Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in York, PA
Legal help for dog bites and animal attacks in South Central Pennsylvania
Dogs are one of America’s most popular pets. In fact, for most people, dogs are part of the family. Responsible dog owners know how to train their pets, keep them leashed when appropriate to do so, and warn the public if their pet is dangerous. When dog owners fail to do so and you or your child experience a bite or attack, they may be held liable for your injuries. The attorneys at KBG Injury Law can help.
Have you or a loved one been bitten by a dog? You may need a dog bite attorney to help you navigate the legal complexities of the incident. Pennsylvania dog bite laws can be complex, and it is crucial to have strong legal representation on your side – not only to protect your right to compensation, but to ensure no one else suffers another attack. At KBG Injury Law, our personal injury attorneys want to help. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.
How prevalent are dog bite injuries?
Anyone can be the victim of a dog bite, but children, postal workers and older adults tend to be frequent victims. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports the following facts about dog bites:
- Over 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites every year, and more than half of these are children.
- Over 800,000 people bitten by dogs require medical intervention.
- Children are the most common victims of dog bites and run the highest risk of severe injury.
- Most dog bites that happen to young children occur during every day activities, with familiar dogs.
- It is not the dog’s breed that determines proclivity to bite; rather the dog’s individual history and temperament.
More importantly, as the AVMA points out, most dog bites are preventable.
What are the different levels of dog bites?
Dog bites and their related injuries can vary widely in severity. The following are the classifications of a dog bite, according to Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale, widely used across the dog training industry.
- Level 1: The first level is a warning bite. This is also referred to as an air bite or a snap. In this instance, there is no contact made with your skin, but the animal displays some aggression.
- Level 2: The second level is a bite that involves contact with your skin, but the bite does not puncture the skin. You might experience slight scratches or nicks.
- Level 3: The third level is a bite that causes up to four puncture holes in your skin. These punctures are no deeper than half the length of a dog’s tooth. You may also suffer multiple lacerations and scratches.
- Level 4: The fourth level is a bite that causes as many as four puncture holes in your skin that are deeper than half the length of a dog’s tooth. Additionally, the punctures may have visible gashes and bruising. These characteristics of the bite indicate that the dog bit down on your skin and shook its head while biting.
- Level 5: The fifth level refers to multiple bites or attacks with at least one Level 4 bite.
- Level 6: Bites resulting in Level 6 injuries are fatal.
Dr. Dunbar advises that dogs who attack and “mutilate” with Level 5 and 6 bites are extremely dangerous and “not safe around people.”
These classifications can help you determine the seriousness of your injuries, understand the animal’s behavior and pinpoint what may have caused the dog to bite.
What kinds of injuries happen from dog bites?
Dog bite victims often suffer serious injuries; not just at the moment of the incident but long afterward. Depending on the severity of the attack and the size of the dog, common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Fractured or broken bones
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Nerve damage
After a dog bite or attack, injury victims also often experience emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to ongoing medical care, you or your child may require psychological counseling to help cope with the terrible thing that happened. At KBG Injury Law, our legal team works to ensure you receive all the financial compensation to which you are entitled, so you can get all the help you need.
What should I do after a dog bite or attack?
The circumstances of a dog bite situation can affect the steps you should take afterward. Important factors to consider include who owns the dog, whether you know the owner, and whether you need medical attention. Follow these steps after you or a family member are bitten by a dog:
Collect information from the owner and witnesses
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, obtain as much information as you can. Do you know the owner? Was the dog exhibiting aggressive or strange behavior? Is the animal a puppy?
If you know the owner and he or she is present, you should exchange names and contact information. If there were witnesses to the incident, you should obtain information from them as well. Ask the dog’s owner if they have proof that their dog is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination. If you are unsure who owns the animal, you may need to seek medical attention for a rabies vaccination, which can be expensive. Save your medical bills and documents.
Report the incident
If you are bitten by an unknown dog, your first priority is protecting yourself from disease or rabies. Call the authorities to report the incident. Then you or the authorities can contact animal control. Clean the injured area to avoid transmitting bacteria that may cause infection.
If you are bitten by a puppy or by your own dog, you may not need to report the incident. A puppy likely did not bite as a result of aggression. Instead, it was likely attempting to establish dominance or it is teething. While a puppy bite may hurt and may even result in a superficial wound, the bite will probably be minor.
Treat the injury
Your wound should be treated immediately to avoid infection. For a superficial wound, such as a scratch or scrape, follow these steps:
- Clean and disinfect the area with water and soap.
- Apply a topical antibiotic.
- Cover the wound with a bandage.
For a deeper laceration, follow these steps:
- Apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean towel to stop the bleeding.
- Rinse the wound with water after the bleeding stops.
- Clean the area with mild soap.
- Seek medical attention.
For a puncture wound, simply clean the wound and keep it elevated rather than disinfecting or bandaging it. Call 911 if the bleeding does not stop, if the bleeding is excessive or if the injury is on your head or neck.
Seek medical attention
Following a dog bite incident, seek medical attention and a rabies vaccination as soon as possible. No matter how minor the injury appears, you should see a doctor right away. The dog may be carrying dangerous bacteria, and unvaccinated dogs can carry and transmit rabies. If you have a compromised immune system, your risk of developing an infection is even greater.
You may need a rabies vaccination, a tetanus shot, and antibiotics that can prevent infection. Severe or deep wounds may also require plastic surgery.
Document your experience
Take pictures of the injury and the location where you were bitten. Photograph bloodstained or torn clothing as well. You may also want to take notes about your experience, such as recording:
- What happened.
- Details of your injuries.
- Medical attention you received.
- Your pain levels and feelings in the weeks after the incident
Contact a York, PA dog bite lawyer about your potential lawsuit
Your final step is consulting with a York, PA personal injury lawyer experienced in handling dog bite injury cases. The attorneys at KBG Injury Law can ensure you get the support you need after you suffer a dog bite-related injury. You generally have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a dog bite, though exceptions can and do apply based on the age of the victim. It is in your best interest, however, to contact an attorney quickly.
What are the dog bite laws in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a number of laws regarding a dog owner’s responsibility. Among other things, if you are a dog owner in PA, you must:
- License your dog after three months of age.
- Keep your dog under control and prevent it from running at large.
- Be responsible for damages caused by your dog.
- Vaccinate dogs three months and older for rabies.
Further, the state also lays out legislation that characterize a “dangerous dog.” These include one or more of the following:
- Severely injured a person without provocation.
- Killing or severely injuring a domestic animal without provocation.
- Attacked a person without provocation.
- Was used in the commission of a crime.
- Has a history of attacking humans or animals without provocation.
- Shows a propensity for attacking without provocation.
The York, PA attorneys at KBG Injury Law can help you understand these laws and how they may apply to your case. In any dog bite claim, the circumstances matter. Our lawyers investigate what happened and whether or not the dog owner can be held liable for your injuries and losses. You have nothing to lose – our consultations are free.
Is there a dog bite injury attorney near me?
The offices of KBG Injury Law are located at 110 North George Street, in the heart of York. Our building is right near Interstate 83 and Routes 30, 74 and 462.
Compassionate help from York, PA dog bite injury attorneys
You can navigate the legal complexities of a dog bite attack with the help of a personal injury lawyer. The experienced attorneys at KBG Injury Law keep your best interests in mind and work to get you the results you deserve. If you or someone you love suffered a dog bite, contact us today. You can call us at 717-848-3838 or toll free at 800.509.1011 or fill out our contact form. We have offices in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg, and help clients throughout South Central Pennsylvania.