A dog is considered dangerous if it has a history of biting people. As the owner of the dog, you may be held responsible for any incidents depending on whether or not you have issued warnings about your pet. Displaying a sign to inform those around of the danger may help protect you from liability in these cases.
You may file an insurance claim if your dog bites someone on your property. Furthermore, if you have liability coverage, you may be able to get compensation for any medical bills or other losses that the victim has incurred from the incident. The insurance company can also help you by paying for a lawyer if the case goes to court.
Who is legally responsible for the actions of a dog?
In Philadelphia, dog owners or keepers are automatically accountable for their dog’s actions and welfare. In the case of a dog bite, the dog owner’s liability under Pennsylvania law depends on the severity of the injury.
Dog owners in Philadelphia are held strictly liable for medical costs to treat the dog bite. Other costs, like lost wages or pain and suffering, depend on whether the victim can prove the dog owner was negligent. Some of the dog bite laws are as follows:
- It is the responsibility of a dog owner to control their dog, including confining and restraining them.
- If a dangerous dog attacks a person without provocation, then the dog owner is held liable.
- If a dog has a history of attacking animals and humans even without provocation, the owner may be liable for medical costs and other damages.
In all these cases, a dog owner must pay for the injuries and damages a dog attack causes.
What if your dog didn’t bite someone?
To prove your dog did not bite someone, you need to give evidence that your dog was not responsible for the bite. Moreover, you also need to give proof of the dog’s vaccination status along with the veterinarian’s address.
You can also show a certificate indicating your dog has been going trained and any DNA testing that proves your dog’s breed.
Steps to Take After A Dog Bite
After you identify the dog owner, you should inquire about the rabies status of the dog and whether or not it has been vaccinated.
For the bite, you must properly rinse the wound with water and apply antibacterial medication. The dog bite victim must then try to receive an anti-rabies vaccination after a specific time. After a dog bites, you must take some additional steps for your safety.
- Seek medical attention: Firstly, you should try to seek medical attention. Even if you think it’s a minor injury, you should still see a doctor to make sure. This is because the wound can become infected over time.
- Report the incident: After receiving medical treatment, the next step you must take is to report the attack to law enforcement. It is law enforcement who will decide whether the dog must be removed from the possession of the owner if the dog is causing a serious threat to the public.
- Gather information: If you have time, then you must document certain important information. Create a list of the following details:
- Dog description, including breed
- Any marks on the body
- Name and contact information of the dog owner
- Any details of you can recall about the event
- Photos of injuries sustained
All the above information will contribute to your evidence and strengthen your case.
Filing within the statute of limitations
Under Pennsylvania law, a victim of a dog bite generally has two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. But it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible. After all, a dog bite victim has enough on their plate. They should not be the one to deal with the legal implications of an event that is difficult or even traumatic.
Should I sue for a dog bite?
The short answer is yes. In Philadelphia, if you have been a victim of a severe dog bite then you can seek compensation for your pain, suffering, medical expenses, and lost income. You can take legal action against the dog owner or file a lawsuit for a dog bite against the negligent pet owner. Even if the bite is minor, you may still be able to receive reimbursement.
Some insurance companies may try to negotiate with you and provide you with a settlement amount. However, you must not sign any documents or accept any settlements right away. Once you accept a settlement offer, then you will not have the chance to receive any compensation in the future.
When can you be sued for an animal attack as a dog owner?
Many dog owners do not take safety precautions while walking their dogs. If your dog happens to bite someone in a public place or while someone is lawfully on private property, then you can be sued for the attack. You may have to pay the victim’s medical bills for physical injuries such as:
Even with such strict laws and regulations, there are defenses against a dog bite lawsuit. Dog owners might not be found liable in the following circumstances:
- If the victim trespassed onto private property
- If the victim provoked the dog
- If the dog was lawfully protecting its owner or someone else when the incident occurred
- If the dog was actively engaging in police or military work
Dog bites can cause physical and mental trauma to victims. If your dog happens to bite someone in a public place, then you can be responsible for the injury. Such cases become even more critical when children become victims.
What can you do as an owner to avoid aggressive behavior in dogs?
Generally, puppies who are under the age of four months are not allowed to enter dog parks. As most puppies have not yet received training, they might show aggressive behaviors in crowded and chaotic environments.
As a dog owner, you must be aware of your dog’s behavior in public spaces. Other significant measures that you can take to avoid such accidents are:
- Your must possess a license and registration for your dog by state and town rules
- Dogs must be properly vaccinated
- Pets should be spayed or neutered unless you are a professional breeder
- The dog must wear a collar with the owner’s contact information
- A dog must be leashed at all times with a leash length of eight feet or less
- Dog owners must control their pets when they take their pets to public areas.
Dogs are undoubtedly loyal and loving animals who deserve to socialize with other people and pets. However, all pet owners must exercise caution when socializing their dogs. Owners should take precautionary steps to prevent other people from getting injured.
If you were bitten by a dog, a dog bite injury lawyer can help you determine legal options for your recovery. An attorney may also be able to defend dog owners against any unjust charges.