Dog Bite Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia
Being the victim of a dog bite is undoubtedly a terrifying and stressful experience. A Philadelphia dog bite lawyer at Munley Law can help.
Many Americans have furry companions; in fact, nearly one third of American homes include a canine family member. But dogs are still animals, and the risk of a bite is always present. A CDC (Center for Disease Control) study estimates that about than 4.7 million dog bites take place in the US each year. Of these, approximately 800,000 require or result in medical care. These are some staggering statistics, and yet, many Americans don’t realize that dog bite victims are eligible for compensation just the same as car accident victims.
When a dog bite accident case goes unreported, the victim waives their ability to claim any kind of monetary compensation for their pain, suffering, and medical treatment. If an individual does know that filing a claim is possible, they still may not know exactly where to turn, what kind of evidence is needed to support their claim, or how to begin the process. That’s where Munley Law steps in.
Like with all personal injury cases, Pennsylvania holds a two year statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim. However, it’s never best to wait that long. If you or a loved one is the victim of a dog bite incident, please contact us immediately for a free initial consultation. We can fight to protect your rights and ensure you receive the justice and compensation you are owed.
Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws
The laws around what’s expected of dog owners and what kind of action can be taken in the event of a bite vary from state to state. In some states, there’s a notion that a dog is entitled to “one free bite” before an owner is considered negligent, but this is not the case in Pennsylvania.
Under Pennsylvania Dog Law, a dog’s owner is legally liable for the payment of the victim’s medical bills and costs for all treatment related to the incident. Additionally, there are some instances in which a victim would be eligible for more extensive compensation, such as the cost of pain and suffering beyond just literal medical costs. This may include financial compensation for lost wages or a lowered earning potential. It may also include compensation for the emotional and psychological suffering caused by experiencing a dog bite incident. Many people experience PTSD and other forms of mental suffering after this kind of an accident, and we believe that this invisible kind of damage is just as notable and deserving of attention as a physical injury.
In order for a victim to obtain this kind of additional compensation, the injury must meet a certain standard of severity. The law defines a severe injury as “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.” (Sec. 459-102.)
Insurance companies often try to downplay the severity of an injury so that they can pay out as little as possible, but our Munley dog bite accident lawyers are here to ensure that does not happen to you/ Your dog bite attorney can assist you in gathering evidence that demonstrates the scope and extent of your injuries. Evidence may include medical bills, photos of the injury, witness statements, and more.
Your attorney can also fight back on your behalf if a court or insurance provider tries to undermine the severity of what you have experienced.
Determining Liability in a Dog Bite Incident
As discussed above, in the state of Pennsylvania, dog owners are always responsible for the injured party’s medical costs if their dog bites someone. There are some cases in which other types of claims may come into play as well. For instance, if the incident took place on the dog owner’s property, you may be able to file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance. If the dog owner is a tenant on a rental property, the landlord or owner of the property may also be found liable. Additional parties that can be liable in some cases are kennel or shelter owners (if that is where the dog is being housed at the time), parents (if the dog owner is under 18) or the party watching the dog at the time of the incident if not the owner.
In Pennsylvania, the court is not likely to uphold a case in which a dog is historically docile, unprovoked, and when there is no clear negligence in play on behalf of the owner. You, as the injured party, must prove that someone is at fault or that the dog has a history of violent incidents. Our experienced lawyers can review your case and determine both what type of claim you are eligible for and how to best go about gathering evidence to support it.
Evidence of Danger or Negligence
There’s a wide variety of evidence that can help your lawyer as they put together your case. In the state of Pennsylvania in particular, the injured party is required to prove either the owner’s negligence or the dog’s documented viciousness. Evidence to exemplify this may include:
- Evidence of lack of confinement
- If you can show that the dog was not properly confined, this may help your case. All dog owners have a responsibility to safely and properly confine their dogs, for the safety of both the animal and all other people. This includes not only confinement within a home unless the dog is supervised outdoors, but also keeping a dog on a leash at all times and places where this is required.
