Lancaster PA Dog Bite Lawyer
You don’t expect a dog to attack you while you’re at someone’s home, enjoying a beautiful day at the park, or walking through your neighborhood. But a dog bite can happen anywhere. A dog attack is a traumatic experience that can cause physical injuries and mental harm. Injuries from a dog attack can lead to high medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You shouldn’t have to worry about how to pay for these expenses. In some cases, dog owners are liable in the event their dog bites you. If you are the victim of a dog attack, you deserve a compassionate dog bite attorney to help you in your time of need. An experienced Lancaster dog bite lawyer at Haggerty & Silverman will advocate on your behalf to secure you full compensation.
Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite laws differ in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, in both states, you have two years from the date the incident occurred to file a case. If you are unsure about the laws in your state and do not know whether you have a case, contact us for a free consultation.
Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws
In Pennsylvania, dog bite liability is based on whether the dog was considered to be dangerous and also on the severity of the injury. Owners of dangerous dogs must abide by certain laws. A dog is considered to be a dangerous dog if:
(1) The dog has done one or more of the following:
- The dog has injured a person, without provocation, on public or private property
- The dog has injured or killed a domestic animal, without provocation, while off the owner’s property
- The dog attacked a person without provocation
- The dog was used in the commission of a crime
(2) The dog has either or both of the following:
- The dog has a history of attacking humans and/or domestic animals without provocation.
- The dog a propensity to attack human beings and/or domestic animals without provocation. A propensity to attack may be proven by a single incident of the conduct described in section (1).
If the dog does not meet the above criteria and therefore is not considered dangerous, a dog owner may still be liable for dog bite injuries. If the dog was not dangerous, had never bitten someone before, and was not provoked, a dog bite victim can recover damages based on the severity of the injury. If the injury is not severe, the victim can make a claim against the dog owner for medical expenses. If the injury is severe, the victim can make a claim against the dog owner for not just medical expenses, but also all other losses and legal damages.
Dog Bite Statistics
If you were bitten by a dog, you are not alone. According to dogsbite.org:
- 5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year
- In 2008, there were 316,200 emergency department visits and 9,500 hospital stays related to dog bites
- The highest rates of dog bite-related emergency department visits were for children under 10 years old
- The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay in 2008 was $18,200 (about 50 percent higher than the cost of the average injury-related hospitalization)
- There were 88 fatal dog attacks in the United States from 2006 through 2008
How to Avoid a Dog Bite
Most dogs are harmless, but there are some that are dangerous. It is hard to know if a dog is a threat to you or not. When you are near a dog, especially one that you don’t know, it is best to use caution. Here are some actions you can take to avoid a dog bite:
- Don’t approach a dog that you don’t know or whose owner is not visibly present
- Don’t run past dogs (most dogs like to chase and play along)
- Let a dog sniff/smell your hands
- Never provoke a dog
- Stay still when approached by an unfamiliar dog or aggressive dog
- If you’re knocked to the ground, curl into a ball covering your head and neck as much as possible. Stay still
- Don’t interrupt a dog eating, sleeping, or taking care of its puppies
Dog Bite Lawyers in Lancaster, PA
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, contact a medical professional immediately. The sooner you get medical attention, the better your chances of a faster recovery. Next, contact a Lancaster dog bite lawyer at Haggerty & Silverman. We’ll evaluate your dog bite claim for free and fight for your rights. In the event that your loved one was killed during the dog attack, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Please call us at 717-397-3200 or fill out our contact form online.