Dog Bite Attorney Serving the Counties of Buck, Chester and Montgomery
Most Pennsylvania dog bite claims are settled privately during negotiations between your dog bite attorney and the liable party’s insurance company. However, in a minority of cases, the insurance company refuses to fairly pay your claim and the best course of action is filing a dog bite lawsuit.
Dog bite lawsuits can help injury victims collect compensation for a variety of damages including medical bills, future medical costs, plastic surgery, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.
Philadelphia dog bite attorney Jeffrey Harlan Penney settles the majority of his dog bite claims out of court. But if an insurance company insists on paying out an unjust amount, denies a claim altogether, or delays a claim, he does not hesitate to take the case to the courtroom.
Call The Dog Bite Lawyer at 215-987-3550 (office) or 215-771-0430 (cell) to learn more about your Pennsylvania dog bite lawsuit. The consultation is free, and if you don’t collect compensation, you don’t pay any fees.
How to File A Dog Bite Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
After insurance company negotiations have failed, your dog bite lawyer will file legal papers with the court. This process is subject to stringent Rules of Civil Procedure, but an experienced and skilled dog bite attorney will guide you through every step of the way, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for dog bite cases for adults and children
Under Pennsylvania law, personal injury claims and wrongful death claims, including dog bite lawsuits, can only be filed during the two-year period after an injury or death takes place. It is always better to file a dog bite lawsuit as soon as possible after the dog attack.
With the exception of fatal dog attacks, unemancipated minors must file Pennsylvania dog bite lawsuits within two years after their 18th birthday. In cases where the minor is emancipated (legally self-supporting) at the time of the injury, he or she must file a suit within two years of the date when the injury occurred.
The two major paths of dog bite litigation
Litigation takes two major forms: a classic jury trial, or mediation (known as binding arbitration). Almost all Pennsylvania civil dog bite lawsuits are resolved before they go to trial, saving dog bite victims time, stress, and money. In all likelihood, your dog bite case will not go to trial. If a trial does become necessary, Jeffrey Harlan Penneys has the courtroom experience and knowledge to represent you and argue your case in front of a judge and jury.
Should I file a report with the police after I’ve been bitten by a dog?
In Pennsylvania, it is important that you do call local police and/or Animal Control and report a dog bite as soon as possible after it happens. When you call, try to have as much information on hand as possible. The resulting report that will be filed will go a long way in helping to document the facts of the case when your memory is still fresh, and it will help in determining whether or not the owner was liable for the dog’s aggressiveness. Things that you will want to provide to the police if you have them are:
- The identity of the dog
- The identity of the dog owner
- Exactly where the attack took place
- Exactly how the attack took place – the more details you recall the better
- What happened right before the attack? (Who was there and what was everybody doing and saying)
- What happened right after the attack? (Who was still there and how was everyone reacting)
- Any words that were spoken between you and the dog owner, before, during, and after the attack
- And if you have any knowledge of the owner being aware that their dog might bite someone, be sure to let the police document that as well
What Is Considered a Dangerous Dog in Pennsylvania?
Under state law, a dog is considered “dangerous” if:
- The dog has injured someone without provocation, on public or private property,
- The dog has injured or killed a domestic animal (pet) while off of the owner’s property, and without provocation,
- The dog attacked a person with no provocation, or
- The dog was used to commit a crime.
It is helpful if the dog has in the past exhibited a propensity for attacking people or pets without provocation. This is typically shown by establishing a history of violent or nearly violent behavior. However, if the injury is severe enough, that is all that is necessary to prove that the dog had vicious propensities such that the owner is liable.
How does an attorney prove liability in a dog bite case?
To prove that the owner of a dog is responsible for an injury due to a dog attack, the attorney must first prove negligence. Some ways to prove negligence that violate Pennsylvania dog bite laws include:
- Proving that the dog was running loose and was not in control by its owner or keeper when it attacked its victim.
- If the victim was attacked while lawfully on the dog owner’s property, it must additionally be proven that:
- The dog had a history of unprovoked attacks.
- The victim was not informed of the dangerous nature of the dog.
- The owner did not reasonably protect the victim from the dog.
How is the extent of your dog bite injuries proven?
In order to receive monetary payment for injuries due to a dog attack, your dog bite attorney may need to be prove:
- Evidence of pain and suffering such as photos of the dog bite injuries.
- Cost of initial medical treatment and procedures shown by medical records.
- Evidence of permanent scarring shown by photos taken a year after the dog attack.
- Cost of future surgical revisions as explained by a qualified plastic surgeon.
- Description of permanent scarring as explained by a qualified plastic surgeon.
- Psychological damages as noted in a psychologist’s report.
Do you need to file a Pennsylvania dog bite lawsuit?
If an insurance company has denied your dog bite claim, or if they are trying to unfairly underpay your claim, you may need the assistance of an aggressive, skilled Philadelphia dog bite attorney. Dog bite lawyer Jeffrey Penneys, Esquire, can either help you negotiate with the insurance company or help you find a solution through the state’s legal system. To get started, call 215-771-0430 and speak with The Dog Bite Lawyer today or fill out our case assessment form and Mr. Penneys will call you back.