Leading Personal Injury Law Firm In Philadelphia DOG BITE Cases
If you or a loved one suffered from a dog bite attack or injury in Philadelphia the Thistle Law Firm is here to help.
Request a consultation with us today and we’ll help determine if you have a case.
have you Suffered from a dog bite or attack?
According to recent statistics, dog bite incidents result in $853 million in damages per year for nearly 17,000 dog bite and injury claims, with insurance policies paying out an average of $50,245 per incident. Children between the ages of five and nine account for 50% of all victims, with 26% of all children needing to visit the emergency room or a doctor after an attack.
Pennsylvania law dictates that a severely injured victim can make a claim against the owner of the dog for medical expenses and other damages resulting from the dog bite, as long as the victim did not provoke the dog. A dog bite can be a traumatic experience, and when these incidents occur, time is of the essence. Moving quickly is vital to getting the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys will represent people of Pennsylvania who have suffered from a dog bite and work successfully to pursue your dog bite claim.
What should you do after a dog bite?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the first step should be to seek medical attention. Because of bacteria present in a dogs’ mouth, disease and illness may spread once the skin has been broken by an animal’s tooth or nail.
Once the area is safe, the next step is to collect as much information as you can from any possible witnesses, as well as the dog owner's name and contact information. Also, document the injury before receiving treatment to serve as evidence. Pictures or videos will be the most transparent and clear in a court of law.
Because your injury may heal quickly, filing a police report and starting your dog bite lawsuit swiftly is important to avoid the statute of limitations being enacted, which may not allow you to file for damages at a later date.
Because your injury may heal quickly, filing a police report and starting your dog bite lawsuit swiftly is important to avoids a statute of limitations being enacted, and may not allow you to file for damages at a later date.
What Happens When a Dog Bites?
A dog bite may or may not fully penetrate the skin of the victim when the dog attacks. Even if skin is not broken, dogs have powerful jaws that can lead to crushing injuries, severe puncture wounds, nerve damage, or blood loss.
Additionally, some dogs will shake their heads violently when attacking a victim as a reflex. Shaking the head is what a hunting dog would do to immobilize prey once the dog has its teeth in an animal. If a dog shakes its head and thrashes when biting a human, the skin around the bite can tear, causing severe bleeding, ruptured muscle tissue, and soft tissue damage.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
While we typically think of a bite occurring from a dog attack, bites are one of only several possible injuries that result from a severe dog attack. Dogs may also cause serious injuries such as:
- Severe cuts and scratches from claws
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal organ damage
Some of these injuries may occur if a large dog knocks a person forcibly to the ground.
Other Complications of Dog Bites
Dogs can also unfortunately carry infectious diseases, some of which can cause severe illness or long-term medical complications for victims after a bite.
Dog attacks are also notoriously psychologically damaging as well. People who have been victims of severe dog attacks often experience nightmares, flashbacks, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Victims of psychologcally damaging dog attacks may be able to sue for damages caused by these debilitating conditions.
Why Do Dogs Attack People?
Dogs follow a natural social hierarchy, and will try to dominate or scare off human beings who enter their space if they are not well-trained or well-controlled. Many dogs will therefore attack humans, thinking they are protecting their territory from invadors. Children are unfortunately especially vulnerable to dog attacks because they are loud, fast, often unaware of danger, and are closer to the ground.
If a dog owner lets their dog run loose and that dog causes injuries to another person, the owner is legally liable for those injuries. The owner is also liable for injuries that their dog causes to people who are lawfully visiting their homes.
Dog Attacks In Someone's Home
If you or someone you loved were injured by a dangerous dog while visiting the home of a friend or relative, you may be reluctant to consult with a Philadelphia dog bite injury lawyer. However, you should know that homeowners insurance almost always covers these claims, so there is no need to worry that you are suing someone who cannot afford to pay out of their own pocket.
A legal claim after a dog bite will help ensure that the victim gets the medical care they need, which includes future follow-up care, as well as compensation for missed work and their injuries.
Victims Rights Under Pennsylvania Dog Bite Rules
If your dog bite caused a severe injury, such as:
- Bone fracture
- Severe lacerations
You have a right to pursue full recovery under Pennsylvania’s dog bite laws. Dog owners must take appropriate steps to secure their dog if that dog has a history of unprovoked attacks. This means the dog must be muzzled in public, and warning signs must be posted around the property.
Over 80 Years Of Dog Bite Case Experience.
We’ve helped our clients receive significant monetary rewards from dog bites and attacks.
Philadelphia, like any major city, has a large number of dogs sharing close quarters with humans. Unfortunately, not every dog owner in Philadelphia is responsible at monitoring or training their dog. If a large dog is uncontrolled or untrained, it can revert to natural predatory instincts, and cause horrific tragedies to occur. At the Thistle Law firm, we’ve helped our clients receive significant monetary rewards from dog bites and attacks.
