Animal Bite Attorney
State College Pennsylvania
Every year, millions of Americans are bitten by animals. In fact, in 1994, over 4.7 million people were bitten by dogs alone. In many cases, a person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal's owner responsible party.
If you have been bitten by a dog or some exotic pet, it can be traumatic, and sometimes life threatening. The shock of having an animal, you thought to be someone’s pet attack you is traumatic enough. The medical bills, temporary or permanent disfigurement, and anxiety can turn the experience into a nightmare. Our personal injury lawyers at Goodall & Yurchak have considerable experience handling claims for injuries resulting from animal attacks and dog bites. Our personal injury attorneys understand the seriousness of a dog bite. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, attorney experienced in animal bite claims at our law firm can help you.
Children at Risk
When children are bitten—and the majority of dog bite incidents involve children—the chance for severe injuries increases. Due to their size, small children are more at risk from dog bites, especially from large dogs. Our injury lawyers at Goodall & Yurchak have handled many cases in which children have been bitten.
Responsibility of Dog Owners
Dog owners have a responsibility to control the animal. This is especially true when the dog is a so-called “high-risk breed” or has a vicious propensity. However, any dog can be dangerous and aggressive. The dog is not to blame; however, the owner is legally responsible for the animal’s behavior.
Other Responsible Parties
Animal owners are not the only people who can be held responsible for animal bites. Here are a few common scenarios where someone other than an animal owner could be held liable for an animal bite:
- Animal Keepers: Anyone who is responsible for the care or custody of an animal may be considered an owner or keeper and can be held responsible for an animal bite. Examples include kennels, a pound, or an animal sitter.
- Parents of Minors: Even if a person under 18 years of age owns the animal at issue, in many states, an injured person can bring a legal claim against the minor's parents, even if the parents had no involvement with the animal.
- Property Owners: A property owner can be liable for injuries caused by an animal the property owner has allowed onto his or her property.
- Landlords: If an apartment landlord knew (or should have known) that a tenant owned a dangerous animal, the landlord may also be liable for animal bite injuries.
Compensation for a Dog Attack
A lawyer can usually recover compensation for animal bites if the owner:
- demonstrated negligence in some way;
- gave charge of the dog to someone else who violated a leash law or another animal control ordinance; or
- kept the dog even though it had a known history of biting.
Depending on the seriousness of the dog bite or animal attack, you may be entitled to recover for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
In some instances, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish someone for his or her behavior. To justify an award of punitive damages, the wrongdoer's conduct usually must be more than negligent, such as reckless or intentional conduct. For example, if a dog owner knew his dog was very dangerous, yet repeatedly allowed the dog to run free near a school, and the dog eventually attacked a child, a jury could conclude that punitive damages are appropriate. The amount of punitive damages is not necessarily related to the actual damages one sustains but, rather, to how outrageous the animal owner's actions were.
To discuss your dog bite claim or any other matter related to an animal injury, contact our personal injury lawyer via email or phone us at (814) 237-4100 today.