- Evidence of a previous attack from this same dog
- If you are attacked or bitten by a dog that has been involved in a previous incident of the same kind, this can also be of assistance to your case. If you are unsure of the dog’s past as related to biting, not to worry. Your dog bite accident lawyer will do plenty of digging as soon as they become involved in your case, and will be able to track down the dog’s history.
- The attack was unprovoked
- Dogs are animals with animal instincts, and if knowingly and wilfully provoked, they may react as such. If you can show that there was no provocation of the animal prior to your incident, this may help your accident lawyer build your case.
Frequently Asked Questions for Dog Bite Lawyers
Who is Most at Risk of a Dog Bite Accident?
While anyone can be the victim of a dog bite accident, research has shown that children are most vulnerable. In fact, the CDC estimates that approximately half of children under the age of 12 have been bitten by a dog at some point in their young lives.. At Johns Hopkins Children’s Center’s annual Pediatric Trends conference in April of 2012, Dr. Douglas Bakeroctor noted that dog bites are a “persistent and serious problem for pediatricians”. Nearly one third of pediatric bite cases result in some form of disability, and about half result in scarring. Dr. Baker also referenced a study performed in the mid 1990s, which showed that in most pediatric bite cases, the dog was known to the victim and was unrestrained on the owner’s property. Some cases even involved a dog biting a child while in a crib or cradle. It’s important to remember that even the most beloved canine companion is an animal with animal instincts, and should always be supervised when in proximity to a child.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite Accident?
If you have been bitten by a dog, your primary responsibility is to seek medical care. Your health and safety are always the number one priority. If medical personnel can’t get to you immediately, you can take several steps to prevent infection and keep your wound from worsening. The Cleveland Clinic recommends the following course of action:
- Wash the wound with soap and warm water for several minutes
- Apply pressure to the wound with a clean, dry cloth. This will help to stop the bleeding.
- If you have antibacterial cream on hand, apply some to the site of the wound.
- If you have access to clean bandages, wrap them around the wound and keep it covered until it can be examined by a doctor.
- In all cases, but particularly if the dog was a stray or unknown to you, you should be sure to get tested for rabies.
Once your physical health and safety is no longer a concern, you’ll want to consider your legal options. As soon as possible, you should contact a dog bite attorney who can help you begin the process of receiving your rightful compensation.
How Does Payment Work Between Insurance and the Liable Party?
In most cases, your insurance will cover all the costs associated with the accident so that you can be treated immediately. However, the party who is found liable is ultimately responsible for this payment. They will most likely be set up with a repayment plan in which they reimburse your insurance for all medical costs related to the dog bite accident.
What Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Do for You?
Managing the physical, mental, and emotional trauma of a dog bite incident is enough for anyone to manage. No one needs the added stress of attempting to traverse the legal system and navigate the complexities of insurance. That’s where the experienced dog bite lawyers at Munley Law step in. Whether it’s helping you gather evidence to prove negligence, making sure you’re not short-changed by an insurance company, or even going to trial on your behalf if needed, we are here.
What Are the Most Common Injuries After a Dog Bite?
Dog bites or attacks can cause serious damage, both physically and mentally. Some of the physical injuries that can occur as the result of a dog bite are:
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Ongoing emotional and psychological damage
How Munley Law Can Help
We here at Munley Law are so deeply sorry that you or a loved one has experienced an injury of any kind. Munley Law is here to help you find a way through by providing excellent legal support and services.
The accident lawyers at Munley Law are experts in all things personal injury. Munley has an impeccable record when it comes to settlements and victories, and our team consists of ten excellent, highly experienced lawyers and dozens of excellent legal support staff. Each of our lawyers has over a decade of experience, as well as hands-on trial and courtroom experience. This is not always a given when it comes to personal injury attorneys. In fact, many lawyers who work in the personal injury field have never been to trial. That is not the case here. The attorneys at Munley Law have experience and success in every aspect of the law, including trying a case in front of a jury if that’s what it takes to win you what you deserve.
Over the past 60-plus years, Munley has established itself as one of the leading personal injury firms in the nation. We do not get paid unless we win your case, and we will be by your side as you fight to make things right.
If you are in the process of seeking compensation for a dog bite incident , or if you have questions about your rights, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Munley Law. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn how we can help protect your interests.