There are millions of dogs in the United States, and as animal experts know, some dog owners are great and some are not so great. Those who are irresponsible, or worse, those who train dogs to be aggressive, may create a lot of legal liabilities in a state like Pennsylvania. That is because all dogs in the state are put into a sort of not guilty status until they prove themselves otherwise. And though you might think that any dog owner whose dog has attacked and injured someone is automatically liable, the laws don’t actually stipulate this to be the case.
In other words, if you are bitten by a dog while out walking, and it seems obvious to you that the owner should pay for your medical expenses, they may not be seen as liable for these issues. This is why it is of the utmost importance to get in touch with one of the better Pennsylvania dog bite attorneys as soon as the incident occurs.
With their knowledge of relevant cases and the current laws around dog bites, they can help you to get the best outcome. Whether it is to get your medical bills covered or to pay for everything from medical expenses to legal fees, the sooner you work with an attorney the better the outcome for you as the injured party.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Not all states have dog bite laws in place, and that can make for a lot of headaches for everyone involved in a dog biting incident. In Pennsylvania, however, they have a one-bite rule that basically views all dogs as innocent and not at all dangerous until they do bite or injure someone. Then, the severity of the incident is considered.
In other words, under the laws of the state, the victims are put into one of two possible categories – they may be severely injured or they may have minor injuries. This is the first phase of any legal case that the victim may be trying to build in order to pursue compensation or legal expenses, and it proves that a qualified attorney is an absolute must whenever you (or a loved one) is bitten by a dog in Pennsylvania.
If you had just a scrape or the skin was barely broken, this is going to constitute a minor injury, and Pennsylvania dog bite laws will allow you to seek only compensation for your medical expenses. However, if the bite is severe and requires stitches, cosmetic surgery or more medical support, you may be able to demand compensation for other costs associated with the attack as well as all legal expenses.
The burden of proof, though, remains on the victim. The dog owner does not have to prove anything, but they will have to counter your arguments, and this is when an attorney is your best ally.
Pennsylvania Dog Bite Attorneys Help Get Results
Just consider that you may need to show that the dog bit you without any provocation or that the dog has a history of biting people. How do you plan on doing that? How will you prove this to a court or a judge? This is not something you want to handle on your own. Rather, it is something for a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
Heavens Law has experience with dog bite cases of all kinds, and whether the dog owner is clearly the problem for having trained the dog to attack or to have ignored the dog’s bad behaviors, or it is a minor injury and you are struggling to get medical fees paid by the owner, they will be available to help. Get in touch for an initial consultation and to determine the next steps.
- FindLaw.com. Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview. 2015. http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/dog-bites-and-animal-attack-overview.html