Dog Bite Lawyer in Philadelphia
Dogs are man's best friend. So much so, that millions of us have opened our homes and our lives to them. However, no matter how we as humans feel about dogs, they are animals and are thus largely unpredictable.
Literally millions of people suffer some kind of dog related injury every year but most go unreported. Under Pennsylvania law, the owner's responsibility for their animal is quite clear. If you have been injured by another person's dog, you should hire an Attorney immediately to ensure you receive the compensation you are due.
Dog Bite Law
Pennsylvania law requires owners to maintain control over their dogs, be that through fences, cages, or leashes. The owner of the animal is required to control the animal and is responsible for damages and injuries that occur as a result of his/her lack of control. The law creates categories for dog bite victims. They differ based on whether this was a first bite or a second bite, the extent of the injuries and of the owner's negligence, and whether the dog is known to be violent or a member of a violent breed.
The "ONE-BITE RULE" is the rule which allows a victim to recover full compensation for any injuries caused by a dog where the dog has bit someone in the past or the owner should have known of the dog's propensity for violence.
However, if the dog has never bitten someone previously, the extent of the owner's liability is determined by the severity of the injury. A "SEVERE INJURY" is any injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery. A victim with a "severe injury" may recover medical bills, financial losses, and legal damages. This person must also prove that the dog caused this "severe injury" without provocation.
An injury which is deemed NOT SEVERE allows only for recovery of medical expenses. All this victim must prove is that the owner is in fact the owner of the dog.
The legal doctrine of NEGLIGENCE PER SE has been adopted by Pennsylvania. This applies to situations in which the owner did not properly control the dog - as discussed above - or lost control of the dog. In utilizing this legal theory, the victim must establish that the owner was negligent by not adhering to the control requirements of Dog Law.
In addition to civil compensation, a dog owner may be found guilty of a misdemeanor under the DANGEROUS DOG LAW. An individual will be found guilty of harboring a dangerous dog if without provocation (1) the dog has ever severely injured a person, severely injured or killed a domestic animal off the owner's property, attacked a person, and/or been used in the commission of a crime; (2) if the dog has a history of attacking people or domestic animals and/or a propensity to attack people or domestic animals; and (3) if the owner is in fact the owner or keeper of the dog. It is important to note that based on these elements, the dog does not have to have a history of previously attacking a person or animal to be deemed a dangerous dog and in this instance the one free bite may not apply.
It is best to obtain an attorney to ensure that you receive the money you deserve from a dog bite matter. Whether it be from homeowner's insurance or the owner directly, you deserve to be appropriately compensated for your losses. For whatever reason, most dog bites go unreported and insurance companies typically try to settle for pennies on the dollar before a victim consults a lawyer.
Hire an experienced dog bite lawyer so that you can begin the process of recovering a fair and full reward rather than accepting minimal compensation from an insurance company or owner.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
You need a lawyer because unfortunately a dog bite case is not as simple as one would think. Because of the one-bite rule and negligence standards, proving responsibly is not as easy as one would assume. Protect yourself and consult with a dog bite lawyer who understands what it takes to get you the reward you deserve so that you can put this bad experience behind you.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.