The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports  that pets are present in more than 83 million homes in the United States and that an estimated 4.5 million people sustain a dog bite on an annual basis.
Dog attacks can be sudden, unexpected, and terrifying. Victims are often left shaken or even traumatized by the sudden act of violence and the pain resulting from their bite wounds. It is understandable that victims may not know what to do immediately following a dog bite incident, however, failing to take certain steps can significantly impair your chances of obtaining the full financial recovery you deserve from the liable dog owner.
Like any other type of accident and injury, there are certain steps you should take to improve and preserve your chances of obtaining compensation for all of your injury-related losses. The following are only some examples of what you should do if you or your child sustains injuries from a dog bite.
Under Pennsylvania law,  dog bites victims are entitled to compensation for their medical costs following a dog bite, whether or not the injuries caused by the dog were serious. For this reason, anyone who sustains a dog bite should not hesitate to undergo a full medical evaluation as soon as possible after the attack.
If emergency personnel state you require emergency treatment, you should heed their advice and allow them to transport you to the nearest hospital or medical center. Even if you do not need to go in an ambulance, you should head to the emergency room or doctor as soon as possible after the dog bite occurred. This is the case even if you believe that your injuries are minor and can be treated at home. Dog bites can lead to many complications and infections and it is highly important to have medical professional evaluate your injuries and perform tests. In addition, the records from your evaluation can serve as important pieces of evidence when trying to demonstrate that you sustained serious injuries and deserve additional compensation.
If you are able to remain at the scene of the dog bite for a period of time and the owner of the dog is present, you should get information from them including their name and contact information. It is important that your attorney be able to identify and locate the owner of the dog so that you know against whom to file a legal claim, if necessary. If the dog is not with an owner, you should see if anyone n nearby homes recognizes the dog. Taking a photo of the dog—whenever possible—can help to identify the owner. If you are unable to seek out the owner due to your injuries, see if anyone else can help you do so.
It is always wise to call and report the incident to the police following a dog bite. Law enforcement officers will arrive on the scene and will take down your version of the events that occurred leading up to the dog attack. The officers will then file a police report, which can serve as an official record of the attack. If the report assigns fault to the dog owner, it can only help any subsequent legal claim.
In addition to information for the dog owner, you should also collect contact information for any individuals who witnessed the attack. Witness testimony can be extremely important in a dog bite case, especially when the dog owner is accusing you of provoking the dog. A witness can provide support for your side of the story, which can be very helpful in demonstrating negligence on the part of the dog owner.
In addition to witness information, it can be helpful to gather any other seemingly relevant information at the scene, if possible. Take photos, note any conditions that may be out of the ordinary or may seem important to establish the events that occurred.
As soon as you have sought medical attention and your injuries are stabilized, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney who understands the dog bite laws in our state. At The Levin Firm, experienced dog bite attorney Gabriel Levin has represented the rights of many different dog bite victims. We offer free consultations and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call today at 215-825-5183 for assistance.
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