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Did You Suffer an Injury After a Dog Bite in Bethlehem? Let Us Help

Dogs can be loyal companions, steadfast guards, and loving members of the family. If you get on the wrong side of a dangerous dog, however, they can also be terrifying attackers. Getting bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience. In addition to the injuries suffered from a dog attack, you are likely to suffer severe emotional distress stemming from an attack by a vicious dog.

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If you have suffered from a dog attack in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, you need to be aware of your rights to recover compensation for both medical expenses and emotional distress. Dog owners in the Lehigh Valley are ultimately responsible for the actions of their animals and are required to make up for the injuries they cause. An experienced Bethlehem dog bite lawyer from Munley Law can be an invaluable resource in getting the compensation you deserve.

Attorney Caroline Munley working in her office

What to Do After a Dog Attack in Bethlehem

According to insurance company statistics, Pennsylvania was the 5th highest state in the nation for dog bite attacks, with 787 claims filed in 2020, a 27 percent increase from the previous year. The total amount of financial recovery from those dog attacks was more than $35 million.

Despite the shock you are likely to experience from a Bethlehem dog attack, there are important steps you can take right from the beginning that can help ensure you recover compensation.

Identify the Animal

There is no way you can recover damages for dog attacks without knowing who is ultimately responsible for the dangerous dog. In some cases, the dog may be known to you in your Bethlehem neighborhood. But if the attack takes place in an unfamiliar place in Bethlehem or with an unfamiliar dog, then you will have to take steps to identify the animal and its owner.

If the attack takes place at a Bethlehem residence not your own, then you can write down identifying details of the location, including the address and the names of any Bethlehem resident on the mailbox. If you can do so safely, then you could try and speak to the property owner or anyone who seems to be handling the dog.

You could also try and take a picture of the dog with a cell phone after you are able to escape to safety. There may also be witnesses to the dog attack whom you could speak with; it’s possible they know the dog or the owner and could help you identify them.

Seek Medical Care

It’s important to see a Bethlehem doctor as soon as possible after a dog attack. A dog bite might not seem like a severe injury, but it is possible that the injury is worse than it appears and will require urgent medical care to prevent it from getting worse. In addition, seeking medical treatment in a Lehigh Valley hospital will help you document your injuries in the event that you later file an injury claim for your medical bills.

File a Report

After you suffer a dog bite attack, it is also a good idea to file a report with the Bethlehem Animal Control Officer, giving them as many details as you can about the dog attack, including the type of dog, location, and any information you have about the dog’s owner. If you are not able to identify the dog and dog owner, then the Animal Control Officer may be able to help by conducting its own investigation into the dog attack, determining the identity of the dog and whether or not it is up-to-date on rabies injections and other vaccinations.

Personal Injury Attorney John Mulcahey working at his desk

How a Bethlehem Dog Bite Attorney Can Help

In addition to seeking medical treatment in a Lehigh Valley hospital and investigating the identity of the dog and owner yourself, it can be very helpful right from the outset to hire an experienced Bethlehem dog bite lawyer. A trained dog bite attorney can conduct their own investigation into the dog bite case, helping you uncover more information about the dog attack. In addition, they can help to determine who is legally at fault for the dog attack and what kind of economic damages you may be entitled to receive.

Once they determine liability and damages, a Bethlehem dog bite attorney can negotiate with an animal owner or insurance company on your behalf, or if that is unsuccessful, they can bring a dog bite case to court. In addition, a Bethlehem dog bite attorney can help to defend you against counter-claims that you were trespassing or provoked the dog into an attack that resulted in an animal bite.

Who is Liable for a Bethlehem Dog Bite Injury?

By law, a Bethlehem dog owner is required to keep the dog contained on their property, or otherwise on a leash when they are not at home. Victims of dog bites are required to receive compensation for damages from negligent dog owners when they are not living up to the requirements of this statute.

Lehigh Valley area dog owners are subject to a “one-bite rule,” which means that they can be held responsible for dog bites perpetrated by their animal even if it does not have a prior history of an attack.

Even if you are on another person’s property, they may still be liable for dog bite injuries caused by their animal. That is because a Bethlehem, PA resident is required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition to prevent injuries by anyone who comes onto them, for example, a postal carrier delivering mail, an area of law known as premises liability.

