Doylestown Dog Bite Attorney
The CDC reports that each year, 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States. In fact, a dog bite occurs every 75 seconds in this country and each day, over 1,000 Americans seek emergency medical care for dog bite-related injuries. Some people may not realize that dog bite victims are often family, friends or neighbors of the owners of the dogs that bit them and understandably, such victims do not want to sue people they know.
But did you know that most dog owners carry insurance to covers dog bite claims? That said, dog owners rarely pay damages out of their own pocket. Still, we must not minimize the tremendous losses that dog bite victims experience. Their damages range from lost wages and costly medical treatments to time off work or school and severe pain and suffering.
The attorneys at Drake Hileman & Davis will go the extra mile to assure you receive full and fair compensation for your losses. We’ll fight for you if you have been injured by a dog or any other domesticated animal. For a free consultation on your dog bite case, call our Doylestown office at (215) 348-2088 or contact us online.
You Have Limited Time to Bring Your Case
Normally, dog bite cases have to be filed within two years of the date of the attack. But in the case of a minor child, the child can still bring a claim until he or she turns 20. This is because the statute of limitations is suspended, or “tolled,” for minors. Tragically, minor children account for the majority of serious dog bite victims. During the period 2005-2015, children ages 0 to 2 years old made up 28% of all fatal dog bite victims, nearly twice the number as the second highest age group.
We Know How to Win Your Dog Bite Case
You may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your injuries if you, or a family member, have been bitten by a dog. But just because a dog bit you doesn’t mean you are automatically eligible to collect damages from the dog’s owner. You must be able to prove that the owner was negligent or otherwise “at fault.” At Drake, Hileman & Davis we prove the owner’s negligence in two ways:
We Prove That the Dog Has “Dangerous Propensities.”
In the past, Pennsylvania dog bite cases were subject to the so called “one bite rule.” All dogs (who are, after all, “man’s best friend”) were presumed to be safe until proven dangerous and thus allowed “one free bite.” The first bite then put the owner “on notice” of the dog’s vicious propensities. Thereafter, the owner had to confine the dog. The dog’s second bite victim had a case, but the first victim was out of luck.
Pennsylvania changed the “one bite” rule. Now a dog bite victim only has to prove that the dog’s owner knew that his dog had “dangerous or vicious propensities.” While a prior bite is still sufficient proof of such knowledge, even the first bite may now be the basis of a valid claim if any of the following exist:
- Mauling. If the dog viciously mauls the victim, resulting in serious injuries, a jury may reasonably conclude that the owner knew the dog had vicious propensities, even if the plaintiff cannot actually prove prior bad behavior.
- Prior Bad Behavior. Dogs who consistently growl, lunge, bare their teeth, or bark ferociously at strangers or passers‑by manifest a “pattern of prior bad behavior” that could lead a court to conclude that the dog’s owner must have known that the dog had vicious propensities, even if the dog never bit before.
- Attack Breeds. Certain breeds, such as Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, and Husky, have been bred to be “attack dogs.” They are generally recognized to be potentially vicious by nature. Accordingly, the owner of such a dog must exercise a greater degree of control over his dog, and may be liable for the first bite. Over 900 U.S. cities have adopted breed‑specific laws since the mid 1980s, just after pit bulls (fighting dogs) began leaking into the general population.
By Proving the Owner Violated the Dog Law.
Pennsylvania’s Leash Law requires every dog owner to keep the owner’s dog confined to the owner’s property, or on a leash if the dog is off the owner’s property. This means that if the dog was not on the owner’s property when the bite occurred, the owner will be found to be “strictly” liable (even for a “first bite”). Notwithstanding the above, all dog bite cases are difficult, special and unique for the following reasons:
First, dog bite cases require a lawyer’s help. You should consult us promptly if you hope to have a chance of a reasonable settlement or award. We understand that you might be reluctant to contact an attorney about your case out of fear of offending the owner of the dog. We have helped clients to maintain a positive relationship with the attack dog’s owner through good communication and education while still effectively pursuing the client’s claim.
Second, dog bite cases are very fact‑sensitive. The factual background of a dog bite should be investigated and analyzed as soon as possible after the bite occurs. We often hire a professional investigator in dog bite cases because it is difficult to gather evidence of a dog’s “prior history.”
Third, because many jurors are dog owners, they tend to sympathize with the defendant. It takes a skilled and experienced lawyer to effectively try a dog bite case without alienating the jury. We do this by persuading the jury that the dog that attacked you is not like their dog. The dog that bit you was an obvious menace; whereas their dog is “man’s best friend.”
Fourth, dog bites often result in scarring that may require plastic surgery. If the victim is a child, plastic surgery required for their facial bites may need to be postponed until after they are adults. We assure that the child is under the care of the best doctors. The child’s award must account for future care and damages.
Winning Dog Bite Cases in Bucks County Since 1985
Our team of aggressive attorneys has won many dog bite cases, including:
- A jury verdict of $37,469 for a dog bite in Easton;
- A $36,000 settlement for a dog attack in Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania; and
- A dog mauling in Allentown that settled for $70,000.
As a result of our many wins in dog bite and other animal attack cases in the Doylestown area and throughout Bucks County, Drake Hileman & Davis attorneys have the knowledge and background to recover the compensation you deserve as a result of your dog bite case. Call our Doylestown office today at (215) 348-2088 to discuss your claim. We offer a free, in home consultation.
We Negotiate with Insurance Companies In Pennsylvania
Many dog owners have homeowners insurance policies that cover claims for victims of attacks by their dogs or other animals. We will work hard to reach a just settlement with the homeowner’s insurance company to fully cover your damages, including “economic losses” such as your medical bills and lost wages. Even if the insurance company claims they won’t cover “non-economic” claims, such as trauma and emotional distress related to an attack by an animal, we’ll do everything we can to get a recovery for those claims as well. Dog bites result in a myriad of intangible losses, including PTSD, nightmares, panic and anxiety attacks, severe emotional distress, and generalized anxiety. The physical harm caused by a dog bite, such as scarring or disfigurement is bad enough. But sometimes the emotional and psychological consequences of a dog bite can be even more devastating.
Animal and Dog Bite Claims in Doylestown
We have handled all sorts of animal attack and bite cases. We’ve been successful in obtaining recoveries both against owners of domesticated animals (dogs, cats and rabbits) and owners who allowed wild animals (such as bats) to live on their property.
At Drake, Hileman & Davis a dog bite attorney will pursue not only economic damages measured in money (such as medical bills and lost wages), but also non-economic damages (including pain and suffering, mental anguish, trauma, and other major life changes).
Your Doylestown Dog Bite Lawyers
The Doylestown attorneys of Drake, Hileman & Davis will aggressively pursue ALL of the compensation you deserve for your dog bite case.
Don’t delay if you have been injured by a dog or other animal attack and you live in the Doylestown or Bucks County area. You have limited time to file a claim. Contact Drake, Hileman & Davis at (215) 348-2088 to get our personal injury attorneys working hard to win a cash award for YOU.