Lancaster Dog Bite Lawyer
Help is Available for Serious Dog Bite Injuries in Southeastern Pennsylvania
Dog bites might occur after being growled at or chased by a vicious dog, but they may also just happen out of the blue, and even the owner may have no idea that his or her pet would ever bite a person. In Pennsylvania, dog owners can be held strictly liable for dog bites, even if they did not know their pet might bite. Pennsylvania dog bite law is a confusing mix of strict liability and negligence, with different rules depending upon the nature of the injury and the dog. John P. Stengel is a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney who understands Pennsylvania dog bite law and knows how to prepare a case so that dog bite victims are compensated for their injuries. See below for more information about Pennsylvania dog bite law, and if you have been attacked or bitten in southeastern Pennsylvania, call Lancaster dog bite lawyer John P. Stengel for help.
Dog Bite Injuries can be Severe
Every serious dog bite has two things in common: they are painful, and they are scary. Depending upon the size and breed of dog, and the size of the victim, injuries from dog bites and attacks can be very severe and even fatal. Some of the more serious consequences may include broken bones, facial lacerations and scarring, life-threatening infections, and nerve damage. Psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, can also result from a terrifying or vicious attack. Sadly, young children are especially prone to the most severe injuries, although persons of any age can be seriously hurt in a dog attack.
A Look at Pennsylvania Dog Bite Law
There are many elements to Pennsylvania dog bite law, and it can be confusing to know which aspect of the law applies to a particular situation. In some instances, dog owners are held strictly liable for the injuries which result from their animal’s attack, while in other cases the injury victim must be able to prove that the owner was somehow negligent in keeping the dog or allowing the attack to occur. Pennsylvania law requires dog owners to keep their animals under reasonable control, whether confined in the house or yard, or kept on a leash when off the property. Failure to conform to these laws makes the owner per se negligent, although there are other ways an owner can be proven negligent as well.
In some cases, the victim may be able to recover compensation for medical costs, while in other cases the full range of damages may be available (present and future medical bills, lost wages for time spent off work, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.). Whether full damages are available depends on whether the injuries were severe, such as broken bones, disfiguring lacerations or injuries requiring cosmetic surgery. Also, full damages may be available if the victim can prove that the owner was negligent or knew that the animal had a dangerous propensity. Ways to prove an animal’s vicious tendencies might include showing that the dog had bitten before, had exhibited an act of aggression, engaged in constant growling, chased or rushed at someone in a vicious manner, injured or attacked a person without provocation, or injured or killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property.
Even when strict liability applies, dog owners may find ways to defend themselves and escape liability. For instance, they may claim that the victim was trespassing at the time, or that the victim did something to provoke the attack. These defenses may or may not apply depending upon the circumstances. There are also special rules for owners of animals which are defined as dangerous dogs under Pennsylvania law.
Call John P. Stengel in Lancaster after a Dog Bite Injury or Attack in Southeastern Pennsylvania
As a Board-Certified Specialist with 25 years of legal experience, attorney John P. Stengel understands how to bring a successful case to recover the maximum amount of compensation for a dog bite victim. Call 717-290-7971 for a free consultation regarding your potential claims. If you cannot travel due to your injuries, Lancaster dog bite lawyer John Stengel will come to you. Your matter will be handled on a contingency fee basis, and there is no fee without a recovery.