In fact, the dog’s owner may not be the only party liable in the event of a serious dog bite attack. In addition, anyone responsible for managing the dog or the premises may be liable if they were aware of the dog’s presence and did not take adequate care in restraining it to prevent an animal attack. This might include the property owner, landlord, management company, private business, or government agency responsible for maintaining the area. It could even include a dog walker or groomer who had the dog under their care.

If you were attacked by a dangerous dog in Bethlehem, contact our Bethlehem premises liability lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

What Kind of Injuries Can Result from a Dog Bite Attack?

A dog’s jaw can be a potent weapon that a vicious dog can use in a variety of ways to inflict injuries on a target. In addition, large or aggressive dogs such as a pitbull can jump on a Bethlehem dog bite victim, or otherwise pummel them with their massive weight. As a result, dog attacks can cause lacerations and puncture wounds from the teeth of the dog, which can sometimes be so severe they lead to permanent scarring.

Dog bite victims can also suffer from broken bones and crushing injuries from the force and weight of the animal. In serious dog bite cases, a Bethlehem dog bite victim can suffer severe injuries such as eye injuries, hearing or vision loss, nerve damage, internal bleeding, and even limb amputation. In these cases, medical bills can be substantial and life-changing, making it paramount that a Bethlehem dog bite victim receives fair compensation from the negligent dog owner in order to pay them.

munley law attorneys walking down the street

What Kind of Damages Can Result from a Dog Bite Claim?

Medical expenses from a dog bite attack can be substantial. In addition to bills for medical treatment, medical expenses can include fees for ambulance, hospitalization, surgery, ongoing physical therapy, nursing assistance, and long-term care.

In addition, expenses for which dog bite victims may be entitled to include other economic damages, such as lost wages during the time spent in rehabilitation, and reduced earning capacity due to long-term effects of the injury.

A Lehigh Valley dog bite victim may also be entitled to receive damages for more intangible injuries, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, and permanent scarring and disfigurement due to the dog bite attack.

The total amount of financial recovery from dog bite claims can be quite high, with an average award of $45,134 in 2020. The compensation amounts for more complicated or severe cases, however, can reach into the hundreds of thousands.

What is the Process for a Bethlehem Dog Bite Claim?

When a dog bite occurs, a Bethlehem dog attack attorney will assess the incident in order to determine what compensation a victim might be entitled to receive. For example, a PA dog bite lawyer may investigate how the attack occurred, and any negligence on the part of dog owners. They might also determine whether the dog was officially registered as a dangerous dog, which requires a property owner to take additional precautions in containing the animal to prevent the attack.

Once a Bethlehem dog bite attorney determines these facts, they will then attempt to negotiate with the dog owner or–more likely–their pet insurance company or homeowner’s insurance company, in order to obtain compensation for medical expenses and other charges associated with the dog bite injuries. If that negotiation is unsuccessful, or if the final offer for settlement is not high enough to cover medical expenses and emotional injuries, then the Bethlehem dog bite lawyer may take legal action by filing a suit in court before a Pennsylvania judge or jury.

A dog bite victim has two years from the date of the dog bite to file a dog bite claim for damages, making it essential that they start the process of investigating the claim, seeking medical care, and taking appropriate legal action.

Contact Munley Law Today

If you have been injured in a dog bite attack, contact Munley Law to find out what kind of compensation you might truly be entitled to receive. For over 60 years, the lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have represented injury victims, including dog bite victims, throughout Lehigh County and the entire state of Pennsylvania.  We understand how complicated these cases can sometimes be and are ready to answer any questions you may have about your case.

Our dog bite lawyers have consistently been named among the Best Lawyers in America, selected to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, and are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. And, we get results – our lawyers have achieved numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts.

Ask for a free consultation

The Bethlehem personal injury lawyers at Munley Law care very deeply about our clients. Our compassionate attorneys and our entire staff will do everything in our power to help you during this time of need. You can count on our team—we have decades of success and satisfied clients, and we will devote all of the time and resources necessary for you to win your case.

We know you have questions but may be nervous to contact a car accident lawyer. That’s why our law firm offers FREE, no-obligation case evaluations to all accident victims. You can reach someone from our staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter how complicated or difficult your case may be, we will review the facts and explain what legal options are available to you. Chat live, email us, or call today.

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