Dog Bite Lawyer in Norristown
Norristown dog owners are legally obligated to protect guests and the public by restraining and controlling their dogs. When dog owners fail to prevent dog bites, they are strictly liable for medical costs and may also be liable for other damages.
The Norristown personal injury attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC help dog bite victims get justice and recover compensation for their injuries.
What are the Pennsylvania dog laws?
The state of Pennsylvania requires owners to contain their dogs and prohibits owners from allowing their dogs to run at large. All dogs in Norristown must be vaccinated for rabies and licensed through the Montgomery County Treasurer at the Montgomery County Courthouse on the corner of Swede and Airy streets.
As stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, dogs with vicious propensities may be designated as dangerous dogs. The law defines a dangerous dog as one with a history of attacking humans or domestic animals without provocation or a propensity to do so.
Dangerous dogs are further defined as having done any of the following on public or private property, even if it only happened once:
- Severely injured a person without provocation
- Killed or severely injured a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property
- Attacked a human being without provocation
- Been used to commit a crime
Owners of dangerous dogs face strict confinement and registration requirements.
Is there a one-bite rule in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania does not have a one-bite rule. A one-bite rule is a law that allows dog owners to escape liability for unprovoked dog bites if the dog has never bitten anyone before. In Pennsylvania, dog owners can face two types of liability: strict liability and liability for negligence, even if it is the first time.
Strict liability means the owner is liable even when the owner was not negligent. Pennsylvania law imposes strict liability on dog owners for medical bills caused by unprovoked dog bites, regardless of whether the dog has a history of biting.
Pennsylvania common law allows victims to claim other damages, such as pain and suffering, when it can be proven that the dog owner’s negligence precipitated the bite. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove at least one of the following:
- The owner knew or reasonably should have known that the dog has vicious tendencies, whether or not the dog has a history of biting.
- The owner failed to restrain the dog properly.
- The owner failed to adequately warn that the dog may bite.
- The bite occurred while the owner was violating state or local dog laws.
Have you suffered an injury?
Who is liable for dog bites?
Liability for dog bites almost always rests on the owner. However, there may be exceptions when the dog is under the care of another individual, such as the following:
- A veterinarian
- A boarding kennel
- A pet-sitter
However, being under the care of someone else does not always remove liability from the owner. An experienced dog bite attorney can determine who is liable in your situation.
How much is my dog bite case worth?
The amount of compensation available in a dog bite cases depends on the following:
- Whether the owner was negligent
- The extent of your injuries
- The financial consequences of the injuries
- The conduct of the owner
You may be eligible to receive economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages from your dog bite lawsuit.
A type of economic damage, medical expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Doctor bills
- Reconstructive surgery
- Mental health counseling
- Assistive devices
- In-home care
Lost wages are only available in cases where you can prove negligence and may include:
- Missed time at work
- Projected missed earnings
- Lost benefits
In cases of permanent disability, lost wages include projected lifetime earnings and benefits. Benefits include the cost of health insurance, missed 401(k) contributions, and the monetary value of other job benefits.
Non-economic damages are subjective losses related to a diminished quality of life. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
There is no state-imposed limit on the noneconomic damages you can recover.
Punitive damages in Pennsylvania may be awarded in cases where it can be proven that the defendant’s conduct demonstrates an evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of others.
Dog Bites and Children
According to the National Humane Education Society, more than half of dog bites involve children, most commonly children between the ages of five and nine. Young children are most at risk for serious injuries because their head, face, and neck tend to be about the same height as a large dog’s head.
We Handle All Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can have lasting effects and potentially lead to life-threatening complications, such as tetanus or rabies. Cordisco & Saile LLC helps clients with dog bite injuries.
We have assisted clients facing the following physical injuries and more:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Permanent scars
- Injuries to the face, neck, ears, and skull
- Facial disfigurement and scarring
- Permanent disability
Injuries to the hands, especially the right hand, are common and can permanently limit life activities.
The University of Pittsburgh has documented that dog bite victims may face life-altering psychological symptoms, which may constitute post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Fear of dogs
- General phobias
- Nightmares and sleep disturbances
- Unexplained emotional outbursts
- Change of appetite
- Speech disorders
Psychological injuries are real personal injuries that can be named in a lawsuit.
What should I do if a dog has bitten me?
