The Philadelphia dog bite attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm can help you file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a family member attacked by a dog. We have researched and handled thousands of injury cases since 1979 and support our clients with over three and a half decades of experience. To set up a free and confidential consultation, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 today. Dog bite victims could also schedule their free case review online with one of our skilled Philadelphia dog bite lawyers.
Dog Bite Statistics and Common Injuries
According to the American Humane Association, there are more than 4.5 million dog bites each year, and while the dog population may be declining, attacks are on the rise. Sadly, many of these attacks are preventable. While injuries can vary in severity, close to 30,000 reconstructive surgeries were performed in 2013 alone to repair dog bite injuries. These numbers still hold true as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has indicated that approximately 27,000 people required reconstructive surgery for dog bites.
Children, the elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog attacks. In fact, 50% of all injuries associated with dog bites and attacks occur in children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dog bites were among the leading causes of nonfatal injury to children between the ages of one to 14 from 2003 through 2012. However, in 2019, adult victims in the 30-49 age range surpassed child victims in the 0-4 age range for fatal dog bite injuries. Many of these fatalities were due to attacks by pit bulls.
Dog bite injuries can vary from mild to severe, and in some grave instances, even cause fatalities. The most common dog bite injuries include:
- Broken Bones
- Severed Limbs
- Facial Injuries
- Physical Disfigurement
- Permanent Scarring
- Permanent Disability
According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance companies for homeowners paid nearly $797 million for dog bite victims and victims of dog-related accidents. It is also important to note that many dog attacks result in a victim sustaining multiple bites to various areas of their body. The location of the bite and the type of dog that attacked the victim could affect a victim in a number of ways. For example, multiple bites from a rottweiler could mean that the victim could suffer from broken bones, severed limbs, and disfigurement from one dog attack.
Dog bites are physically, emotionally, and psychologically traumatic for victims, especially children, and have even been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological burdens can require costly medical treatment and interfere with important parts of daily life, like employment and relationships.
As mentioned, the breed of dog also plays a role in determining whether the injuries sustained by a victim were fatal. For instance, from 2005 to 2019, 521 Americans were killed in dog attacks. 346 or 66% of these deaths were attributed to attacks by pit bulls. As a result, a number of U.S. cities have regulations in place for owners of pit bulls and other potentially dangerous dog breeds.
To learn more about filing a dog bite injury lawsuit after a serious injury, you should continue reading and work with an experienced Philadelphia dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
When to File a Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit in Philadelphia
Victims of dog bites often have to contend with serious injuries that may require weeks of recovery or possibly even surgery to correct. Unfortunately, while recovering from their injuries, a victim will also have to consider the limited amount of time they have to file their dog bite lawsuit due to the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations determines the amount of time that a potential plaintiff has to file their lawsuit with a court of law. The length of time provided to the potential plaintiff is subject to change based on a variety of factors. For example, each state will have different filing deadlines, and the deadlines could also change depending on the subject matter of the case. As a result, one of the best ways to determine the filing deadline for your dog bite case is to work with an experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyer.
In Pennsylvania, a victim of a dog bite has two years to file their case with an appropriate court of law. However, if a victim does not pay close attention to the two-year deadline, they may file their case after the deadline has expired. When a victim files their case after the filing deadline has lapsed, the court has the authority to bar the claim from being filed at all. Specifically, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss, or the court could make the decision that the statute of limitations deadline has passed.
Additionally, if a victim was under the age of majority at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations deadline could be delayed. However, you should not assume that you are eligible to delay your filing deadline without speaking to a Philadelphia dog bite lawyer.
Missing the deadline for your case is not a scenario you want to endure. You will not have other options to recover compensation from the negligent dog owner. As a result, you will be solely responsible for medical bills and other costs associated with the accident. This could lead to a significant amount of debt as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has noted that a hospital stay for a dog bite could result in medical bills in the range of $18,200.
The Reiff Law Firm recognizes the importance of filing a dog bite lawsuit on time, and we could help you meet the statute of limitations deadline for your potential case.
Liability and Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Philadelphia
In Pennsylvania, dog owners are not responsible for dog bites unless they knew, or had reason to know, of their dog’s deliberately violent nature. Under PA law, dogs are seen as domesticated animals, so they are deemed harmless unless otherwise indicated by a vicious tendency or past history of attacks.
There are also laws in effect in which dog owners may be charged with ‘harboring a dangerous dog’ if their dog has a propensity to violence, has a history of unprovoked attacks, or has been used in a crime. Landlords may be liable if they knew of the dog’s vicious nature or dangerous history.
As the innocent victim of a dog bite or dog mauling in Pennsylvania, you may be able to entitled to damages for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, and other related expenses. In one instance, we were able to recover $50,000 for our client’s child who was bitten and permanently scarred by a dog bite. The dog, in this case, had never bitten anyone prior to this incident. However, a first-time dog attack does not exempt an owner from being liable for the accident. Our legal team is highly experienced in handling dog bite liability claims and understand the physical, emotional, psychological, and financial difficulties they can often lead to.
Establishing liability can be complicated by factors like the dog’s previous bite history and the severity of the injury. It is important to contact the experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm to handle your injury so that you don’t have to navigate the legal complexities on your own. We have the knowledge, dedication, experience, and compassion to help you fight for justice and fair compensation.
We do not recommend trying to settle a dog attack directly with the dog’s owner or their insurance company. Insurance companies are known for trying to settle injury claims out of court, so the compensation they offer may not always have your best interests fully in mind.
Often, insurance companies will offer to pay far less compensation to a victim of an attack than the money they may have been awarded had they worked with an attorney. Furthermore, as a dog attack victim, you may have to involve your own health insurance company, which can add frustration and anxiety to an already stressful situation. At the Reiff Law Firm, we strive to ease our clients emotionally while helping them navigate their liability claims.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury in Philadelphia
Dog attacks could be horrifying and traumatic for a victim, as many of these accidents occurred when the dog was unprovoked. However, if the victim is able, they should take the following steps that could help their potential lawsuit, and that may prevent another vicious dog attack.
One of the first steps to take is to get yourself to safety and seek medical attention. Even if you believe the dog bite was minor, you could be infected with a disease like rabies that should be treated immediately. Be sure to inform the medical staff that your injuries were the result of a dog bite, as this will help with treatment and will also make it easier to document the injury.
After seeking medical attention, you should be sure to report the attack to law enforcement. Law enforcement will make the decision of whether the dog should be removed from the owner’s possession or whether the dog poses a serious danger to the public.
You should also take the time to detail the accident for your own records. Be sure to list the following information:
- Description of the dog (e.g., breed, color, identifying marks)
- Whether the dog belonged to another person
- The name of the pet owner and their contact information
- The details of the accident
- Photos of the injuries you sustained
Once you have this information, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyer to discuss your case. The Reiff Law Firm could examine the details of your case and determine the appropriate choice to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Contact Our Skilled Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyers to Discuss Your Potential Injury Lawsuit
If you or a family member was seriously injured by a dog bite, attack, or mauling, or if someone you loved passed away due to their injuries, we may be able to help you recover compensation. The committed legal team at the Reiff Law Firm would like to provide you with aggressive legal representation that is tailored to your unique needs. We recognize how a severe dog bite injury could traumatize a victim, and we are here to fight for the compensation that you deserve. To arrange for a free review of your dog bite case, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.