Animal bite cases, Dog bites are the most frequent of the millions of animal attacks in the United States each year.
Even though dog assaults can cause small injuries, they frequently do. Dog bite victims frequently need emergency medical care for injuries, such as:
- Slashes and abrasions.
- Lacerated skin.
- Broken bones.
- Missing limbs or fingers.
- Bacterial illnesses.
- Treatment for dog bite wounds may incur high medical costs, lost productivity, and lifetime repercussions.
You might be questioning the following if a dog bit you or another animal attacked you and hurt you:
- Who is accountable?
- Can I file a lawsuit?
- Can I have my medical bills covered?
- 1 Animal bite cases, Animal Owner Responsibilities.
- 2 Laws Regarding Dog Bites: Strict Liability
- 3 Animal bite cases, One-Bite Policy.
- 4 Negligence.
- 5 Others Who May Be Responsible for Animal Bites
- 6 Defendants for Dog Bite Cases.
- 7 Animal bite cases, Questions to Ask a Lawyer.
- 8 Selecting the Best Lawyer for Your Needs.
Animal bite cases, Animal Owner Responsibilities.
According to Jason M. Lichtenstein, a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania, “dog bite liability is fairly particular to states.” For instance, in Pennsylvania, a dog attack includes both bites and charges that make you run away or trip and hurt yourself. If the dog is the direct cause of the damage, dog bite responsibility exists.
In general, there are three ways that an animal owner may be held accountable for harm brought on by their pet:
- Absolute liability
- “One-bite rule”
Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories of responsibility.
Laws Regarding Dog Bites: Strict Liability
Animal bite cases, Certain states have laws governing dog bites that hold dog owners strictly liable for any injury their dogs may cause.
Regardless of whether the owner knew or should have known the animal was harmful, strict responsibility holds owners accountable for animal attacks.
In other words, regardless of knowledge, the dog owner is automatically liable under strict responsibility if their dog causes someone harm. Whether the dog’s owner took any action to avoid the injury is irrelevant.
Read More: Personal Injury Lawsuit Filing, A Guide For It.
Animal bite cases, One-Bite Policy.
Some states have “one bite rules” that hold dog owners liable. If a dog bit or attacked someone in the past, the law says the owner should have known the animal was dangerous.
Some states that previously applied the “one bite” rule have abandoned it and no longer hold the owner accountable for prior attacks.
According to Lichtenstein, a dog in Pennsylvania had to bite someone in order for it to be deemed dangerous. Since then, the law has evolved to allow plaintiff’s counsel to prove “vicious propensities” based on the particular bite or attack in question.
Therefore, “the one-bite rule is no longer in effect in Pennsylvania… instead, the criterion is whether the controller or owner.
Other signs that a dog is dangerous to people are:
- Vet records demonstrating the dog’s hyperactivity or aggression.
- The dog frequently lunges, jumps, or growls at people or other animals.
- If the dog’s owner displayed a warning sign.
- If witnesses (such mail carriers) claim to have witnessed the dog acting aggressively.
It’s important to note that these are methods of demonstrating that a specific animal is hazardous and capable of causing harm. Some dog breeds are regarded as harmful in some areas.
Animal bite cases, Owners of dogs or other animals may also be held accountable for negligence. Essentially, being negligent refers to acting carelessly or carelessly.
A negligence claim must demonstrate four components in general:
It was the owner’s responsibility to make sure the animal was secure or contained.
The owner didn’t perform that duty. For instance, by failing to alert others about the animal or by allowing it to roam free and harm people.
Someone was hurt because the owner didn’t keep the animal contained.
Animal bite cases, The owner should have kept the animal secure, but something went wrong.
“It’s deemed carelessness per se,” he explains, “if a dog leaves the owner’s land as a result of the owner’s negligence (for example, the owner fails to close the gate or leash the dog) and the dog runs off the owner’s property and attacks someone.
According to Lichtenstein, dog owners can argue, for example, “I shut the gate and did everything I could to make sure the dog couldn’t go, but the dog got out under a scenario I have no control over,” such as breaking the leash, to counteract that specific negligence per se claim.
Others Who May Be Responsible for Animal Bites
Animal bite cases, We have been discussing the legal responsibility of pet owners up to this point.
Can anyone other than the dog’s or animal’s owner be held accountable for an animal attack? Yes. Although specifics will depend on state law, people who own or control an animal can generally be held accountable for assaults.
Animal bite cases, Animal Caretakers
People who care for or have authority over animals but do not own them are known as animal keepers. Keepers of animals can be:
- Pet or house sitters who are only temporary keepers
- Kennels, animal shelters, or veterinarians are examples of professional keepers.
What kind of legal responsibility do pet owners have?
Animal keepers typically have the same liability as owners. Depending on the state and specific facts, it may be considered carelessness for improperly handling a dangerous animal, strict responsibility, or a “should have known” standard.
Animal bite cases, Landlords
Can a deadly animal ever hold a landlord or other property owner liable?
Unless they knew the animal was hazardous and allowed it to reside on the property, landlords are often not responsible for the pets of their renters.
It can be challenging to establish that a landlord had real awareness of a dog’s harmful habits. To put it another way, he claims that it “is typically exceedingly difficult for a plaintiff’s attorney to be successful in a claim against out-of-possession landlords.”
Defendants for Dog Bite Cases.
A few possible defenses for dog owners and keepers against dog bite accusations include:
Animal bite cases, Trespassing.
The dog owner may not be liable for the attack if the victim of the dog bite was intruding on private property at the time of the attack. State law will determine this.
Taking on the risk.
The owner of the dog might not be liable if the victim of the dog bite voluntarily ran the risk of being bitten.
Intimidating the dog.
If the dog was provoked or attacked by the victim first, the owner may not be liable for injuries caused as a result of the attack.
Animal bite cases, Questions to Ask a Lawyer.
Anyone harmed by a violent dog must see an attorney, according to Lichtenstein. An attorney with experience in animal attack cases will be familiar with the laws in your state and be able to advise you on your legal options.
The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the better. Thankfully, a lot of lawyers offer free consultations to potential clients.
During your early interactions, consider the following helpful questions to ask:
- What choices do you have for billing and attorney fees?
- What background do you have with cases of animal attack?
- Who might be accountable in my situation for injuries?
- What kind of damages could I claim in a lawsuit?
- In my case, are there any viable alternatives to filing a lawsuit?
- The likelihood of a settlement is what?
Selecting the Best Lawyer for Your Needs.
Animal bite cases, It is crucial to contact the appropriate kind of lawyer—someone who can assist you with your case from beginning to end. To find a lawyer based on your legal situation or location, go to the Super Lawyers directory and use the search box.
Find a lawyer that specializes in animal bite law to get legal counsel in a situation involving an animal bite.