Dog bites and attacks cause very serious injuries. Due to the fact that people think these are only minor incidents, they’re often surprised when one happens and they are left severely hurt. They often don’t know what to do, how they’re going to pay to treat their injuries, or if they can hold the dog owner liable.
In many cases, accident victims can force dog owners to pay compensation for their injuries. However, Pennsylvania is not a strict liability state. That means victims of dog bites must prove the owner was negligent. As such, it’s very important to know the proper steps to take so you can protect any future claim you file against the dog owner.
Identify the Owner
If the owner is nearby, they are easy to identify. If a dog was on the loose when they attacked you, it becomes much more difficult. If a dog has tags, you can try to read them, although make sure you don’t get too close. If you can’t read the tags, or you don’t want to approach the dog, ask neighbors or witnesses in the area if they know the owner of the dog.
Obtain Contact Information
Whether you identify the owner or witnesses to the attack, it’s important to get their contact information. Witness statements can provide crucial evidence if the case goes to civil trial. Additionally, having the contact information of the owner is very helpful when reporting the dog bite.
Document the Scene
Just like after a car accident, it’s important to document as much of the scene as you can after a dog bite or attack. Take pictures of the dog if you can, and pictures of your injuries. Also take pictures of the scene, including where it happened, where the dog was, and where you were before the attack.
Seek Medical Attention
As soon as you can after leaving the accident scene, you must receive medical attention. If you are immobile after the attack, call 911 to get the help you need, or ask someone in the area to call. Your health is your first priority and when dog bites are left untreated, they can easily become infected. Failing to get proper medical help can also hurt your claim. The insurance company or dog owner is likely to say you couldn’t have been that injured, because you didn’t seek treatment for your injuries right away.
File a Report
In Pennsylvania, you should report all dog bites and attacks to local animal control. This can help prevent others from being hurt by the same dog in the future. While filing the report, you can also ask animal control about the vaccination status of the dog, license information, and if it’s a dangerous dog. This is an important part of proof in your claim.
Contact a Pennsylvania Dog Bite Attorney
Pursuing dog bite claims in Pennsylvania is more challenging than it is in other states. Without strict liability, a dog’s owner is not necessarily liable when a dog bites or attacks you. It’s for this reason that if you need to file a claim, you should seek the help of a Philadelphia dog bite attorney.
At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we know how serious dog bites and attacks are. We also know you may be entitled to compensation that can help with the cost of your injuries. If you’ve been hurt, call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online. We’ll review your case and give you the best chance of claiming any compensation you deserve.