Understanding Dog Bite Laws: What to Do If You or Your Child Is Bitten

Dog bites can be a traumatic experience, leaving victims with physical injuries and emotional scars. Knowing what to do if you or your child is bitten is crucial. This article provides essential legal advice on handling dog bite incidents and underscores the importance of hiring a Scranton personal injury attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, dog bite laws are designed to protect victims and hold dog owners accountable. The state follows a “strict liability” rule for dog bites, meaning the owner is responsible if their dog bites someone, regardless of the dog’s history or the owner’s knowledge of its behavior. However, in some cases, negligence laws may apply, requiring proof that the owner’s carelessness led to the bite. Understanding these laws and how they apply to your case is vital, and a Scranton personal injury attorney can provide the guidance you need.

Strict Liability

Under Pennsylvania’s strict liability law, dog owners are automatically responsible for medical expenses if their dog bites someone, regardless of whether the dog has shown any previous aggression. This means that even if the dog has never bitten anyone before and the owner had no reason to believe the dog would bite, the owner is still liable for the victim’s medical costs.


In some cases, a victim may need to prove that the dog owner was negligent. This could include situations where the owner failed to properly restrain the dog or allowed the dog to roam freely. Proving negligence can be more complex and often requires the expertise of a personal injury attorney in Scranton.

Immediate Steps to Take After a Dog Bite


  1. Ensure Safety and Seek Medical Attention

   The first priority after a dog bite is to ensure safety and seek immediate medical attention. Even minor bites can lead to severe infections if not treated promptly. Medical professionals can also document the extent of the injuries, which will be important for any legal claims.


  1. Document the Incident

   Take photos of the injury, the dog, and the location where the bite occurred. Collect witness statements and any available contact information. Detailed documentation can be crucial in building a strong legal case.


  1. Report the Bite

   Report the incident to local authorities, such as animal control or the police. This creates an official record of the bite, which can be important evidence if legal action becomes necessary.


  1. Keep Records

   Maintain all medical records, bills, and any correspondence related to the incident. These documents will be crucial for your legal case, helping to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and the costs incurred.

When Should You Hire an Attorney?

Hiring a personal injury attorney is crucial, especially if the bite results in serious injuries, requires extensive medical treatment, or if there are disputes with the dog owner. Here are some key reasons to consider hiring a personal injury attorney in Scranton:


  1. Understanding Your Legal Rights and Options

   A personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and the options available to you. They can explain the nuances of Pennsylvania dog bite laws and how they apply to your specific situation.


  1. Navigating the Insurance Claims Process

   The insurance claims process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with injuries. An attorney can guide you through this process, ensuring that you meet all necessary deadlines and submit the required documentation.


  1. Ensuring Fair Compensation

   A personal injury attorney can help you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that you are not taken advantage of.


  1. Protecting Your Interests in Court

   If your case goes to court, having an experienced attorney by your side is essential. They can represent you in court, presenting evidence and making arguments to support your claim.


Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer


  1. Expertise in Dog Bite Cases

   An experienced personal injury attorney knows the ins and outs of dog bite laws and can build a strong case on your behalf. They understand the legal precedents and strategies that can be used to maximize your compensation.


  1. Knowledge of Local Laws

   A Scranton personal injury lawyer is familiar with Pennsylvania’s specific laws and regulations regarding dog bites. This local knowledge can be a significant advantage in your case, as they understand how local courts and insurance companies operate.


  1. Negotiation Skills

   Attorneys are skilled negotiators who can deal with insurance companies to ensure you receive a fair settlement. They know the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize payouts and can counteract these tactics effectively.


  1. Support and Guidance

   From the initial consultation to the resolution of your case, a personal injury attorney provides support and guidance, helping you through this difficult time. They can answer your questions, keep you informed about the progress of your case, and provide reassurance when you need it most.

How Long Do Dog Bite Cases Take?

The duration of a dog bite case can vary widely, depending on several key factors. Generally, these cases can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to resolve. Let’s break down what influences this timeline. 

First and foremost, the severity of the injury plays a significant role. More serious injuries might require extensive medical treatment and longer recovery times, which naturally prolong the case. If you’re dealing with multiple doctor visits, surgeries, or rehabilitation, it makes sense that your case will take longer to settle as all these factors need to be accounted for in your claim.

Another major factor is the complexity of the legal issues involved. Sometimes, there are disputes about who is at fault, especially if the dog owner denies responsibility or if there were no witnesses to the incident. These kinds of legal complexities can significantly extend the duration of your case. Additionally, if the insurance company is reluctant to offer a fair settlement, this can lead to prolonged negotiations. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to drag their feet, hoping that you’ll settle for less than you deserve.

The negotiation process itself is a critical component of the timeline. If both sides are willing to negotiate in good faith, you might reach a settlement relatively quickly. However, if negotiations stall and the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable amount, it may be necessary to prepare for trial. This preparation can add several months to the timeline but is often essential to securing the compensation you deserve.

At The Moran Law Group, we understand that waiting for a resolution can be stressful, especially when you’re dealing with medical bills and recovery. That’s why we are committed to handling each case as efficiently as possible while ensuring that all aspects are thoroughly addressed. Our goal is to secure timely and fair compensation for you, so you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life.

What Happens After Hiring an Attorney


  1. Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

   Your attorney will review the details of your case and determine the best course of action. They will assess the evidence, understand your goals, and provide an initial evaluation of your case’s strengths and potential challenges.


  1. Gathering Evidence

   Your attorney will collect evidence, including medical records, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation. They may also consult with experts, such as medical professionals or animal behaviorists, to strengthen your case.


  1. Negotiation and Settlement

   Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company or the dog owner’s legal team to reach a fair settlement. They will advocate on your behalf, ensuring that you receive compensation that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


  1. Preparing for Trial

 If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will prepare your case for trial. This involves gathering additional evidence, preparing legal arguments, and representing you in court to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

How We Can Help

Dog bites are serious incidents that require immediate and thorough action. Understanding your legal rights and taking the appropriate steps can make all the difference in your recovery and compensation. If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact The Moran Law Group today for a free consultation. Our experienced Scranton personal injury attorneys are here to help you navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you deserve. Call us now at 570- 9554516 or visit our website to get started.