Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs are man’s best friend. These creatures are so well loved that millions of us have opened our homes and our lives to them. However, regardless of how we humans feel about dogs, they are still animals, and as such are largely unpredictable.
Literally millions of people suffer some kind of dog related injury each year. However, most of these 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 a personal injury attorney immediately to ensure you receive the compensation you are due.
Dog Bite Law
Pennsylvania law requires that owners 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 which occur as a result of his or 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 bitten someone in the past, or the owner otherwise should have known of the dog’s propensity for violence.
However, if the dog has never bitten anyone 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 that is deemed “Not Severe” allows only for recovery of medical expenses. However, all the victim of an injury which is not severe must prove to recover 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 needs to 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 summary offense 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 need 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 retain a lawyer 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 generally will try to settle for pennies on the dollar before a victim consults an attorney.
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 might think. Because of the one-bite rule and negligence standards, proving responsibly is not as easy as one might assume. Protect yourself, and consult with a dog bite lawyer who understands what it takes to get you the award you deserve, so you can put this bad experience behind you.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.