Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Philadelphia
Dogs have long been man’s best friend and are loyal pets. However, they sometimes lash out, and some breeds are capable of biting with incredible force. Dogs may bite if they feel threatened or feel the need to protect their home or their owner. While some breeds may be more dangerous than others are, any dog is capable of injuring a person, and the behavior of a dog depends on the treatment they receive from their owners and families.
Dog bite laws vary widely by region. In Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania, dog bite law considers the severity of the injury and the dog’s history when evaluating the owner’s liability for any injuries. If a dog has a history of unprovoked attacks, generally it is considered a “dangerous dog” and must be registered and housed accordingly. A dog is labeled dangerous if it meets the following criteria:
- The dog was used to commit any crime.
- The dog previously attacked a person without provocation.
- The dog has injured any person without provocation on private or public property.
- The dog has killed or injured another domestic animal without provocation outside the owner’s property.
In Pennsylvania, there is a strict liability law when it comes to dogs, and owners must keep their dogs under reasonable control at all times, even if they are not registered as “dangerous” and have no history of violence. Pennsylvania’s strict liability law also dictates that dog owners are fully responsible for any injuries their dogs inflict.
Defenses Against Dog Bite Suit
In order for a dog owner to be held accountable for injuries caused by their dog, the victim must prove that they did not provoke the dog in any way. Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence law, meaning that the compensation a victim may receive in a civil case can be reduced by a percentage equal to their degree of fault in the incident.
The victim must also have been lawfully present on the premises on which the bite occurred. For example, if the victim was willfully trespassing on private property and the property owner’s dog bit the victim, the dog’s owner would not be liable for the trespasser’s injuries, since they were not lawfully present on the property.
Proving Negligence in Philadelphia
If the dog owner can prove that the victim was illegally trespassing on private property or willfully provoked the dog in some way, they may be able to avoid being liable for damages. For both the victim of a dog bite and the dog’s owner, an experienced legal representative will make the process of assessing fault and claiming damages much smoother.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog and know that you did nothing to provoke the animal and were legally present at the place you were bitten, you will need to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner in order to win your case. In dog bite cases, that means you need to show that the owner did not exercise reasonable care in restraining their dog. This could mean that they did not properly fence their yard or that they did not have them properly leashed in a public area, and their failing led to their dog biting someone.
The legal team at Ciccarelli Law Offices believes that dog owners are entitled to their rights if their dog bites someone without provocation, and conversely need to be held accountable if their dog injures someone due to their negligence. On either side of the table, the personal injury attorneys at Ciccarelli Law aggressively defend the rights of our clients. If you’ve been involved in any situation involving a dog bite, it’s crucial that you understand your legal rights. Reach out to our team of professionals to start reviewing your case today.