Dog Bites: Know Your Rights
Dogs are often more than just a pet – they are an integral part of families. Dogs and other animals can be loving, safe and wonderful companions. It’s important to remember, though, that dogs can also be dangerous and can bite when they feel threatened or if they are defending their territory. Dog bites and injuries caused by other animals are serious and can have a dramatic impact on the lives of the victim. In Pennsylvania, owners are responsible for their animals and could be held accountable for incidents that occur. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of a dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation for physical and/or emotional injuries resulting from the incident.
Dog Bite Law in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s dog confinement and housing law holds dog owners liable for damages if they fail to keep their dog in the house or yard, on a leash or “under the reasonable control of some person.” Pennsylvania is a “strict liability” dog bite state. A dog’s owner is responsible for injuries the dog causes, even if the dog has never bitten or acted aggressively before, and even if the owner had no idea the dog would bite or act aggressively. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to take the steps to protect all those around your dog to ensure they do not sustain any injuries.
Dale E. Anstine, Dog Bite Lawyers in York, PA, Can Help
As one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Central Pennsylvania, our attorneys have seen many common injuries resulting from dog bites and animal attacks including:
- Broken Bones
- Tendon and Muscle Damage
- Nerve Damage
- Internal Injuries
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a dog bite or animal attack, it is important to act quickly and seek legal advice to protect your rights. Contact Dale E. Anstine today for your free consultation with an experienced dog bite attorney in the York, Gettysburg and Hanover areas.
Top 3: Answers to Common Dog Bite Questions
How can I protect myself from dog bites?
There are ways to protect yourself from dog bite attacks. Animal behavior experts recommend the following if you are ever approached by an unwanted or aggressive dog:
(Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- Curl into a ball with your head tucked, and your hands over your ears and neck if a dog knocks you over.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
- Say “No” or “Go home” in a very firm, deep voice.
- Stand with the side of your body facing the dog. Directly facing a dog can make the dog feel threatened.
- Slowly raise your hands to your neck with your elbows in.
- Wait for the dog to pass or slowly back away from the dog.
- Approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Run from a dog.
- Panic or make loud noises.
- Disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- Pet a dog without allowing it to get to know you (sniffing, seeing you first.)
- Encourage your dog to play aggressively.
- Let small children play with a dog unsupervised.
What to do after a dog bite?
Although we hope you will never sustain an injury from a dog, it is important to know how to treat an animal bite injury before an incident occurs. Legally, dog bites are classified as non-severe or severe. When a non-severe injury occurs, the victim may have a small wound or bruising that requires minimal medical attention and expenses. On the other hand, a severe dog bite is classified by broken bones or wounds that require stiches and/or surgery. Severe dog bites require intensive medical attention and could lead to high medical bills.
If you are bitten by a dog and the injury is non-severe, the first step to take is to rinse the wound under running water for five to ten minutes. Then, wrap the wound and apply pressure to stop any bleeding. Even if you can treat your injury at home, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent a dog bite infection. Bacteria may be introduced into the bite wound area and could cause secondary infections or issues. If you sustain a severe injury from a dog, seek medical attention immediately. Getting help right away is critical in order to stop severe bleeding or set broken bones. Severe dog bite injuries often require stitches, casts, or even surgery, so you will want to be seen by a doctor right away. When receiving medical treatment for an animal bite injury, it is important to get copies of your medical records and doctors notes. Getting photographs of your injuries will be beneficial as well. This information will play an important part in your legal case and rights to compensation.
After being injured by an animal the pain, medical expenses, emotional effects and fight for compensation can feel overwhelming. Don’t fight alone. Get a fighter on your side who understands the dog bite laws in Pennsylvania. Reach out to our dog bite lawyers today to learn how we can help you!
Does a dog have to bite me to receive compensation?
An animal attack can cause severe injuries without a bite ever occurring. Dogs get excited and rowdy, which can cause unintentional injuries. A dog may run into you, breaking a bone or tearing a muscle. Or, a dog may knock you over causing you to hit your head, which could also cause a critical injury. Any encounter with an animal can turn dangerous if the dog is poorly mannered and not under control. It’s a dog’s impact, not its intent, that matters in dog bite and animal attack cases.
To learn more about dog bite injuries and your rights to compensation, check out the following blogs or reach out to our team of dog bite attorneys today!
- How to Stay Safe Around Unfamiliar Dogs
- Four Common Home Liability Claims
- Three Common Home Liability Claims