Dog bites can not only cause victims to sustain serious injury and physical pain, but they may also create life-changing psychological issues due to the fear and anxiety that victims may experience following the attack.
Everything was handled to make the whole process easy for me.
- Client of Schmidt Kramer
The Lancaster dog bite lawyers at Schmidt Kramer are aware of the challenges that may arise for victims following being attacked by a dog, including large medical bills, physical and emotional pain, rehabilitation costs and more. As a dog bite victim in Pennsylvania, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the damages you suffered. Our attorneys have detailed knowledge of Pennsylvania's dog bite laws and can help to build a robust argument for your dog bite case.
With a proven record of success, we charge no upfront fees if we take on your case and it's free to talk to a lawyer at our firm to find out if you have a case.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Dog bite victims that hire a lawyer generally recover more financial compensation compared to those that have no legal representation.
In many cases, insurance companies and their defense lawyers will also become involved in the legal proceedings. At Schmidt Kramer, we can handle their inquiries on your behalf and ensure that your rights as a victim are being protected.
We have many years of experience handling cases against insurance companies and use our knowledge to build a strong argument for your dog bite case.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims
Some dog bite claims are settled through insurance claims. For example, you may be able to obtain compensation from the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance.
However, sometimes you need to file a lawsuit to obtain the compensation you deserve. Pennsylvania law places a time limit on filing a lawsuit for personal injuries, including injuries caused by dog bites.
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years from the date of the injury. This means if you do not file a lawsuit within those two years, you lose the right to file a lawsuit.
This is why it is so important to contact a dog bite lawyer in Lancaster as soon as possible after a dog attack. This gives your attorney plenty of time to prepare a case and ensure it is filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dogs are often friendly, but when they attack they can cause severe and potentially life-changing injuries. Children and the elderly have a particularly high risk of suffering serious injuries. Children are smaller and weaker than adults and the elderly are weaker and have more brittle bones.
Some of the common injuries that often result from dog bites include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Severe bruising
- Serious scarring, particularly on the face
- Nerve damage
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Puncture wounds
- Infections like rabies or tetanus
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Psychological issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that could be triggered whenever the victim encounters a dog
These injuries often require extensive, long-term treatment, including surgical procedures, prescription and over-the-counter medication, testing such as MRIs and CT scans, and meeting with a therapist.
If you can prove the owner is liable, you may be entitled to compensation to cover these medical expenses and other damages caused by the attack. This could include physical and emotional pain and suffering or lost wages if you miss work because of your injuries.
Contact a Lancaster dog bite lawyer today by calling (717) 888-8888.
What Should You Do After a Dog Bite?
Dog bite victims not only feel shock and physical pain, but they may also be unsure of what to do next. A dog attack is a very stressful experience so it can be difficult to think clearly and determine the proper actions to take.
Many victims do not understand that their actions immediately after the attack can help or hurt their chances of obtaining compensation for damages.
This is why dog bite victims need to take steps that can help ensure their health and safety and preserve their legal claim. These steps include:
Seeking Immediate Medical Care
Your health and safety needs to be the first priority after suffering a dog bite injury. No matter how minor you think your injuries are, you need to go the hospital or a doctor's office to be thoroughly examined. A trained medical professional can identify all of your injuries, their severity and appropriate treatment.
Seeking medical care right away is also important because it helps to link your injuries to the dog attack. Your medical records will note that your injuries were caused by a dog attack, which will be an invaluable piece of evidence when you pursue compensation.
If you wait to seek treatment, it looks suspicious to juries and insurance companies. They will be more likely to think your injuries were caused by something else, making it more difficult to obtain fair compensation.
Collecting Evidence at the Scene
If you are physically able to do so, collect evidence from the scene. This includes taking pictures of the scene and your injuries, writing down the location of the attack, the dog owner’s name and contact information, contact information for eyewitnesses and a description of what they saw, along with your recollection of what occurred.
It is important to collect this information soon after the attack. As time passes, you will have a more difficult time remembering what happened. The same is true for any witnesses to the attack. Once you leave the scene, damage to the area or other traces of the attack could be cleaned up or removed so it will never look the way it did right after the attack.
When taking pictures, make sure to photograph your injuries and any damage to your clothes, such as tears or blood stains. You should also take pictures of any damage to the scene, such as blood on the grass or sidewalk or damage to the grass or dirt from the attack. If you fell into a fence or other object on the owner’s property during the attack and it was damaged, make sure to take pictures.
Following the Doctor’s Orders
When you receive treatment, the doctor will give you a treatment plan to help ensure your continued recovery. This may include taking prescription medication, avoiding certain activities, changing bandages, attending follow-up appointments or meeting with specialists.
