I was bitten by a neighbor’s dog – what should I do?

According to the ASPCA, approximately 334,000 people in the US visit emergency rooms annually for dog bites. In 2019, there were 46 fatal dog attacks in the United States. Most of these fatalities were children. 

These statistics are alarming.

What should you do if you are bitten by a dog?

If you are bitten by a dog, your first priority should be to seek medical attention for your injuries. Dog bites often result in serious injuries, including lacerations requiring stitches and permanent scarring that can entail expensive plastic surgery (or multiple surgeries) to correct.

In addition to worrying about injuries from bites, you must also confirm that the dog wasn’t carrying any communicable diseases, such as rabies. It’s critical to find out whether you’ve had the proper vaccinations needed and that you get any necessary boosters to minimize long-term illness.

Beyond repairing your physical injuries, seeking medical treatment immediately after a dog bite allows you to document the injuries and the facts surrounding the bite, which helps build your case. Once you have gotten the immediate medical care you need, your next step is to contact an attorney who is experienced with dog bite claims.

Most people aren’t aware that if they are injured by someone else’s dog, they can file a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. Dog bite claims will help compensate you for the injuries incurred, including pain and suffering, scarring, surgeries, medical bills and lost wages from being unable to work. 

In the state of Pennsylvania, liability for dog bites is not automatic. Typically, negligence must be proved in order to pursue the claim. 

What is the process for dog bite claims?

Our team has handled a wide range of dog bite cases, and we will walk you through the entire process. We’ll assist you with:

  • Finding insurance coverage
  • Proving liability
  • Establishing your damages
  • If necessary, obtaining court-approval of a minor’s settlement

Our team examines your specific situation and determines whether or not you are likely to recover damages. We may ask you for details regarding the dog bite injury, as well as information like the name and phone number of the dog’s owner, as well as any witnesses.

What if I was bitten by a dog belonging to a friend or family member?

Many dog bite cases involve a family or friend’s dog and some clients are hesitant to pursue cases against them. Suing a friend or family member can seem overwhelming, but what you may not realize is that the friend or relative’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance typically covers dog bites. In effect, you’re making an insurance claim—not going after your friends or family.

Our primary goal is to negotiate an amicable settlement with the friend’s insurance carrier rather than having to file suit. When necessary, however, we will file a lawsuit. If that is the best approach in your situation, the dog owner’s insurance company will most likely hire an attorney for them, paying all costs and fees.

When it comes to making sure you’re awarded a fair settlement and that you get the money you deserve to compensate for medical bills and lost wages, our team is the one you want on your side. We offer free consultations and are happy to discuss your case at any time. Contact us online or call our firm at 814-452-6232 to schedule an appointment. 

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