Did you get injured after a dog bite in Carbondale? If so, a Carbondale dog bite lawyer can help you recover money to pay for medical bills and trauma associated with the attack.
Dog bite cases aren’t easy. It’s difficult to understand when and why a man’s best friend becomes aggressive. Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help you navigate the aftermath of a dog bite. Since 2008, our lawyers have helped countless injured people in Carbondale recover the compensation they deserved.
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How Can Marzzacco Niven & Associates Help Me After A Dog Bite Injury In Carbondale, PA?
Dog bites happen in an instant. Many clients are overwhelmed after getting medical treatment and dealing with the shock of an attack. Marzzacco Niven & Associates can guide you through the dog bite legal process so that you can focus on healing.
Our lawyers have over 120 years of combined experience in dog bite law. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our injured clients in Pennsylvania, including the Carbondale area. Our team has been recognized by “Super Lawyers,” “Best Lawyers in America,” and National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 40 Under 40.”
When you hire us as your lawyer, we will:
- Provide clear and candid legal advice
- Calculate your estimated damages
- Investigate the cause of the dog bite and who is responsible
- File insurance claims and negotiate with insurance, if applicable in your case
- Request and review your medical records
- Consult with expert witnesses
- File a personal injury lawsuit, when necessary
Our law firm charges a contingent fee. That means we don’t get paid unless you recover money. There’s no downside to hiring a Carbondale dog bite lawyer because it’s affordable. Call us to set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.
Who Is Liable For My Injuries After A Carbondale Dog Bite?
Usually, the dog owner is the person liable for your injuries after a dog bite. This is the most common scenario. However, sometimes dog owners leave their dogs in the care of others. In specific scenarios, the dog “keeper” may also be liable.
A dog keeper is someone responsible for the care, custody, and control of a dog. This may include a pet sitter, a dog walker, or a commercial boarding facility.
Sometimes, other parties may share responsibility for a dog bite. Depending on the circumstances of your case, this could include:
- A vet’s office
- A landlord
- A property owner
- A commercial business
Our lawyers can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries. If it’s multiple parties, we can take legal action to ensure that everyone is held accountable and you receive full compensation.
Is There A “One-Bite Rule” In Pennsylvania?
There is no “one-bite rule” in Pennsylvania. A “one-bite rule” is a law that applies in many states. Under this law, the dog owner is liable for injuries caused by their dog if they knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous or aggressive. Usually, this is proven because the dog has previously bitten someone. Hence the name “one-bite rule.”
Strict Liability For Dog Bites
Instead of a “one-bite rule,” Pennsylvania applies strict liability for dog bites. This means that the dog owner didn’t need an indication that the dog was aggressive to be held liable. A dog owner can still be responsible for damages even if their dog has never bitten anyone before.
The reason for this law is that all dogs are capable of harming people. Most dogs are friendly and well-socialized. However, it’s no secret that even the nicest dog can do serious damage when it chooses to bite. All dog owners are aware of this risk. As such, they assume the risk, and therefore the responsibility, when they own a dog.
Exceptions To The Strict Liability Rules
There are limited exceptions to the strict liability dog bite rules in Pennsylvania. The most common of these exceptions include trespassing and provocation.
If your dog is properly confined in your backyard or home, and someone trespasses on your property, your dog is allowed to bite the intruder. This is because the victim had no legal right to be present in your home. However, if you have a guest over to your house and the dog bites the guest, you will be held responsible.
Provocation is another defense against dog bite liability. Provocation is when the victim takes an action that provokes appropriate aggression from a dog. For example, attacking the dog owner, hitting or kicking a dog, or startling a dog from sleep. In these cases, it may be excusable for a dog to bite.
“Dangerous Dog” Laws In Carbondale, PA
Pennsylvania has a set of dangerous dog laws that also applies to dog owners. If a dog owner has a dangerous dog but fails to follow the law when caring for that dog, then the owner may be considered negligent. In certain circumstances, the owner could even face criminal liability.
Definition Of A Dangerous Dog
A dangerous dog is one that:
- Has inflicted a severe injury on a human without provocation
- Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal, dog, or cat
- Attacked a human without provocation, or
- Been used in the commission of a crime
Additionally, the dog must have:
- A history of attacking humans or domestic animals without provocation, or
- A propensity to attack humans or domestic animals without provocation
For this code section, a severe injury results in broken bones or disfigurement requiring stitches or cosmetic surgery.
Rules For Owners Of A Dangerous Dog
Dangerous dog owners must abide by certain requirements to keep their dogs. This includes:
- Registering the dog with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement annually
- Pay a $500 annual fee
- Confine the dog in a proper enclosure that prevents children and animals from entering, and the dog from escaping.
- Muzzle and restrain the dog while outside the enclosure
- Post a warning sign on the property
- Spay and neuter the dog
- Microchip the dog
- Take out a $50,000 surety bond payable to anyone injured by the dog
- Take out $50,000 in liability insurance to protect against dog bites
- Notify the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement if the dog escapes, attacks someone, or has died
These rules are extremely rigorous and deter many owners from keeping a dangerous dog. If an owner fails to follow the rules, they can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and/or sued civilly for damages.
Dog Bites Injuries and Risk Of Infection
Some dog bites result in minor injuries, but this isn’t always true. Many dog bites can be very severe and even deadly. This is particularly common when children are involved. Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Facial and eye injuries
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Broken or fractured bones
- Nerve damage
- Severe bruising or swelling
Dog bites are also notorious for causing severe infections. Many dogs are vaccinated, but it’s not guaranteed. Even vaccinated dogs can carry disease and bacteria in their mouth. If a dog bite goes untreated by a professional, an infection can develop and become more harmful than the bite itself.
Some of the most common diseases and infections include:
- Staph Infections
- Bacterial Infections
You should try to remember to ask the owner for vaccine confirmation after a bite. Then you should immediately go to the doctor to have the wound flushed and cleaned. This will be your best defense against an infection or disease.
What Damages Are Available For Dog Bite Victims?
Most dog bite victims can recover damages for financial losses related to the dog attack. This usually includes medical bills and the cost of ongoing treatment. In some cases, you may also be entitled to lost wages or lost earning capacity. This usually applies if you have a permanent disability or ailment that prevents you from working as before.
Many dog bite victims also experience emotional trauma after an attack. You could be entitled to compensation for this non-economic damage as well. This might include recovering costs for pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages are highly personal and will vary from case to case.
A lawyer can help you calculate your damages and understand exactly what you are entitled to after a dog bite attack.
How Long Do I Have To File A Dog Bite Lawsuit In Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you have two years to file a dog-bite lawsuit.
The clock starts from the moment of the attack. In most dog bite cases, you are immediately aware of your injuries. However, sometimes the full extent of the injury may not be clear until later. In those cases, the clock starts from the moment you knew or should have known, of your injuries.
If you miss this deadline, you will lose your chance to file a dog-bite lawsuit. That means you won’t get the opportunity to collect any damages. It’s best to involve a lawyer early on in your case so that you don’t miss important deadlines.
Contact A Carbondale Dog Bite Lawyer For A Free Consultation
If you’re ready to speak to a Carbondale dog bite lawyer, call Marzzacco Niven & Associates to set up a free consultation. Our team is available to hear the details of your case and explain your rights.
There’s no reason to delay your legal case and burden yourself with medical bills that aren’t your responsibility. Call us to get started on your path to financial and physical recovery today.