A dog bite is a potentially serious injury that can lead to scarring, disfigurement, infection, stitches, emotional trauma, and possible surgery and physical therapy. At Williams Cuker Berezofsky, our legal team is dedicated to helping victims of dog bites recover the compensation they are entitled to under the law. Pennsylvania laws on dog bites are specific, and dog owners may be held liable for injuries and damages caused by their pet. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, our lawyers will provide you with strong legal counsel and representation.
Victims of dog bites may recover compensation by pursuing a personal injury claim. Injured victims can sue the owner of the dog for damages that include the cost of medical attention as well as pain and suffering. Dog owners can also be held liable for injuries or damages caused by their pet’s aggressive or physical behavior. A dog that jumps up on a person can cause a severe injury if the person falls over. In this case, the victim may recover compensation for medical expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
Dog owners are responsible for dogs that have previously bitten someone, or shown aggressive behavior toward another person in the past. Even if the dog failed to make physical contact in the past, the owner can be held liable for a victim’s injuries and damages because they knew the dog had a potentially aggressive nature. The owner in this case would be held liable under a negligence ruling because they failed to take precautions to ensure that the animal did not have contact with the victim.
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, dog owners may also face criminal charges if their dog presents a known danger. The law requires a dangerous dog to be enclosed in a secure area or on a leash with a muzzle whenever the dog is outside of the owner’s house. If a dangerous dog gets off the owner’s property or gets away from the owner’s grasp and hurts another person or animal, the dog’s owner could face criminal misdemeanor charges. Fences on the owner’s property should be high enough that the dog cannot jump or climb over its boundaries. Gates on fences need to be securely locked to prevent the dog from exiting the yard, and openings in fencing should be small enough to avoid contact with curious children and adults.
While dogs can be great pets that shower their owners with love and loyalty, one must never forget that a pet is still an animal with instinctive behaviors. Precautions must be taken when approaching a dog, or whenever you find yourself unexpectedly in the presence of a dog.
First and foremost, never try to intimidate the animal. A dog that is afraid may attack to protect itself. Refrain from making eye contact with the dog as this is often seen as a challenge by the animal. Never approach an unfamiliar dog without first asking its owner if the dog is friendly. Even then, never put your face down to the level of the dog’s face to avoid serious injury during an unprovoked attack. If possible, turn and walk slowly away from the dog. Running could entice the dog to chase after you.
Victims of dog attacks have a right to protect themselves by any means possible, including killing the animal that is attacking them or someone else. Most of the time, dogs will bite and then retreat; but in other circumstances, the attack can be sustained and cause fatal injuries. To protect your legal rights if you are bitten by a dog, there are certain steps you should follow.
When possible, get the name, address, and phone number of the dog’s owner and from any available witnesses at the scene of the attack. Get immediate medical attention to ensure the bite is properly cleaned, disinfected, and evaluated. Report the bite to local and state authorities so that the animal can be observed for signs of rabies. If you believe your injuries are severe, contact a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, the experienced Pennsylvania dog bite lawyers at Williams Cuker Berezofsky can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to under the law. Call us at 215-557-0099, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We also represent those injured in dog bite attacks in New Jersey and nationwide.