What To Know About Dog Bites And Your Legal Rights
Our furry friends aren’t always so friendly, according to nationwide statistics. Each year, over 4.5 million dog bite injuries occur in the United States, with over 800,000 of those bites requiring medical care. Disturbingly, dog bite injuries are one of the leading causes of non-fatal emergency room visits among children. Children face over a 50% risk of suffering a dog bite at some point during childhood.
Far from an unlikely occurrence, dog bites are actually a serious public health and safety concern. Additionally, it is a myth that only certain dogs or breeds will bite a person. Any dog can bite, and a dog’s propensity to bite depends on a variety of factors such as:
- The dog’s individual history
- The dog’s level of socialization, and contact with people
- The dog’s overall behavior
- The number of dogs present
- The dog’s level of supervision
- Whether a dog has been neutered or not
Any size of dog can bite, and even a familiar dog may bite if startled or provoked. If a dog is well cared for, well socialized, and well supervised, the risk of a bite or attack is lower. However, while we can control how we care for our own dogs, we can’t control how a neighbor cares for theirs.
Statistically speaking, dog bites are bound to happen. When they do, it is only fair for the victim to seek not only medical help but legal help as well. A dog bite injury can cause short term and long term damage to the arms, hands, legs, feet and face. These injuries tend to be undervalued and underpaid by insurers, leaving people with unpaid medical expenses and costs associated with rehabilitation and therapy. There is also the mental pain, anguish, and crippling anxiety that can result from a dog attack.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Incident
Obtaining skilled legal representation to evaluate your rights after a dog bite attack will help you get the fair recovery you deserve. An experienced Philadelphia dog bite attorney will evaluate all circumstances surrounding the incident, your total medical costs, and anticipated future damages as a result of the injury.
Some people may be surprised to learn that they do have important legal rights, including the right to sue, after a dog bite. It is a myth that dogs get “one free bite” before legal consequences can follow, or that an owner was not required to keep their dog on a leash. Pennsylvania has a broad law that all dogs must be either confined to their premises by some means, or attached securely to a collar and chain or leash. The only exceptions apply to dogs engaged in hunting, exhibitions, or some other lawful purpose.
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for dog bite injury claims is 2 years, so time is of the essence when considering a legal claim. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you have legal rights regardless of the severity of the injury.
The Dog Bite Injury Attorneys at Green & Schafle Are Ready to Help When Needed
The physical, mental, and emotional harm caused by a dog bite can leave you or your child with medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and therapy costs, pain and suffering, and other damages. If you or a member of your family was injured by someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. Call our Philadelphia dog bite injury attorneys at Green & Schafle today for a free consultation and review of your potential claim. Call our experienced personal injury attorneys at 1-855-462-3330 or complete our online questionnaire to get started.