Following the doctor’s instructions is not only important for your health, it can also help demonstrate the seriousness of your claim to insurers and juries. If you stop treatment, it could invalidate your claim, or the insurance company could argue you are not actually hurt.
Contacting an Attorney
After you receive treatment, you should strongly consider contacting a licensed Lancaster dog bite lawyer for a free legal consultation.
The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer can determine all of your legal options. We are committed to pursuing fair compensation for all of the damages you have suffered. We can manage every aspect of the legal process. This includes communicating with the insurance company, negotiating compensation, calculating the full value of your damages, and keeping you informed throughout the process.
Dog Bite Laws in Pennsylvania
In some states, dog owners cannot be held liable for bites or attacks unless their dog was known to be vicious or dangerous. However, Pennsylvania follows a strict liability standard, which means owners can be held liable whenever their dog attacks someone, even if the dog was not known to be vicious or dangerous.
The only exceptions to the strict liability standard are for trespassing or provoking the dog. Owners cannot be held liable if they can prove the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing at the time of the attack. Provoking the dog could include tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog.
In strict liability cases, the injury suffered by the victim will be classified as severe or non-severe. A severe injury is one that causes broken bones or disfiguring lacerations that require multiple stitches or cosmetic surgery. If you suffered a severe injury, you can pursue a claim for medical bills, legal fees, emotional trauma and lost wages.
However, if your injury is considered non-severe, you can only pursue compensation for medical expenses created by your injury.
The Lancaster dog bite attorneys at our firm have detailed knowledge of how to establish liability for your dog bite. We are committed to pursuing fair compensation for the damages you suffered.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Dangerous Dog Law
If a dog attacks you, it may be deemed a dangerous dog under Pennsylvania law. Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog law defines a dangerous dog as one that meets the following two criteria:
The dog has done one of the following things:
- Caused a person to suffer a severe injury on public or private property
- Killed or caused severe injury to a domestic animal, dog or cat, without being provoked while off the owner’s property
- Attacked a person without provocation
- Been used to commit a crime
The dog has either of the following:
- A history of attacking people or domestic animals without being provoked
- A propensity to attack people or domestic animals without being provoked – a propensity can be shown with one single incident
Legal Obligations of Dangerous Dog Owners
Once an owner’s dog has been deemed dangerous, the law imposes certain responsibilities, including:
- Registering the dog with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement
- Posting a sign on his or her property saying the dog is dangerous
- Purchasing at least $50,000 in liability insurance for any personal injuries caused by the dog
- Placing a muzzle on the dog and keeping it on a leash when it is outside its enclosure or the owner’s property (the leash requirement also applies to dogs that have not been deemed dangerous)
- Keeping the dog inside or creating and maintaining a proper enclosure for the animal, such as a securely enclosed or locked pen that will keep the animal from escaping and prevent young children from getting inside
If the owner does not uphold these requirements and it results in a person being injured, the owner may be held criminally liable.
The owner could also be held liable for the damages suffered by the victim under the theory of negligence per se. Under this theory, owners can be held liable for violations of statutes and regulations when those violations cause harm to someone else. A violation of a statute or regulation is considered a breach of the duty of care. A breach of the duty of care is a failure of someone to act the way a reasonable person would if he or she was in a similar situation.
The dog bite attorneys in Lancaster at our firm can review your situation in a free, no obligation legal consultation. We will not charge for our services unless you receive compensation.
Call Schmidt Kramer today at (717) 888-8888.
How to Avoid a Dog Bite
Some dogs are more aggressive than others, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of an attack. There are also things you should emphasize with your children to help lower their risk of an attack, since they are particularly vulnerable to severe injury if they are bitten or attacked by a dog.
- Never touch a dog before asking the owner for permission.
- Never touch a dog while it is eating or drinking.
- If a dog is tense, backing away from you or has a stiff tail, it could feel threatened, so you should stay away.
- Do not make eye contact with a dog until it has had a chance to smell you and get more comfortable with you.
- Do not make sudden movements when approaching a dog. Get down into a crouch to make yourself smaller and less threatening.
- If a dog begins to act aggressively, do not make eye contact and slowly back away until the dog loses interest in you.
- Never leave small children alone with a dog.
No matter how many precautions you take, a dog bite could still happen. If it does, contact a dog bite lawyer in Lancaster for a free legal consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Call an attorney today for a free legal consultation. Call (717) 888-8888.
Contact a Lancaster Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites and attacks can be terrifying experiences that leave you with physical injuries and psychological trauma.
While nothing can change what happened, you may be entitled to compensation for the various damages you have suffered. This is the law’s way of trying to put you back in the position you were in before the attack.
The dog bite attorneys in Lancaster at our firm can review your situation in a free, no obligation legal consultation. This means there is no risk to you in contacting us to determine your legal options.
If we take your case, you will not be charged for our services unless you recover the fair compensation you deserve.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today.