs are incredibly popular pets in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. Unhappily, while most people are fortunate to have only positive experiences with dogs, dogs can inflict serious injuries when they feel threatened or believe their owners are in danger. When a dog bites a person in Pennsylvania, state law determines what will happen next for the parties involved. The bite victim may file a civil lawsuit against the dog’s owner, and they may contact their local Animal Control Department to report the incident.
If your dog recently bit someone for any reason in Pennsylvania, you must know and take advantage of your legal options in this situation. Any missteps in the preliminary stages of your case could potentially cost your dog’s life. If the court determines a dog to be unreasonably dangerous, they may order it to be euthanized.
Any dog owner facing this type of situation needs experienced legal counsel on their side if they want to reach the best possible conclusion to their case. The Animal Law Firm is dedicated to defending the rights of pets and their families when they face difficult legal situations. Dog bite cases can easily escalate into emotionally charged disputes. If you are headed into this situation, you must have compassionate and responsive legal representation from a Pennsylvania dog bite defense attorney you can trust.
Every state enforces laws pertaining to dog bite claims and the liabilities of dog owners whose pets injure others. Pennsylvania’s laws focus on whether a dog is known to be dangerous and whether the owner displayed reasonable care in their handling of the dog. If a dog unexpectedly bites or otherwise injures another person, and the dog owner displayed appropriate care and attention but had no way to stop the incident, the dog’s owner will likely face liability for the victim’s medical expenses and nothing more.
If the dog has any history of violence or the owner has observed “unmistakably vicious tendencies,” the dog owner could face liability for the victim’s other damages, such as lost income and pain and suffering. In addition, the owner would also absorb liability if they were negligent, such as failing to keep their dog restrained at all times.
One previous bite does not necessarily mean that a dog has “unmistakably vicious tendencies,” It is also possible for a dog to display such tendencies without actually biting anyone. Therefore, determining liability for a dog attack in Pennsylvania requires an extensive evaluation of all available evidence. Ultimately, Pennsylvania laws regarding dangerous dogs are relatively open to interpretation, and there is no single solution for resolving these cases.
Unfortunately, many pet owners across the United States make critical errors in the aftermath of dog bite injuries. If Animal Control reaches out to you or visits your home after your dog has bitten someone, they are likely seeking to issue you a citation for your dog’s actions. It’s also possible the victim may be compiling a civil suit for damages against you, and saying the wrong thing to Animal Control could cost your dog’s life. Determine whether any witnesses saw the attack in question and, if so, obtain their contact information. Animal Control will likely request copies of your dog’s veterinary records, so inform them that you will obtain the necessary information from your vet and then reach out to a Pennsylvania dog bite defense attorney to help you determine your best available defenses.
If you are served court papers notifying you that you are being sued for a recent injury your pet caused, your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance may cover the victim’s damages. However, if you do not have applicable insurance coverage, if the victim is seeking more compensation than your insurance policy could provide, or if you believe you are not liable for their injury due to their behavior, it is vital to consult a Pennsylvania dog bite defense attorney as soon as possible.
The vast majority of civil claims for damages filed in the United States are resolved in a private settlement. Unfortunately, many dog owners whose pets have bitten others have mistakenly assumed that admitting fault and agreeing to a swift settlement is the best way to resolve this kind of issue. Unfortunately, this is false, and you must evaluate every defense available. The Animal Law Firm can review the details of how the incident unfolded, speak to witnesses who saw the incident and help you compile an effective defense strategy. The right attorney can potentially mean saving your pet’s life and minimizing your financial liability for the other party’s damages.
Sometimes a dog will bite because it feels threatened, even if the victim did not intentionally provoke the dog. It’s also possible for a dog to act well outside the scope of behaviors the owner would reasonably expect in a given situation due to variables that are imperceptible to people. A victim may make a reasonable request for the dog owner to pay for their medical expenses, and insurance or a private settlement can resolve this type of case to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Unfortunately, some people who are bitten by dogs are vindictive in their subsequent legal actions, sometimes directly demanding that the court have the dog in question euthanized.
Do not make the same mistakes other pet owners have made in Pennsylvania. Never surrender your pet to Animal Control without a signed warrant, and never agree to any settlements with other parties before consulting an attorney first. When you choose The Animal Law Firm to represent you, you will have an experienced Pennsylvania dog bite defense attorney ready to address every aspect of your case. Time is a crucial factor in all these cases, so contact The Animal Law Firm today to schedule your consultation with an attorney you can trust with your case.