Dogs are loyal companions and great family pets, but they are also capable of causing severe injuries. Sometimes, irresponsible owners do not train their dogs properly or keep them leashed as the law requires.
Contact a respected attorney at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers if a dog injures you or a family member. Dog owners must pay the medical expenses of those harmed by their pets, even if the incident was accidental. In one local case, Founding Partner Jon Ostroff achieved a settlement of $375,000 for a client who broke her hip in an attack by a pit bull, requiring surgery.
A Bensalem dog bite lawyer at our firm will work to get you compensation for your pain, emotional suffering, and other losses. Contact us immediately after a dog attack to discuss how we can help you.
Steps to Take After Dog Attack
Dog owners must pay the medical expenses of anyone their dog injures. It doesn’t matter whether the injury was a bite, scratch, or broken bone from a dog that accidentally knocked you down. If you need medical care, the dog’s owner must pay for it. This is referred to as “strict liability.”
To make sure you get the payment you deserve, there are some steps to follow after an injury.
Identify the Dog
In many cases, you will know the dog and its owner, but sometimes you won’t. If you don’t know the dog, take pictures of it if possible. Ask anyone who witnesses the incident whether they know the dog—if so, get the witness’s contact information. Write down the dog’s description or record a description on your phone. Note the date, time, and where the incident occurred. Try to determine the address where the dog is housed, the dog’s name, and whether there have been any other complaints in the neighborhood regarding the dog being aggressive.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s vital to get immediate medical attention for several reasons. Most importantly, your doctor can assess the damage, treat your injuries, and hopefully minimize the long-term impact.
Further, if you were bitten and you don’t know whether the dog had its shots, the doctor could evaluate you and potentially administer a tetanus shot and medication to prevent rabies. Tetanus and/or rabies shots can be painful, so if you determine the dog has had its immunizations, discuss with your doctor whether a series of shots is necessary or not. Regardless of the specific type of attention you require, getting care immediately after the incident is also proof of when it occurred—the medical record is documentation of your injury.
Call Animal Control
If you’re in Bensalem Township, you should make a report to the Bensalem Animal Control Officer once you’ve gotten medical treatment. In surrounding municipalities, contact your township or borough and ask to file an animal bite report, or contact us for assistance. This report is especially critical if you don’t know the identity of the dog, or if the incident involved a bite. The Animal Control Officer could help you identify the dog and its owner. The Officer might also have evidence of other incidents involving the same dog, which could be important evidence in your case.
Contact a Bensalem Attorney
It’s essential to get legal help right away. Your dog bite attorney can advise you about the steps to take before filing your claim and can start collecting evidence for your case. Taking this step right away usually results in a stronger claim.
Damages in Dog Injury Cases
You are able to get your medical expenses covered by the dog owner (or their insurance) when a dog causes an injury. In many cases, you can also get money for your physical pain, emotional trauma, inconvenience, and costs like taking time off from work or getting a babysitter while you go to medical appointments. You could get paid for these losses if the dog’s owner was negligent and failed to prevent the animal from causing an injury to someone.
In building a dog bite claim, a Bensalem lawyer at our firm will, depending on the facts of your case:
- Review the dog owner’s history with Animal Control
- Check the animal’s veterinary record
- Look for any evidence that the owner and dog completed training and/or vaccinations
- Talk to the dog owner’s neighbors
- Assemble any other proof that the owner did not take reasonable care to prevent their dog from harming someone
With proof of negligence, the owner must pay all of your damages from the incident.
If the dog was off-leash and not on its property, the owner was negligent because they violated the state’s leash law at 3 Pennsylvania Statutes §459-305. Even if the dog was leashed, the owner might have been negligent for failing to control their pet. A dog’s owner also could be negligent if they did not train the animal properly or failed to stop the incident.
Work With a Bensalem Dog Bite Attorney
Dog attacks are traumatic events that can scar you both physically and mentally. Even when an injury is accidental, the long-term impact could be severe.
Call a Bensalem dog bite lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers immediately after your incident. We have helped over 30,000 injury victims across Pennsylvania recover the compensation they need to make their best recoveries. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for you.