If you or your child are seriously injured from a dog bite, we can help you bring a lawsuit to get the money that you need to pay for medical treatment of your injuries and reconstructive surgery, if necessary. Our Philadelphia attorneys are prepared to serve as your dog bite lawyer.
We typically do not handle “minor” dog bite cases. Our background is in catastrophic personal injury and medical malpractice cases. We use this experience to litigate cases on behalf of victims who have been severely injured, require extensive medical treatment or for families who have lost loved ones due to fatal dog attacks. Our personal injury attorneys will provide a free evaluation of the facts of your case to determine whether it is one that we can help you with. Call 215-367-5151.
More than 4 million Americans are victims of dog bites every year and almost 1 million are so serious that they need medical attention. Tens of thousands of victims require reconstructive plastic surgery and several thousand need hospitalization to care for injuries sustained due to canines.
The dog breeds most likely to be involved in biting humans are the Pitt Bull (American Pit Bull Terrier), Rottweiler and German Shepherd. Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers were the breed responsible for 74% of the human deaths from dogs in America from 2005 to 2014.
Who Gets Injured?
The most at risk are children from the ages of 5 to 9 years old, with male children particularly at risk. They often sustain injuries on their head, neck or face. Adults, on the other hand, typically are bitten on their hands or arms.
Dog Bite Infections
Dogs carry a number of pathogens that may result in the transmission of disease. The organisms can be debilitating and result in wound infections, gangrene, sepsis, meningitis and other injuries. One of the most dangerous aspects of dog bites used to be rabies. Rabies is a preventable virus that infects the central nervous system of mammals bitten by rabid animals. However, vaccination programs and animal control has done an effective job at reducing, if not eliminating, this threat from dogs. If someone has been bitten, contact their physician immediately to determine the appropriate treatment protocol.
Fatal Dog Attacks
There are approximately 30 or so deaths due to incidents of dog mauling a year in the United States.
Pennsylvania has passed legislation to require the confinement of animals and a special provision for the containment of dogs deemed dangerous under the law unless they are muzzled and restrained. If an owner violates the law and someone is injured due to a dog bite, then the owner can be held liable for the injuries to the victim. Additionally, a victim can recover if the dog owner knew or should have known about the dog’s propensity for violence but nevertheless failed to take proper precautions. Lawsuits must be filed within the appropriate statute of limitations period, so contact an attorney at McEldrew Young immediately to discuss your potential case.
Dog owners are not absolutely liable for injuries caused by their dogs. Proof of the owner’s negligence is required. A landlord may also be responsible for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog if he or she has actual knowledge of the dogs dangerous propensities. The landlord must owe a duty of care, breach that duty, and the injuries must be proximately caused by the breach. A primary purpose of the PA Dog Law is to address the danger of roving dogs. The failure to confine section of the law is section 459-305. It is unlawful for any dog to not be confined within the premises of the owner, secured on a leash or other device, under the reasonable control of some person, or engaged in lawful hunting or other specified activities. This has translated into a rule in civil litigation that those individuals which violate the law are liable for injuries caused by it under a legal doctrine known as negligence per se. An act is negligence per se if the act is considered negligent because it violates a statute or regulation. Pennsylvania’s Dangerous Dog Statute is found at 3 P.S. § 459-504-A. A dog that has been adjudicated by a court as a dangerous dog because of previous attacks must have a proper enclosure or be muzzled and restrained. If the owner of a dog that has been adjudicated a dangerous dog does not follow the law and an individual is injured, the owner can be held liable.