Despite the affection we hold for our canine pets, there are times when dogs bite people without being provoked. If you are the victim of a dog attack, you might have suffered severe injuries and emotional trauma. If you are the owner of a dog who bit someone, you face potential liability for the alleged victim’s medical bills, economic losses, and pain and suffering. Either way, you need trustworthy representation from an experienced dog bite lawyer. At Noel & Bonebrake, our attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience in highly contested civil litigation, including dog bite cases. Having litigated both sides of this legal problem, we have thorough knowledge of the standards courts use to judge issues such as owner negligence and provocation. We have the skill and determination necessary to fight for the best possible outcome under the facts of your case.
The laws of the commonwealth make dog owners strictly liable for the medical costs associated with an unprovoked dog bite. A victim may feel that having the doctor bill paid is sufficient for a slight nip, but a serious dog attack can inflict a wide range of losses on the victim, including:
Most tragically, a dog attack victim can suffer wrongful death. Under these circumstances, a victim would naturally want to recover for all losses, but this requires proof of the dog owner’s liability.
In Pennsylvania dog bite cases, there are several ways a victim can prove liability:
Defenses are available for the dog owner, including trespassing, provocation, and the victim’s assumption of risk. However, if a dog is deemed vicious, trespass is not a defense to an attack.
If you have been bitten by a dog, the law doesn’t require you to hire a personal injury attorney. You can attempt to settle your case with the owner’s insurance company. However, that strategy puts you at a distinct disadvantage, since you would be negotiating with professionals whose job it is to minimize the amount you recover. To maximize your potential recovery, you should:
If the dog was roaming loose when it attacked you, you must contact Animal Control to apprehend the dog, so you can make a positive identification. It is also important to find out if the dog is current on its legally mandated rabies vaccination to ensure you are not at risk of contracting this deadly disease. Under Pennsylvania law, “A dog or cat over 3 months of age shall be vaccinated to maintain immunity against rabies by the administration of a USDA licensed vaccine, including vaccines producing immunity lasting 3 years, in accordance with instructions prescribed by the manufacturer.”
When you contact our office, we can immediately begin investigating your case and assembling the evidence necessary to support your claim.
An allegation of an attack has serious consequences for an owner. Your family pet could be adjudicated as a dangerous dog, forcing you to comply with onerous regulations for its care, and you could be held liable for the alleged victim’s personal injuries. Before you try to settle this case on your own, or admit to any fault, you must retain professional counsel.
Our dog bite attorneys regularly work with owners and their insurance companies to resolve bite claims. We understand the full range of defenses available to owners and work diligently to assemble any evidence that could raise doubt about the victim’s claim. If there is reason to believe the dog was provoked, if the victim was unlawfully on your property, or if the victim knew of the dog’s propensity but approached the animal anyway, you may not be liable under the law.
Noel & Bonebrake provides high-quality legal representation for plaintiffs and defendants in dog bite cases. Call us today at 215-600-3189 or contact our Media office online to schedule a free consultation. We represent plaintiffs on a contingent basis, so there is no cost until you recover compensation by verdict or settlement.