Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Biker injured in collision with dog allowed to pursue lawsuit

We've all experienced that heart-stopping moment when you're driving along at a normal rate of speed when a dog suddenly darts directly into your path before jumping out of the way just in time. If you think this is terrifying, consider it happening when you're riding a bicycle, where this threat of a collision -- and an actual collision -- can have far more significant consequences, including losing control and crashing.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to a man in New York City several years ago, when a sudden collision with a dog caused him to suffer incredibly serious personal injuries and pursue a subsequent lawsuit for damages.

According to court documents, the 46-year-old man was enjoying a bike ride through New York's picturesque Central Park back in 2009 when he saw a man with a 45-pound shepherd mix crouching near the side of the park's loop road.

The documents allege that the man was holding the dog with his arms, while his girlfriend was situated directly across the road clapping her hands and calling for the dog to come to her.

Here, the complaint states that the bicyclist yelled out a warning, but that it was too late. The dog crossed directly in his path, and the ensuing collision resulted in him being flung from the bike, leaving him with smashed teeth and a broken jaw.

Interestingly, when the man first attempted to hold the owners of the dog accountable for their negligence via a lawsuit, the Appellate Division in Manhattan dismissed his case.

However, the court reversed its decision just last week following a recent decision in which it held that animal owners can indeed be held liable for their pet's actions even if the behavior is clearly not a demonstration of a "vicious propensity" toward misbehavior.

This essentially means that the man is now free to pursue his case.

Cases like these demonstrate just how important it is for anyone who suffers injuries because of what they believe to be the negligence of another here in Pennsylvania to strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can help them determine whether they have a premises liability (i.e., slip and fall, dog bite, etc.) case.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Central Park bicyclist injured in collision with dog can sue owners for negligence: court," Barbara Ross, October 3, 2013 

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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