Dogs can be loveable and amiable creatures and we often consider dogs to be members of our families. For this reason, many people do not actively realize the potential risks of a dog bite. Dog bite injuries can be more serious than car accidents and thus, it is critical to understand what to do to prevent bites as well as what to do if a dog bite occurs.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at The Levin Firm understand that a dog bite injury can range from simple bites requiring stitches and treatment through physical therapy to severe injuries including loss of limbs, loss of fingers, loss of toes, and even death. Our attorneys treat all dog bite injury cases as the most serious types of cases because of the psychological and physical impact dog bites have on our clients. We understand the fear of dog bites and other pet bites, and their potentially long-term effects this type of incident can have on you and your family. Please contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you after a dog bite.
As mentioned above, there is a wide range of injuries that can result from a dog bite or attack. The following are only some examples of injuries that require medical treatment:
Physical wounds – Dog bites can cause a variety of physical wounds at the site of the bite. This can include lacerations, bruised bones, broken bones, puncture wounds, severed or torn tendons or ligaments, torn muscle tissue, and more. While some physical wounds from dog bites will require more treatment than others, you should always seek medical attention if a dog bite appears to have broken through the skin, as that is when the risk of infection exists.
Infections – Infections are the most common complication of dog bites and can often be more serious than the actual physical wounds. The idea that a dog’s mouth is extremely clean is a myth and many types of bacteria can be transferred during a dog bite. To make matters worse, some dog bites wounds can be very difficult to thoroughly clean on your own. For example, a puncture wound may go deeper than you think and you may not realize that you did not adequately clean to the root of the wound. As the wound heals, it may close and trap bacteria deep in the puncture wound. This can result in a serious or even life-threatening infection. Because the risk of infection is so severe after a dog bite, you should always have your wounds cleaned and treated by a medical professional. If you do suffer an infection, you may have to spend an extended period of time in the hospital and undergo ongoing treatment for months.
Disfigurement – Another risk of a serious dog attack is permanent disfigurement. For example, if a small child experiences a serious bite on their face, they may have permanent scars for the rest of their lives. Dogs have powerful jaws that can maim a person easily if an attack is violent. In addition, some people may lose fingers, toes, or even limbs as a result of a dog bite. Such disfigurement or amputation can then lead to many additional issues – both physically and psychologically. In some cases, reconstructive surgery will be necessary to repair disfigurement as much as possible.
Psychological injuries – One of the most serious – yet least considered – effects of a dog bite is the variety of psychological effects a victim can suffer. First, dog attacks can be sudden and extremely traumatic. Victims may be helpless in the moment of attack and are often terrified. Such an incident can easily result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can have many symptoms of its own, independent of physical injuries.
Some of those symptoms include:
Many PTSD sufferers require medication and extensive psychological treatment before they can get back to normal. Victims may need to take time off work or regular activities while they recover. Some PTSD sufferers cannot even leave the house for a period of time without having debilitating panic attacks.
Dog bites can also cause an intense fear of dogs. Considering the number of dogs that are constantly out on the streets in Philadelphia, it is not uncommon for a dog bite victim to want to stay inside or avoid going to the homes of family or friends who have dogs. This can completely change the course of a person’s life.
Whether your dog bite injuries are physical, psychological, or both, you may deserve compensation from the dog’s owner for your losses. You should always discuss your legal rights and options with an attorney who fully understands dog bite laws in Pennsylvania. Call The Levin Firm today.
Every state has different laws regarding the liability of a dog owner after a bite or attack. In Pennsylvania, a dog owner is held strictly liable for the medical expenses of a person bitten by their dog. This means that in order to seek compensation for your medical bills, you do not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent in any way – just that they were responsible for the dog at the time of the attack.
Many dog bite victims have losses that extend well beyond medical bills, however, including lost income, physical and mental pain and suffering, and permanent disfigurement. In such cases, you do have to prove one of the following to seek compensation:
Dog bite cases can be handled in different ways. For example, some homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bite accidents that took place on the dog owner’s property. If an insurance claim is inadequate to resolve the matter, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania civil court.
Just because you file a lawsuit does not mean your case will go to trial, however. There are many stages of dog bite litigation including several rounds of settlement negotiations. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators with both insurance companies and parties to a lawsuit. We will always fight for the full amount you deserve for your dog bite-related losses and will handle every step of your case.
In Pennsylvania, dogs must always be on their leash if they are out of their home area. When dogs are allowed to roam freely, dog bites occur and our dog bite clients suffer from disfigurement including broken bones, deep bruises, cuts and other wounds that result in our clients requiring treatment for psychological problems, plastic surgery, physical therapy and even rabies treatment. Our personal injury lawyers regularly work with insurance companies to get the best results for our dog bite clients and to hold dog owners liable for the harm caused by their dogs.
Our team of aggressive investigators and lawyers devote their maximum effort and time to their dog bite and pet bite clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys represent our dog bite clients with the same passion and vigor as all of our personal injury clients.
When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury lawyer to represent you, a family member or friend who has suffered serious physical and psychological trauma from a dog bite or pet bite, you can feel confident when you contact The Levin Firm, where our personal injury lawyers work to obtain the best result for each possible case. To arrange a free consultation, please give us a call at 215-825-5183 or send us an email via the form above.
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