Many people enjoy having dogs as loving pets. However, even the sweetest of dogs can attack someone under certain conditions. When a dog bites or attacks you, you should seek out a skilled personal injury attorney to evaluate your claim. Dog bites can have serious, long-lasting implications, ranging from surgery or scarring to psychological damage. A Blair County dog bite lawyer could help you obtain the compensation that you deserve.
In Blair County, an animal owner is generally responsible for injuries caused by his or her pets and can be liable to a victim for damages. Pennsylvania law requires proving negligence on the part of a dog owner, such as knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities and a failure to adequately confine the dog. This involves examining whether the dog had ever acted aggressively – such as by growling – at others in the past. The incident giving rise to the injuries can be sufficient, as Pennsylvania has abandoned the old rule which held that “every dog gets one free bite”. In some situations, if an owner harbors a dangerous animal, such as an attack dog, he or she can be strictly liable if that animal inflicts injuries, regardless of whether or not the owner was negligent.
This accountability means that the owner may be liable for paying:
While there are exceptions to these rules that a Blair County dog bite attorney could elaborate upon, the laws are meant to urge dog owners to keep his or her pet leashed and fenced in to prevent attacks.
Dog bite cases have a certain stigma because they involve an animal that some would argue “does not know any better”. Misconceptions about the litigation process lead to under reporting of dog bites and, in some instances, a failure to litigate cases altogether.
If an attack occurs, it must be reported. Documenting the attack is critical to creating a record for future reference. Failing to document the attack could have adverse consequences, such as the owner denying that any incident occurred, or an inability to corroborate the details of your story. The report also creates a paper trail in the event the dog goes after someone else in the future.
If you were attacked by a dog during regular work hours, such as a mail carrier or traveling salesperson, you may also be able to file a workers’ compensation claim, in which you can recover a portion of your lost wages and medical bills. Depending upon where the attack occurs, an insurance policy, such as a homeowner’s policy, renter’s policy, or business insurance policy, will cover the medical treatment.
Potential claimants are often concerned about the dog’s well-being. The viciousness of the attack, the severity of the bite, the history of bad behavior, and the owner’s willingness to retrain the dog are all factors that are taken into consideration. Crate training, specialized behavior training, electric collars or fences, and boarding are all potential options to address problematic dog behavior. Dog owners may also be cited and will pay a fine if they have violated the requirements for licensing and restraining a pet.
If you were attacked by someone else’s dog or other household animal, you should avoid handling the claim on your own. Owners may try to dissuade you from filing a claim to avoid an increase in their insurance rates. This, however, ignores the harm caused by the animal, and could leave you with expensive medical bills to pay for on your own.
It is important to start quickly, as there are deadlines for pursuing the recovery of insurance benefits and securing and preserving critical evidence. The law firm of Marcus & Mack has the knowledge and experience to litigate your case and maximize your recovery. Ask for a free consultation from a Blair County dog bite lawyer today.
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