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What do I need to know about dog attacks?

Dog attacks and bites are serious matters, often inflicting physical pain, requiring medical attention, and causing emotional trauma. In some severe cases, dog attacks can result in death. In 2013, dog bite liabilities cost United States insurers more than $483 million. In the list of states with the most dog bite claims that same year, Pennsylvania ranked fifth, with 180 claims.

Any dog can bite, regardless of the breed, age, or the amount of love and training it has received.

After a dog bite, victims are often confused about what steps to take, especially if the dog belongs to a friend, neighbor, or family member. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney's knowledge of dog bite laws can help. In most cases, the dog owner's homeowner's or renter's insurance company will be responsible for compensating the victim. The attorney will work to recover medical costs, lost wages, and he or she will seek additional compensation for emotional trauma.

The first step in the event of a dog bite is to contact the police and/or local emergency medical services so that you can receive proper medical attention. Calling the police also assures that the facts of the attack are recorded. If possible, take photos of the scene, your injuries, and obtain contact information from any witnesses.

Pennsylvania's dog bite laws have been updated several times over the past few decades. At one time, dog bite victims could only make a claim against the dog's owners if the dog had a history of biting or viciousness. Today, that is not always the case. Damages may be awarded if the attack was serious enough, if the owner violated confinement/leash laws, or if the attack showed that the dog had a vicious tendency.

Dog attacks can also be complicated when the dog owners argue that the dog was provoked, that the victim was trespassing, and more. Dog ordinances may vary from town to town, so it's important to seek a local attorney's expertise for specific questions.

If you have been injured by a dog, or if you own a dog who has injured someone, contact Doug Engelman or Dave Wilk today to determine your rights.



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