Dog Attack Attorney Serving Victims in Pennsylvania
Dog bites often occur from dogs that the victim knows. They may have even played with the dog, attended a neighborhood barbecue, or petted the dog repeatedly in the past without issue. One common source for dog attacks is that of a neighborhood pet.
Sometimes these dogs turn without any known reason, while other times they are provoked or ill. Regardless, when a neighbor’s dog attacks you or your child, you might wonder what your legal options are when it comes to financial compensation.
Luckily, there are laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that protect victims when a dog, regardless of the owner, attacks and causes serious injury.
What Should You Do if Your Philadelphia Neighborhood Dog Bites You?
If a friend or neighbor’s dog bites you, you want to keep things civilized, since you do still have to interact with these people and live near them. You may have a good relationship with that neighbor already, which might make the situation easier to handle.
Regardless, there is some sensitivity here, and you need to be mindful of the relationship you have with your neighbor. In the same respect, that person owns the dog, and the dog did attack you or a family member; therefore, they too should be considerate of your needs.
Communication is critical when a dog attack occurs. If the neighbor is unwilling to share information about their dog, such as telling you whether there were prior incidents, then this is a warning sign.
At the same time, an owner may be reluctant to share information, because it is their family pet. They have been around that dog for years, and their children might play with that dog continuously too – without issue. Therefore, they may fear giving any information to you or law enforcement that might result in them losing a member of their family.
The Information You Need
If you can, while remaining considerate and calm, get as much information from the dog’s owner as you can. Do not act like you are interrogating your neighbor for this information. Instead, just request it as part of the dog attack claim.
Some of the information that you will need includes:
- If the dog is up-to-date on all shots, especially rabies.
- If the dog has any illnesses or is being treated for any conditions, such as anxiety.
- If the dog has a history of attacks or bites.
These details will not only help caregivers ensure you receive the proper vaccinations – such as a tetanus shot or rabies series – but they help insurance companies when it comes to paying for the medical costs associated with the dog attack.
Does My Neighbor Have to Pay Out of their Pocket?
You might feel awkward about asking your neighbor to pay for medical costs or lost wages from the attack because you live next to that person and do not want a contentious relationship. However, realize that your neighbor is rarely going to pay for the damages out of his or her pocket. Instead, their homeowner’s insurance policy should pay for ALL expenses related to the injury.
Putting Personal Feelings Aside
If your neighbor does have to pay for the medical costs out of pocket, it can be challenging to ask them for the compensation. After all, you may like that neighbor and feel guilty about them having to pay thousands of dollars.
However, what happened to you or your child is serious, and you need expenses reimbursed so that you do not suffer financially.
This is where a skilled injury attorney can help. An attorney that handles dog attack lawsuits has been in this exact situation before. They know that there is a dynamic relationship between the dog’s owner and victim; therefore, your attorney would not automatically file a lawsuit and aggressively seek compensation.
Instead, they would work alongside the dog’s owner, you, and the insurance companies to find a way to pay for medical costs.
Typically, the dog’s owner does have insurance, which allows the situation to be resolved amicably and without negative feelings afterward.
What Happens to the Dog?
When a neighbor’s dog bites you or your child, you might wonder what will happen to that dog. If this is a first-time event, the dog may be confined and monitored by animal control and then released back to its owner. The dog may be tested for rabies if it shows any signs of an infection, and the tests and keeping of the dog are done at the owner’s expense.
In most cases where it is a neighborhood dog, this is how the animal is handled.
If this is not the dog’s first incident, the state may require that the owner register the dog as a dangerous dog, and then install a special microchip to track them. They will then have to re-register and pay the fees to keep their dog, and they must confine the animal to prevent further attacks.
In the rare instance the dog tests positive for rabies, animal control will require that the dog is put down.
Speak with a Lawyer about Your Dog Attack Case
Handling a case when it is your neighbor’s dog that caused the injury is not easy. You do not want to harm that neighborhood relationship, but you also want compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s dog.
It is best to speak with an attorney in the area who is experienced with these types of cases. To get started, contact me, Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. I have handled countless instances in which victims know the animal that has attacked them, and I can help you resolve your claim amicably so that you can preserve that neighborhood morale.
Schedule your case evaluation for free today by calling 800-465-8795 (office), 215-771-0430 (cell), or fill out my online contact form with your questions.