If a dog has bitten you, your health and safety are your top priorities. Once these are secured, you can take steps to get justice, recover compensation, and ensure this type of incident concerning the offending dog does not occur again.
Seek Medical Attention
If your skin has been punctured, you face the risk of serious complications, including rabies and other infections. Immediate medical attention can prevent these complications. Afterward, follow your doctor’s instructions and retain documentation of your injuries, diagnosis, treatments, and bills.
Contact the Local Authorities
Contact the Montgomery County Office of Public Health to establish your rabies risk. You can reach them by calling (610) 278-5117 and speaking with a disease intervention specialist.
Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Dog Law Enforcement Office. A state dog warden will investigate your dog bite and enforce Pennsylvania law concerning the dog’s status. The Montgomery County dog warden is Megan Horst. You can call her at (717) 418-0284.
Document the Incident
Obtain as much information as possible about the dog, the owners, and the location. Write down everything that occurred. Take pictures of the dog, your injuries, and the location, if possible.
Contact an Attorney
Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your dog bite.
How much does a Norristown dog bite lawyer cost?
The personal injury lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC do not charge upfront fees for dog bite victims. You only pay if and when we recover compensation for you.
How can Cordisco & Saile LLC help me with my dog bite case?
Representation by an attorney can help ensure you recover maximum compensation. In many cases, compensation will come from a homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurance companies hire their own lawyers to reduce or eliminate the compensation they have to pay.
When you are represented by a lawyer from Cordisco & Saile LLC, you do not have to go against the other side’s lawyers alone. Our attorneys will skillfully and relentlessly advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the settlement you need and deserve.
Why should I choose Cordisco & Saile LLC?
For over 30 years, the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC have been advocating for clients who suffered injuries through no fault of their own. We have received a myriad of five-star ratings from satisfied clients we helped during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Our founder, John Cordisco, has experienced his own share of personal struggles and knows how you feel. This empathy is at the root of our firm’s passionate advocacy.
We have recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for dog bite victims, including:
- A $750,000 settlement for a woman who was severely injured by a dog who knocked her down
- A $250,000 settlement for a woman who lost a part of her face from a dog bite after her boyfriend started a commotion
$750,000 Award for a Dog Knockdown
Our client was a 78-year-old woman who enjoyed an active lifestyle and had been invited to a home where she was greeted by a 60-pound Australian shepherd that knocked her down. She suffered a spinal fracture and foot drop.
These injuries left her with permanent disabilities that prevented her from caring for her home, driving, or participating in recreational activities.
$250,000 Recovery for a Young Woman After a Dog Attack
Our client’s boyfriend became physical with her and tried to rip and pry the young woman’s cell phone from her hands in the presence of the dogs. As the commotion started, one of the dogs took a bite out of her face.
These injuries left her with a severed superior orbital nerve which causes her pain, numbness, and headaches almost every day. While she’s had one surgery to replace the missing part of her face, she needs another costly surgery which may or may not improve her appearance. She’s also missed months of work, and now suffers from anxiety and depression.
Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC for a Free Case Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Is there a time limit for filing an injury claim?
Pennsylvania law does place time limits on dog bite claims. It is important to contact our firm as soon as possible after the injury to ensure your attorney has time to prepare and file your case well ahead of the deadline.
How common are dog bites in Pennsylvania?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Pennsylvania ranked seventh in 2021 for states with the most dog bite claims, with 777 claims totaling approximately $36.8 million.
What if the dog owner claims my child or I provoked the dog?
This is a common assertion by defendants who wish to avoid responsibility for the harm they caused by failing to restrain or control their dogs. If you were trespassing or intentionally aggravating the dog, the owner may have a defense. Our attorneys will perform a detailed investigation to determine whether this defense has merit.
Who is liable if I was bitten by a stray dog?
Establishing liability for stray dogs can be tricky. In some cases, a former owner who dumped the dog may be traceable. If the city of Norristown has received complaints about the dog but failed to act, you may have a case against the city.
How long does it take to settle a dog bite case?
It can take several months or longer to settle a dog bite case. The length of time depends on the cooperation of the owner and the insurance company. In some cases, it may be necessary to delay a settlement until the full impact of your injuries becomes known.
What should I do if the dog owner’s insurance company contacts me?
The owner’s insurance company may attempt to circumvent dealing with your counsel so they can pressure you to take an early, low-ball settlement. Always direct the opposing party to your attorney without comment, and never sign any documents outside your attorney’s presence.
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