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08 Mar

Pet-Related Injuries and Liability: When Man’s Best Friend Causes Harm

Pets, particularly dogs, are often considered part of the family, offering companionship, love, and sometimes even protection. However, there are instances when man’s best friend can cause harm, either through bites, attacks, or other behaviors that result in injuries to people or damage to property. When such incidents occur, the question of liability comes to the forefront, leaving pet owners and victims navigating a complex legal landscape. At SELPH LAW, located at 6047 Frantz Road, Dublin, OH 43017, Suite 101, we specialize in personal injury law, including cases involving pet-related injuries. This blog post aims to shed light on the issue of pet-related injuries and liability, offering guidance to both pet owners and those who have been injured.

Understanding Pet-Related Injuries
Pet-related injuries can vary widely in severity, from minor scratches to serious wounds requiring medical attention. Dog bites are among the most common forms of pet-related injuries, with millions of Americans bitten each year. However, pets can also cause harm through other means, such as knocking someone over, leading to falls or collisions.

Liability for Pet-Related Injuries
The legal principles governing liability for pet-related injuries vary by jurisdiction, but there are several common frameworks:

Strict Liability: Many states have strict liability laws for dog bites, meaning the pet owner is liable for any injury caused by their dog biting someone, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of any potential for aggression.
Negligence: In some cases, liability may be based on negligence if the pet owner failed to take reasonable steps to control their pet or prevent the injury. This could include failing to leash a dog in a public space or not securing a fence properly.
“One Bite” Rule: Some jurisdictions follow the “one bite” rule, where owners are only held liable for a dog bite if they knew or should have known that their dog had the tendency to bite. This often applies to dogs that have bitten someone before or shown aggressive behavior.

Preventing Pet-Related Injuries
Pet owners can take several steps to minimize the risk of their pets causing harm, including:

Training and socialization to ensure pets are well-behaved around people and other animals.
Adhering to local leash laws and ensuring pets are secured within property boundaries.
Seeking professional advice if a pet shows signs of aggression or other problematic behaviors.

What to Do If You’re Injured
If you’ve been injured by someone else’s pet, there are important steps to take:

Seek medical attention for your injury.
Document the incident, including taking photos of your injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and obtaining contact information for the pet owner and any witnesses.
Report the incident to local authorities, such as animal control or the police.
Consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in pet-related injuries to explore your options for seeking compensation.

How SELPH LAW Can Help

At SELPH LAW, we understand the emotional and physical toll of pet-related injuries. Our experienced attorneys can assist victims by:

Evaluating your case and advising on the best course of action.
Investigating the incident, including gathering evidence and witness statements.
Navigating the legal process, from filing insurance claims to representing you in court if necessary.
We also offer guidance to pet owners on mitigating liability risks and responding to incidents involving their pets.

While pets bring much joy and companionship, it’s important for pet owners to understand their responsibilities and for victims of pet-related injuries to know their rights. Whether you’re a pet owner facing liability concerns or someone who has been injured by a pet, SELPH LAW is here to provide expert legal support and advocacy. Contact us at (614)-453-0971 to discuss your situation and learn how we can help.

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