If you were attacked by a dog, contact a dog bite lawyer at Munley Law for a free consultation.
Any type of animal attack can be devastating. Often, the victim of a dog bite will have both physical and emotional scarring. This is where our experienced dog attack attorneys can help.
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For over 60 years, the dog bite lawyers at Munley Law have represented injury victims throughout Pennsylvania. We understand how complicated these cases can sometimes be and are ready to answer any questions you may have about your dog attack. Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies cover dog bite injury damages, so let us help you recover the damages you deserve for your scarring, pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages from your dog bite injury.
Our injury attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients and have received accolades for our work from our peers and prestigious legal organizations such as Best Lawyers, the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and U.S. News and World Report. If you want a dog bite lawyer in Pennsylvania who will fight for your rights, then you want Munley Law. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today, submit a chat, or fill out our online contact form.
What is Pennsylvania’s Dog Bite Law?
Most states have laws that make dog owners strictly liable for all dog bites. This means that if a dog bites you, its owner is automatically responsible for any injuries. However, some states, including Pennsylvania, requires the injured victim to show in the dog owner’s negligence when the attack occurred.
In Pennsylvania, the injured party must show that the dog owner made some kind of mistake, such as:
- failing to keep a dog restrained
- failing to warn others of a dog’s known dangerous propensity or aggressive disposition
- or failing to keep a dog known to be dangerous away from others.
Every state holds dog owners who knew of a dog’s tendency to bite without provocation responsible. Of course, in most states, where strict liability is the law, proving the dog’s history of biting is not necessary.
What is the “One Bite Rule” in Dog Bite Cases?
The “one bite rule” and “first bite free rule” are deceptive terms. Pennsylvania law does not require an actual dog “bite.” Dog bite cases in PA fall under strict liability tort. What this means is the owner will be held liable if the dog attacks someone, as long as the victim was not breaking the law at the time of the incident, and did not provoke the dog.
For example, let’s say your neighbor’s dog barks at you every time you walk past their house but is usually on a leash. One day, as you walk past the house, the dog breaks its leash and runs after you. It attacks your foot, causing a deep puncture wound in your ankle. Although the dog’s owner had the animal tied up, they are still responsible for the dog bite.
It’s also important to note that strict liability pays for only your medical costs. If the owner or caretaker of the animal had acted in a negligent manner or had known about the dog’s violent tendencies, you can file for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Using the previous example, let’s say the dog was not tied up at the time of the attack and was just running around loose in the year. The dog had a history of attacking neighbors and since its owner failed to properly leash the dog, you can file a dog bite lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
Dog bite victims must file their lawsuits within 2 years of the attack. Minor victims must file their lawsuits within two years of turning 18.
What Do I Do Following a Dog Bite?
If you are the victim of a dog attack in Pennsylvania, your first action is to get as far away as possible from the animal. Then, do the following:
- Your first step is to get medical treatment right away. A puncture wound can easily become infected and there may be a chance the dog is not up to date with its vaccinations. Remember to take a photo of the dog bite injuries before treatment.
- Try to get the owner’s name and contact information. You’ll also want to verify the dog’s vaccination history. Try to get as much information about the dog as you can, such as what type of breed they are and if they have a history of biting.
- If there were any witnesses to the attack, remember to get their information as well. When filling out the insurance claim, a witness’ testimony can help prove your story.
- Your next step is to call animal control or the local police department to fill out an incident report. This will not only help your case but prevent any future attacks from happening.
- It’s always smart to document everything that involves the dog bite. This includes an account of what happened before, during, and after the attack and a record of any medical treatment or lost time at work. Also document any conversations you may have had with the owner or witnesses.
- Finally, call an experienced dog bite lawyer to learn about your legal options. An attorney will discuss your case, examine the evidence, and give you a rough estimation of how much your dog bite claim may be worth. We will negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Are Some Common Injuries from Dog Attacks?
Animal attack injuries can range from a minor scratch to severe injuries that could take months, even years to recover from. Some common injuries caused by a dog attack include:
- Infections in the puncture wound
- Nerve damage
- Tendon and muscle damage
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
If the animal is not up to date with its vaccinations, there is the danger of the injury victim receiving rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that causes inflammation of your brain and spinal cord. It can be fatal if not treated right away.
What Compensation is Available in Dog Bite Cases?
Compensation in a dog bite case depends on whether the dog’s owner is negligent at the time of the accident. To prove negligence, you will need to show that the dog owner had known the dog was violent yet failed to take any action to control and prevent a dog bite from occurring.
If negligence can be proven, the dog bite victim may receive full compensation for their injuries. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are compensation that you can receive for any monetary losses you experienced. This includes but is not limited to current and future medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and loss of future earning potential.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate for any non-monetary losses that you may have had. This includes but is not limited to pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.
How Can the Dog Bite Lawyers at Munley Law Help You With Your Claim?
At Munley Law, we understand that the financial burdens following a serious dog bite injury can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to understand what your next steps should be. That’s why our personal injury lawyers always take the time to discuss your legal options during your free consultation. Once you hire our law firm, we will aggressively go after the insurance company to make sure you are properly compensated for your injuries.
If you are worried about the cost of hiring a dog bite injury attorney, please know that we work on a contingent fee basis. This means that we do not collect a fee unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. You pay nothing upfront.
If you think you may have a dog bite case, or if you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, we will evaluate the details of your situation at no charge and let you know what legal options are available for you. Contact Munley Law today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Injuries
Q: Are Dog Bite Cases Common in Pennsylvania?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 48 million houses in the U.S. own a dog. In fact, dogs are the number companion animal in our country. Based on those numbers, the danger of dog bites is not surprising.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 people who are bitten by a dog require medical attention each year. According to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Dog Attack Facts & Figures, that means there are 2,400 dog attacks every day, 100 each hour, or once every 36 seconds.
Q: Who Are the Most Common Animal Attack Victims?
Over half of dog bite victims are children. Additionally, children suffer greater injuries than adults when a dog bites them. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh reports that only 12% of adults need medical treatment. In contrast, 26% of children who receive a dog bite must seek immediate medical care. Most dog bite incidents occur at the victim’s home or the victim’s friend’s home.
Q: Which Dog Bite Lawyer in Pennsylvania Should I Choose to Represent Me?
In the event of a dog bite, the physical and emotional damage can be devastating. An experienced dog bite lawyer at Munley Law will answer your questions, guide you through the legal process, and work to get you the compensation you are owed.
Call us today to get a free evaluation of your case, or fill out our easy-to-use contact form. Someone from our firm will be available to chat or answer your call 24/7. We have offices throughout the state, including Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Philadelphia, and many more.