Dogs are generally man’s best friend. However, these creatures can cause devastating injuries and emotional trauma with one swift and ferocious bite to an unsuspecting victim. In Pennsylvania, a common legal cause of action exists to permit a victim to recover full compensation for injuries from a dog bite if the dog previously bit another person without justification or indicated a tendency to do so. If the dog has never bitten before, the State’s dog bite law offers two different remedies that depend upon the degree of injury. These injuries are classified as severe or non-severe.
A “severe injury” is “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.” (The Dog Law, 3 P.S. § 459-102). A severely injured victim can make a Dog Law claim against the dog owner for medical expenses and all other losses and legal damages. The victim must prove that the dog inflicted severe injury on him without provocation.
The “non-severely” injured victim can make a Dog Law claim against the dog owner, but the remedy is limited to only the medical expenses. (The Dog Law, 3 P.S. § 459-502(c). The victim only has to prove that the defendant was the owner of the dog.
If you or someone you know has been attacked, bitten or otherwise injured by a dog, call the legal team at Porta-Clark + Ward LLC for a consultation. We are experienced in handling these claims. Consultations are free and there are never any attorney’s fees or costs unless a recovery is made on your behalf.
What to do when you are bitten by a dog:
- It is the responsibility of a dog owner to train, socialize and follow the state's leash laws.
- An owner can be held responsible for a dog bite if that dog exhibited aggressive or dangerous propensities in the past.
These propensities have been defined as the dog biting other animals or humans in the past, the dog barking excessively, exhibiting aggressive body language, snarling, growling and showing its teeth.
- If you have been bitten, call 911.
- If you have been bitten, call the dog warden of your local area.
- If possible, attempt to determine the owner of the dog, but do not place yourself in harm's way.
- Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to your dog bite or attack.
- If others know the dog, see if they are aware of the dog's past aggressive behavior.
- If injured, seek medical treatment.
- Take photographs of your injuries.
- Do not agree to provide a recorded statement to any insurance company.
- Call our attorneys for a free consultation.