Authored By: Samuel Fishman
Samuel Fishman is the Founding and Lead Partner at the Law Offices of Samuel Fishman, PC. Mr. Fishman represents seriously injured people in both state and federal court. Specifically, Mr. Fishman focuses his practice on Personal Injury claimants, including dog bite injuries.
- Dog Bites & Attacks
- Personal Injury
- Workers Compensation
- Social Security Disability
11450 Bustleton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19116
A dog bite can be a traumatic experience both physically and emotionally, and the Centers for Disease Control estimates that it happens some 4.7 million times each year in the United States. Of those millions of bites, almost 20 percent require medical attention and, as of 2006, approximately 31,000 resulted in the need for reconstructive surgery. Anyone can be a victim, but children from five to nine years of age are dogs’ most frequent targets and the age group most likely to need medical treatment.
Once the injury is treated, victims and their families are often concerned about who is legally responsible for the damage and whether the responsible party must pay the victim’s medical bills or compensate the victim for time lost from work, physical impairment or pain and suffering.
Speaking to a Professional Dog Bite Attorney
The best person to provide answers to those questions is a dog bite attorney, someone who has experience in this specialized area of personal injury law. A dog bite lawyer knows the rules that apply to the victim’s situation. Does it make a difference if the dog has bitten before? Does the victim’s age matter? Do the rules vary according to where the attack happened? A good dog bite attorney can sort through these questions, explain the victim’s rights and determine what sort of compensation might be available.
Each state takes a different approach to dog bite liability, so dog bites in Dallas may have different legal consequences from Philadelphia dog bites. Some states regulate dog bites by statute, some rely on court cases and some use both. As a result of these jurisdictional vagaries, a Pennsylvania attorney is usually best equipped to handle Philadelphia dog bites.
Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws Regulate the Dog Owner
Pennsylvania addresses dog bites through both statutes and case law. The statute regulates the duties of a dog owner to keep a dog under control. It provides penalties for the owner of a dog found to be dangerous under the terms of the statute and it provides remedies for people injured by a dog. The extent of those remedies depends on the severity of the injury. If injuries are not severe, the victim may not be able to recover anything beyond medical expenses. If injuries are severe, the victim may be able to recover additional damages.
Like many other states, Pennsylvania law has moved away from the long-standing rule, passed down from English common law, that a dog was entitled to a free bite before its owner’s liability could be established. The “one-free-bite” rule was never an absolute, as dogs with known dangerous propensities were often treated differently even if they had never bitten. In addition, other variables must be considered. The owner’s negligence may be a factor. There may be an issue of whether the victim provoked the attack.
Every Situation is Different, So Contact Us Today
Each situation is different. Dog bites are governed by elaborate rules and the situation is frequently complicated by the technicalities of insurance coverage, as insurance is often the source of the victim’s compensation. A knowledgeable bod bite lawyer can help both victims and dog owners navigate this very treacherous area of the law.