Between four and five million Americans suffer dog bites each year. While most of these are minor, approximately 800,000 are serious enough to require medical attention and/or dog bite lawyers.
Fortunately, dog owners can be held liable for the injuries their animals cause. If you’ve been involved in a dog bite or animal attack, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages. Let the experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyers at Silver & Silver help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
While we love our pets as family members, some dog owners don’t take responsible ownership of their dogs or keep dangerous dogs in their care that can be harmful to others.
Dog bites from strange, sick, or dangerous dogs can be particularly harmful, especially to children. A dog owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their animal, but legal liability isn’t always straightforward.
Dangers of a Dog Bite
A dog’s first line of attack is its teeth, so most injuries sustained in a dog attack are puncture and tearing wounds.
Dogs, as carnivores, have jaws and teeth that are designed to tear into meat. Front teeth grab and compress tissue and tear the skin, often resulting in deep, jagged wounds. In addition, roughly half of all dog bites introduce some form of bacteria that can lead to severe infection.
A dog bite can cause
- Serious scarring
- Tendon damage
- Nerve damage
- Damage to limbs, face, head, and torso
- Crush injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Soft tissue and organ damage
- Emotional distress and post-traumatic stress
Unfortunately, jagged wounds from a dog bite can take more medical and emotional intervention to treat, often requiring years of reconstructive surgery and psychological therapy. Serious injuries can lead to permanent scarring, complications, and even fatality.
Who is Responsible for a Dog Bite?
Under Pennsylvania law, the owner or keeper of a dog has a duty to keep their dog from harming others. A dog owner can be held liable for medical bills and other damages for harm done by their animal, but only under certain conditions.
Was the dog properly confined and controlled? Under Pennsylvania’s animal confinement law, a dog owner must confine or secure their animal so it can’t stray from the premises. The city of Philadelphia also has an ordinance that requires all dogs to be on a six-foot or shorter leash. But if a dog has gotten loose and bites someone, it can become the victim’s burden to prove the owner was negligent.
Pennsylvania also recognizes what is commonly known as the “one-bite rule.” When a dog bites a person, it is likely that it will bite again in the future. The one-bite rule provides that an owner of a dog with a propensity for violence or aggressive behavior must take proper precautions to prevent others from being harmed by their animal.
If they haven’t, they can be held liable for any injuries caused by their animal. Some owners may even be charged with a criminal offense if they were found to have been “harboring a dangerous dog.”
What Damages Can You Seek Compensation for After a Philadelphia Dog Bite?
Seeking damages in a dog bite case can depend on many factors, such as whether the dog was considered dangerous, whether the owner was found negligent, whether the dog had been provoked, or other various matters surrounding the case.
Possible damages you may be able to recover in a dog bite injury case can include
- Your medical costs, including emergency costs, doctor bills, surgery, hospital stays, prescription medication, and rehabilitative recovery
- Any future medical intervention that may be required for your injuries
- Loss of wages if you were unable to work during your hospitalization or recovery
- Loss of future income if your injuries resulted in a disability
- Emotional distress, pain, and suffering that may have resulted from your injuries
- Wrongful death benefits if the injuries result in the fatality of a loved one
There are nuances and limitations to dog owner liability and what types of compensation are available to an injured party. Because of this, it is critical to get the guidance and legal assistance of a highly experienced injury lawyer in Philadelphia.
If you have sustained a dog bite injury and are considering bringing a dog bite lawsuit or accepting a dog bite settlement, let the Philadelphia dog bite lawyers at Silver & Silver protect your legal rights.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
When you’ve been injured by a dog, get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you consider it a minor bite, the wound should be cleaned and medically attended to as quickly as possible to avoid infection.
Notify Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health at (215) 685-6748 to report the incident. Their Division of Disease Control will evaluate whether you may be at risk of a rabies infection.
Safeguarding your legal rights is also critical. The more evidence you have to prove a potential dog bite lawsuit or claim, the better.
- Make a note of the circumstances surrounding the attack and how the bite occurred, noting a description of the animal and whether it was a stray or a pet.
- Get the owner’s name, address, and any other defining information if it was a pet.
- Take a photo of your injuries, any clothing you are wearing, and the surrounding area where the attack occurred.
- Consult with a Philadelphia injury lawyer to understand your rights and whether you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.
Getting the Legal Guidance of an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in Philadelphia
If you’ve sustained a dog bite injury, don’t try to navigate it alone. Get the skilled advice of experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyers.
At Silver & Silver, we will work tirelessly to recover compensation for our clients so they can heal and move on with their lives. Contact us at (610) 658-1900 or through our website and schedule a no-cost consultation. We don’t charge any legal fees until we recover compensation on your behalf.
This website is designed to provide only general information. The information presented on this website is not formal legal advice. You should not rely on any general information from any source for making legal decisions. Each legal matter is unique and requires specific attention from a qualified and experienced attorney. Unless a representation agreement has been signed with the Law Offices of Silver and Silver, we are not your legal representatives.