Every person who chooses to welcome a dog into their home becomes responsible for controlling that animal. However, if a dog bites someone, it does not automatically mean that the owner is liable to provide compensation for the resulting harm. The laws regarding animal bites in Pennsylvania are complex and utilize both statutes and common law to determine the legal liability of the pet owner.
A State College dog bite lawyer could help you seek financial recovery if you were attacked by another person’s pet. These can include payments for medical bills, reimbursement for lost wages, and compensation for pain or suffering. By speaking with a well-practiced State College personal injury attorney, you could improve your chances of a successful recovery.
Theory of Liability and Animal Bites
There are powerful laws in the Commonwealth that mandate how a dog owner must maintain their animals. All dog owners are required to keep their pets confined within their property. If a dog is off its owner’s property, the owner must keep the animal on a collar and chain or leash.
If a pet owner violates this law by failing to keep his or her dog confined, he or she may be found negligent and may be liablefor resulting damages. A State College attorney could investigate the interaction to determine if the dog owner may be liable for a person’s bite injuries.
Using Dangerous Propensities to Demand Compensation
Pet owners can also be found liable if they had prior knowledge of the pet’s aggressive tendencies. This requires proving that the dog owner knew that the dog had a tendency to act aggressively, although the dog need not have bitten someone in the past in order for the owner to be held liable.
There may also be criminal penalties if one owns a dangerous dog and the animal causes harm to another. Under 3 Pa. Code §459-502-A, A dangerous animal is one that has:
- Attacked and seriously harmed someone without being provoked on public or private land
- Severely harmed or killed another person’s pet while off their owner’s property
- Been used in the commission of a criminal act
- A history of attacking and injuring people or animals without being provoked
This classification is helpful in proving a dog owner was negligent in allowing that animal to interact with other people.
To prevail in these claims, a claimant must prove that the owner had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous nature, such as a history of growling at neighbors or other aggressive behaviors. The owner may try to argue that the plaintiff taunted the animal or was contributorily negligent in causing the encounter. A skilled lawyer in State College could help injured individuals pursue claims that center around the concept of negligence due to a failure to control a dangerous dog.
Schedule a Consultation with a State College Dog Bite Attorney
A person who has suffered a dog bite from another party’s animal has rights under the law. This includes the ability to demand compensation for their losses in the form of out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, and emotional trauma.
Commonwealth laws require dog owners to keep their animals under control. If an owner fails to do this, he or she could be liable for any harm their pet causes.
A State College dog bite lawyer could help you if you were attacked by someone’s pet. A dedicated attorney could gather the required evidence and advocate for you during settlement negotiations and in trial. Contact an attorney with Marcus & Mack today to explore your options.