Winning Your Dog Bite Lawsuit in Philadelphia
After a dog bite attack injury, it’s important to act quickly to ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries, mental anguish, and any lost wages you may incurr as a result of the attack. By acting quickly, you will increase your chances of success with a future lawsuit.
One of the first things to do is to seek medical treatment immediately. This can help prevent diseases, and will also help you prevent long-term medical complications from your attack. If you delay treatment, insurance companies will likely be more suspicious of your claims in the future, so do not delay in seeing a doctor after any sort of dog related attack.
After you have received proper and immediate medical treatment, your next step is to find a Philadelphia dog bite lawyer to handle your case. An experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyer can help you to determine if you have standing to bring a lawsuit against the negligent dog owner, and can also help you determine your chances of success with a lawsuit. An attorney should also be able to give you an idea of the kind of compensation you might be expected to win, based on your injuries and the nature of your attack.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available From a Dog Bite Attack?
There are countless types of dog bite cases where the compensation can vary widely. One dog bite lawsuit over a small puncture wound may only yield payment for medical bills, if there are no other complications.
However, a severe injury may result in payments for loss of wages from missing work, future medical bills and plastic surgery if needed. Additional pain and suffering compensation and mental health treatments are also possible following a severe dog bite attack.
Dog Bite Laws in Pennsylvania
Each state has its own unique laws on the book to handle dog bite claims, and Pennsylvania is no exception. Pennsylvania has what is known as a “one bite” rule when it comes to dog attacks. This means, if the dog’s owner knows, or reasonably should have known that their dog could potentially harm someone due to the fact that the dog previously attacked someone, that owner has a responsibility to prevent further injuries as a result of their dog's behavior.
This means the owner is responsible to keep the dog on a secure leash in public, as well as securing the dog at the owner's residence when the owner is at home. The one bite rule also means the dog’s owner is liable for a victim’s medical expenses for the first biting incident.
What Legal Defenses Can a Dog Owner Use in Pennsylvania?
The dog’s owner may make use of several common defenses under Pennsylvania dog bite law, including:
- Trespassing: If you were trespassing at the time of the attack, the owner can claim this as a defense.
- Provocation: If the owner can prove you provoked the dog into attacking you, you may not be able to sue for compensation.
These defenses are commonly used if a dog attacks someone who is trespassing or burglarizing a home or property. If a thief breaks into a home and is bitten by a dog, that thief would not have grounds for a lawsuit against the dog's owner.
When Can a Victim Make a Dog Bite Claim in Pennsylvania ?
Pennsylvania law states that pet owners have a responsibility to care for their animals, as well as keep them safe for the public. if an individual has a legal right to be on the premise as a guest, courier, or in a similar capacity, the owner can be held liable for any damages or injury caused by the animal. Similarly, An owner also has a legal responsibility to keep their pet so that it cannot leave their property or wander freely without a leash, even if the animal has never shown signs of aggression before. in Pennsylvania the defendant must simply prove the ownership of the animal, and that the dog did indeed cause the injury, and that the dog was not provoked.
What Is The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. This time period starts on the date of the injury and lasts for two years exactly. You must file a formal complaint within that time limit, or you risk losing your rights to recovering damages from your accident.
However, there are some instances where the statute of limitations may be delayed. For instance, if the victim of the attack is a child or minor, and they cannot take legal action on their own behalf, the statute of limitations begins on the victim's 18th birthday. Likewise, if the party accused of causing the damages flees the state, or commits fraud to hide their liability, the statute of limitations may be extended.
Start Your Claim
Unleashed dogs have the potential to cause severe or even disfiguring injuries if they bite or attack. These injuries can result in expensive medical bills, and mental anguish in recovering. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite attack and need to seek justice, call the Thistle Law Firm at 215-525-6824 or contact us through our website using our contact form.
Our experienced team will help you start your dog bite claim and work tirelessly to get the medical help and compensation that you deserve.
Dog Bite Prevention Tips
Of course, ultimately the liability is squarely the responsibility of the owner of the dog. However, there are ways that you can help stay safe in the presence of aggressive dogs. These tips are especially important to teach to children to help them stay safe and prevent dog bite attacks in Philadlephia.
- Never scream at a dog if it is threatening you
- Do not run past dogs
- Avoid eye contact with dogs
- Do not approach dogs that are confined without talking to their owner
- Remain motionless until a threatening dog leaves
- If you do approach a dog, let it see you and sniff your hand before petting it
- If a dog is rapidly approaching you, try and place something between yourself and the dog, such as bicycle or backpack