When to Get an Attorney after Suffering a Dog Bite

We all know accidents can happen, even when it comes to man’s best friend. When you do suffer a bite from a dog, how do you know you need an attorney?

First off, every state is a little different when it comes to dog bite laws. In this piece, we are going to focus on the state of Pennsylvania, which has a Pennsylvania dog law. Under this law, all dog owners are held responsible for their dogs, meaning they should have reasonable control over their dogs at all times. The law also states that a dog must be confined to their own property and premise and must be restrained with a collar or chain when outdoors. 

Who is Liable?

In most states, the owner of the dog is held liable for all damages the victim of the bit suffered. Meaning, if the owner was found negligent or failed to comply with state dog law, the victim could have a case on their hands, receiving full compensation. 

However, it gets a little more complicated if a dog has been deemed dangerous before, meaning they have endangered a person or other animal before. 

In addition, parents of someone who owns a dog that is under 18 along with landlords could also be held liable when a dog attacks. This includes dog watchers, property owners, and even kennel attendants. 

Dangerous Dog Statute

Let’s dig a little deeper into what is considered a dangerous dog. 

The Dangerous Dog Statute in Pennsylvania is when a dog has bitten before and has caused an injury, attacked someone without being provoked, or was used in a crime. When a dog is classified as a dangerous dog, the dog owner has a whole new set of responsibilities.

A dog owner of a dangerous dog must maintain liability insurance, have a proper enclosure to confine the dog, post warning signs on their property, and make sure the premise is marked. When the dog is outside the home, the dog must be muzzled. If the dog is on the loose, the owner must notify the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, the State Dog Warden, and other proper personnel. 

When a dangerous dog does attack again, the dog owner could be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, which could come with a sentence of up to two years in prison along with fines. If a dangerous dog causes more severe injury or even death, the dog owner could be found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor, which could come with a sentence of up to five years in prison along with fines. 

If a victim suffers a severe injury from a dog that has bitten before, the victim is able to file a claim for medical expenses, legal damages, and losses. Even if a victim was bitten and didn’t suffer a severe injury, they can file a claim for medical expenses. 


Dog bite injuries can range from minor to severe. Common injuries include broken bones, disfiguring lacerations, and even injuries so severe that they require the need of plastic surgery. 

Working with an Attorney

When a dog bite involves a child or the need for plastic surgery, you will want to work with an attorney. But even if you suffer from a minor injury, you should speak with a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer to know if you have a case on your hands. 

In Philadelphia, Edelstein Law offers the advice and legal representation you need after suffering from a dog bite. The team has the experience with personal injury cases, including dog bites. They will fight aggressively to ensure that you will receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Edelstein Law is a well-recognized and respected law firm that will work with you from the very beginning of your case, following through until the very end.

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