It is potentially the most common injury that a vet sees. Dogs biting another dog doesn’t always mean aggressive or violent behavior. Sometimes it happens when two dogs are just playing. They are like children for a lot of Americans.
However, in terms of aggressive dog on dog attacks, Americans involved tend to spend millions of dollars alone in veterinary bills while losing even more in property losses due to the incident.
Veterinary bills add up, just like medical bills do. If you lose track of them, you can instantly be swamped in costs. However, when someone else is to blame, that’s when you deserve compensation for what happened.
Always be sure that you know your rights and obligations after a dog bite in pennsylvania, what evidence you need in order to prove that the other dog owner is liable for what happened, and the proper steps to pursuing a legal claim against that owner for compensation.
Legal Duty of Care
Duty of Care is a nice legal phrase that means “an obligation to be careful not to harm others”. Anyone who owns a dog has a legal obligation to make sure their dog doesn’t hurt another person, another dog, or damage someone else’s property.
Now, of course we consider our dogs as family. They become part of our daily routine, and we love them unconditionally. A lot of Americans consider dogs as their own children. However, by law, dogs, cats and other domesticated animals are considered property under the law.
Also, it really does pay to know the dog bite and animal control laws in the city of Philadelphia, as well as some of the legal terms that go along with it. One thing that is important to know though, liability does not extend to any sort of mental anguish and emotional distress that an owner suffers when their dog is involved in an incident that leads to injury or death.
Liability of the Owner
Dog on dog aggression can be exceptionally hectic when trying to sort it out. Proving liability is so difficult in an instant, whatever happened could be over. Dog aggression can escalate exceptionally quick, happen in a flash, and leave some people questioning what actually happened. When it comes to determining who started the incident, it’s always one word against the other.
Location, location, location.
Location is key, people say it all the time. For this though, let’s use a scenario.
You live in a nice neighborhood; you have a nice fenced in back yard with a little French Bulldog that cannot escape. Your neighbor’s Mastiff decides that it wants into the yard, busts through the fencing, and attacks and severely injured your dog. Now, that’s clear who is at fault there. There is clear evidence that the Mastiff broke through your private property and attacked your dog.
Now, different scenario with you and your Frenchie. You decide to take them to a dog park where your Frenchie, unleashed, is tormenting every dog there. It runs up to a German Shepherd who is leashed sitting next to their owner and starts tormenting the dog to the point where the German Shepherd bites back and severely hurts your dog. Who is really at fault there?
If the dog in question that caused the incident invaded your living space and attacked your dog, you will have a much easier time making a claim for the damages. However, when the circumstances remain unsure, you need to find another way to prove the defendant’s negligence in the situation.
Indicators to Keep an Eye On
1. Dangerous Dog Laws
Always be sure that you check out your state, municipal, and neighborhood dog laws to make sure that you are educated. These laws contain detailed information about any banned or restricted breeds or mixed breeds within your area. Now, if the owner of a dog involved in an incident knew that they had a restricted or banned breed, then that owner may be held accountable or negligent automatically.
2. History – Ask neighbors.
Ask them if they had any incidents with the owner or the dog in question. If so, continue looking into further, because you want to gather as much substantial information to help strengthen your case as much as possible. This also means that you can check with local animal control to see if they have any sort of records involving that dog.
3. Running Unsupervised
By far one of the easiest things to prove in a case is whether an owner is negligent and therefore liable for an incident by ways of not leashing or containing their dog. Letting your dog run loose and not contained automatically means that the owner is negligent and therefore liable for what happened.
Gathering Evidence you Need
This is one of the more important steps that every claim needs. There are multiple forms of evidence that can help define the liability aspect of your case.
One of the key forms is to get photos and videos of the incident. Take pictures of your dog, your dog’s injuries, and the blood on the ground to start. If you are able to manage it safely, get photos of the other dog and the other owner. And when you take the pictures, make sure that you have the camera’s date and time stamp activated in order to eliminate any aspect of reasonable doubt of when the photos were taken.
Another crucial aspect of your evidence gathering would be to get witness statements. Having multiple witness testimonies are able to accurately paint a vivid and detailed picture of what happened. So never hesitate when asking for witness contact information, gather as many as you can in terms of witnesses and testimonies. The more detailed picture you have, the stronger your case is.
Lastly, receipts. Having receipts of any sort of medical bills, vet bills, out-of-pocket expense, and any other sort of financial documents can help your claim exponentially. It shows how much damage was caused in a fiscal sense because it provides a clean and accurate paper trail to follow.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Contact the owner of the dog as quickly as possible after an incident. You want to confirm the owner’s name and contact information, and then you want to confirm if they have a homeowner’s insurance policy. If they do, ask for the name and the policy number for their insurance.
Any sort of injuries or damages that were caused by a dog is usually covered under the policy. This also includes when the policyholder’s dog is involved in an incident away from the owner’s home.
However, due to the number of personal injury claims increasing, insurance companies are starting to exclude coverage for certain breeds considered to be dangerous. If the any company denies your claim because of this, that means you have to file a claim with the owner directly.
A Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney Can Help!
You have come this far. You moved your claim forward as much as possible. And if you want to continue forward with it, you have the ability to do so on your own. However, it is never too late to get in touch with an attorney, especially if you run into a roadblock with your claim.
This is where I come in. For over 30 years, I have helped the citizens of the Philadelphia earn the compensation they deserve for their personal injury needs. If you believe you have a claim due to a negligent dog owner, schedule your free consultation with us today!