At The Pearce Law Firm, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers P.C., we handle a lot of dog bite cases. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has released its annual dog bite findings for 2017. It recorded 6,244 USPS letter carriers and delivery personnel as being bitten by dogs during the course of their jobs. In Philadelphia, 27 of those employees suffered bites. The city ranked 14th in the nation. Houston led the list with 71 attacks. Los Angeles placed second with 67. If you’re looking for a child dog bite lawyer, we handle those cases as well.
Bite Training and Tech
Like the rest of the country, dog attacks on USPS personnel in Philadelphia dropped significantly. There were 40 of such attacks in 2016. Both dog bite prevention training and technology contributed to the decrease. Package delivery scanners include a feature for delivery personnel to be advised if there’s a dog at a particular address. That feature has been particularly helpful to substitute carriers who aren’t as familiar with routes as regular carriers. One dog in New Jersey attacked a letter carrier three times in one year.
Strict Liability for Medical Expenses
In the context of medical expenses, Pennsylvania is what’s known as a strict liability state. When a dog attacks and bites a person, the dog’s owner or keeper will be required to pay all of the victim’s related medical bills. The owner or keeper isn’t required to pay other damages though like pain and suffering, lost earnings or permanent disfigurement. That’s when the law of negligence is triggered.
Negligence Per Se
When a person is guilty of violating a statute or ordinance, and a victim is injured as a result of that violation, the violator is said to be guilty of negligence per se. Courts and juries routinely determine that a dog owner or keeper has been guilty of negligence per se if that owner violated Pennsylvania’s law that requires dogs to always be restrained. Upon such a finding, damages aren’t limited to only medical bills.
Harboring a Dangerous Dog
In order to be found guilty of harboring a dangerous dog, two requirements must be proved. First, it has to be shown that without provocation, the dog has done one of the following things:
- It injured somebody on public or private property.
- It killed or severely injured a domestic animal while off of the owner’s or keeper’s property.
- The dog attacked a person.
- The dog was used when the owner or keeper was committing a crime.
Aside from the above, it must be shown that the dog has a history or propensity of attacking people or domestic animals without provocation. A single incident is sufficient under Pennsylvania law.
The most frequently reported cause of injury for USPS delivery personnel on foot is a dog bite. They account for about 32 percent of all such claims. Although the Federal Employees Compensation Act might cover workers’ compensation benefits for the injured postal worker, he or she would probably also have a viable personal injury claim against the owner or keeper of the dog that delivered the bite.
Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation on any dog bite case. We are experienced Philadelphia dog bite lawyers. If we enter into a retainer agreement with you, no legal fees are due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.