Everyone who owns a pet has a responsibility to ensure that their pets do not cause harm to anyone. Unfortunately, some pet owners fail to keep an eye on their pets or fail to train them properly. A badly behaved dog, or a dog who is not properly restrained, may be prone to biting strangers or even people it knows. And in some cases, dog bites can be even more dangerous than car accidents, causing serious and painful injuries. That is why if you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, you should get in touch with an experienced Philadelphia dog bite attorney right away.
The Dangers of Dog Bites
Of course, not every dog is dangerous and prone to biting or attacking people. Most dogs are very friendly and safe to be around. However, some breeds and even some individual dogs are more dangerous than others. If a dog has a mean streak or violent tendencies, the dog should be kept well restrained around members of the public in order to prevent the dog from attacking or biting someone.
Unfortunately, not every dog owner is diligent about restraining or keeping an eye on their dogs, even if the dog is prone to biting or attacking. Some dogs who are not tied up or fenced in may attack passersby and bite or maul them, which can cause very serious injuries. The CDC estimates that around 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, and that 1 out of every 5 dog bites ultimately becomes infected. Even worse, of the 800,000 people in the U.S. who are treated for dog bites each year, over half of those victims are children, who may have a more difficult time recovering quickly from their injuries.
Both adults and children can suffer extremely serious and painful injuries if they have been bitten by a dog. The primary medical concern after a dog bite is that the bite will become infected, which can cause further issues like additional illness or even death in severe cases. But dog bites can cause other injuries as well, such as lacerations requiring stitches, broken bones, or even nerve damage. All of these injuries must be given immediate medical attention and may even require ongoing medical care like physical therapy. Many victims also suffer from emotional trauma after being bitten by a dog.
While this medical care is absolutely necessary, it does not always come cheap — a dog bite victim could end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical expenses simply to treat one dog bite. In these situations, a qualified Philadelphia dog bite lawyer can help you receive compensation for your injuries from the attacking dogs owner.
How to Handle a Dog Bite Injury
The statistics reveal that most dog bites occur around dogs that we are familiar with. But these accidents can also happen with strange dogs as well, such as in your neighborhood or parks or other public areas. No matter where you encounter a dog that seems like it is unfriendly and might attack, there are a few steps you should follow. It is important that you teach your children these rules as well so that they can protect themselves against dog bites.
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog without asking its owners permission and without someone watching the dog at all times.
- Do not disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of its puppies, which might provoke an attack.
- Do not run from an unfamiliar dog or a dog that seems likely to attack. Instead, remain motionless.
- If the dog knocks you over, curl up into a ball by tucking your head and covering your ears and neck with your hands.
- If you see a dog acting strangely, be sure to contact law enforcement and alert the dogs owner.
If you or a loved one are attacked by a dog, the very first thing you should do is to seek medical attention for your injuries. A doctor will be able to help treat the bite and will try to ensure that any infection that has happened does not go any farther. Once you have been treated by a doctor, contact our office so that we can send a qualified dog bite lawyer to your hospital room or your home for a free initial consultation about your case.
Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyer
Our attorneys understand how upsetting and scary a dog bite injury can be. We want to ensure that our clients are compensated for their injuries by the dogs owner, who is responsible for the dogs behavior. That is why your lawyer will work with you to file your claim and make sure that your rights are protected as you recover from your dog bite injuries.
When a dog owner fails to properly supervise or train his or her pet, the dog owner is putting members of the public at risk of injury. If you were attacked or bitten by someone elses dog or pet, the owner should be held legally accountable for your injuries. Pennsylvania law governing dog bites, however, is somewhat complicated and requires the accident victim to prove several things in order for the victim to be fully compensated for their injuries. The general rule is that a victim can recover full compensation for his or her injuries if the attacking dog had previously bitten another person without justification, or if the dog had demonstrated a tendency to bite without justification. Your attorney will help investigate your case and determine whether the dog who attacked you had previously bitten anyone else or whether the dog had shown a tendency to bite.
If the attack that you suffered was the first time the dog had bitten anyone, the law takes two approaches to recovery for the accident victim, depending on how serious your resulting injuries are. If you injury is severe, meaning any injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery, then you can pursue a claim against the dogs owner for your medical expenses and any other legal damages that were incurred as a result of the attack. However, the victim will have to prove that the dog attacked without being provoked by the victim. Your attorney will help you establish your proof that you did not provoke the dog prior to being attacked, such as talking to witnesses of the attack or talking to the police who responded at the scene of the attack.
If your injury is not severe, however, your claim against the dog owner will be limited to only covering your medical expenses. Your lawyer will help you gather your medical records and bills to support your claim and will help you determine whether your injuries are considered severe under the law.
Another complication in your case may be trying to establish who owns the dog. In some cases, the owner of the dog is clear. But sometimes people keep dogs that they do not own on their property or refuse to claim the dog as their own once they learn that the dog has attacked someone. Your attorney will help you investigate who the dogs owner is so that you can file your claim and recover against the proper party.
Finally, if this was the dogs first time biting someone, in order to prove your claim for damages against the dog owner, you will need to show that the dog owner behaved negligently and that his or her negligence caused your injuries. For example, if the dog was not properly chained up in the yard before it attacked you, you will need to demonstrate that the owner negligently failed to chain the dog. Our lawyers have experience with negligence claims against dog owners and will know how to demonstrate to the court that the dog owner acted negligently, which ultimately caused your injuries.
It is very important that you contact one of our Philadelphia dog bite attorneys as soon as possible after your accident. By law, these kinds of claims must be filed within two years of the attack. However, while this may seem like a long time, it becomes harder to prove your claim as time goes by. Records may get lost, people may misremember details of the attack, and you may not have access to the information you will need to prove that the dog had bitten someone before or that the dog owner acted negligently. Our lawyers know that you need time to recover from your injuries, which is why we can step in right away to help you with your claim so that you can focus on getting better. Our attorneys have years of experience handling dog bite cases in the Philadelphia area, and we work zealously on behalf of our clients to get them the compensation they are owed for their injuries if they have been attacked or bitten by a dog.