A lot of dog bites involve dogs familiar to the victims, whether a neighbor’s dog, a family member’s dog or friend’s dog. In such cases, some feel reluctant to report the dog attack out of fear of ruining the relationship with the dog’s owner. But reporting the dog attack could be an important part of recovering compensation for your damages.
If a dog has bitten you or attacked another person or animal, here’s what you need to know about how to report a dog attack.
Call the Dog Law Enforcement Office
The Dog Law Enforcement Office was established to help manage the millions of dogs that live in the state of Pennsylvania and regulate the activities of dogs considered to be dangerous. While Pennsylvania law requires that the owner of a dog who attacks a person report the attack, a dog owner may not always do this. As such, if you’ve been attacked or seen a dog attack, it’s important to report the dog attack to the Dog Law Enforcement Office immediately.
When notifying the office, be prepared to give a detailed account of the attack. You also can file a complaint about a dog online through the Dog Law Enforcement Office’s dog law complaint form.
File a Report with the Local Police
While reporting a dog attack to the local police might seem unnecessary, it can actually be one of the most important steps in keeping local law enforcement privy to dangerous animals. An official bite report will document the attack and allow officers to determine whether or not the dog has had a history of attacks.
Who’s liable for your injuries?
Filing to report the dog attack can be one of the first steps in recovering compensation for your injuries. You also must establish liability for the damages you sustained.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Pennsylvania, the owner of the dog may be liable for your injuries. This depends on a few different factors. If the dog had a history of aggressive behavior or had bitten in the past and the owner was aware, then the owner may be liable. Negligence is also grounds to hold an owner liable for injuries, such as if the owner violated state dog laws.
If the dog caused serious injury without provocation, the owner may be liable as well. Serious injury includes broken bones, disfigurement from lacerations, and injuries that necessitate cosmetic surgery. The owner would be liable for medical bills and other injury-related damages. Meanwhile, if the victim did not suffer serious injuries, then he or she may hold the owner liable for medical expenses only.
However, if the attack occurred while a person trespassed on the dog owner’s property or provoked the dog, the owner may not be liable, depending upon the specifics of the incident.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney after a Dog Attack
If you sustained severe injuries from a dog attack, call a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you understand dog bite laws in Pennsylvania and can outline options for recovering damages for your injury. If you’ve been injured, the sooner you take legal action, the better.
For guidance throughout the process of filing your claim, questions regarding your responsibilities during a lawsuit and what types of compensation you may be able to recover, call the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC. Our attorneys are ready to take on your case and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. For a case consultation or to begin filing today, call us now at 215-642-2335 to get started.