What to Do if Your Child Is Bitten By a Dog: Steps to Take

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
March 19, 2024
vizsla dog

When a child is bitten by a dog, it is a frightening and often confusing experience for both the child and their guardians. Immediate action is not only crucial for the child’s health but also for any potential legal action. In this distressing situation, understanding the proper steps can be a guiding light in a tumultuous time. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. (RGSG), we understand the complexities and emotional turmoil that can follow such an incident. Our dedicated team is here to provide support and guidance, ensuring that your child’s rights and well-being are protected.

In the aftermath of a dog bite, it is essential to focus on the child’s medical needs while also considering the legal implications. RGSG has a history of supporting families through similar challenges. We bring our experience and resources to the table, helping you navigate the legalities while you concentrate on your child’s recovery. 

Understanding Dog Bite Incidents and Liability

The first step in dealing with a dog bite incident involves understanding the nature of such occurrences. Dog bites, particularly in children, can be traumatic and may result in physical and emotional scars. It is crucial to recognize the signs of trauma in your child and seek professional medical and psychological care if needed. In Pennsylvania, the dog’s owner is typically held responsible for their pet’s actions. However, this liability can vary based on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Identifying the dog and its owner is crucial. If the dog is a stray or the owner is unknown, the risk of diseases such as rabies becomes a significant concern, necessitating immediate medical attention. In cases where the owner is known, documenting the incident, including the dog’s breed, size, and any previous aggressive behavior, is important for any potential legal claims.

Understanding the local laws and ordinances regarding dog ownership and liability is another essential aspect. These laws can dictate the course of action and influence the outcome of any legal proceedings. RGSG’s expertise in local laws will be instrumental in guiding you through these nuances.

Medical and Legal Documentation: A Dual Approach

After ensuring your child receives immediate medical care, the next crucial step is to document the incident comprehensively. Medical documentation is not only vital for treatment but also forms the backbone of any legal case. Request copies of all medical records, including doctor’s notes, diagnoses, and treatment plans. Photographs of the injuries immediately after the incident and during the healing process can provide compelling evidence in a legal context.

Reporting the incident to local authorities is equally important. This might involve contacting animal control or the police department. A formal report creates an official incident record, which is crucial for any legal action. Keep a copy of this report for your records.

Simultaneously, start a journal detailing the incident from your child’s perspective and yours. Record your child’s physical and emotional response in the days and weeks following the bite. This personal account can provide valuable insights into the impact of the incident on your child’s life.

Navigating Insurance and Legal Claims

Navigating the complexities of insurance and legal claims can be overwhelming in the wake of a dog bite incident. Initially, it is important to determine if the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance that may cover such incidents. If so, you may need to file a claim with their insurance company. However, dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, and they may not always have your best interests at heart.

Understanding your rights and the potential compensation for medical expenses, trauma, and any long-term effects is crucial. This is where RGSG’s expertise becomes invaluable. Our team can guide you through the legal process, ensuring that you understand every step and helping to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Remember, in Pennsylvania, there are time limits for filing a legal claim after a dog bite. Being aware of these time constraints is essential to ensure you do not miss the opportunity to seek justice and compensation.

Why Choose Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.?

At RGSG, we offer more than just legal representation; we provide a partnership to help you through some of life’s most challenging moments. Our team’s compassionate approach, combined with our vast experience in handling dog bite cases, makes us a trusted choice for families facing these difficult situations. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a dog bite can take on a family, especially when a child is involved. Our goal is to alleviate some of that burden by handling the legal complexities for you. 

We work tirelessly to ensure that your child receives the justice and compensation they deserve. By choosing RGSG, you are not just hiring a lawyer; you are gaining a team of advocates dedicated to your child’s wellbeing. To discuss your case and explore your options, call us at (215) 822-7575 or visit our contact form. Our initial consultation is free, and we work on a contingency basis for personal injury cases, meaning you pay no fees unless we recover for you. Let us help you navigate this challenging time with the care and expertise you deserve.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
March 19, 2024
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.