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Why Some Dog Bite Lawsuits Are Filed Years After The Attack (Part 1)

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As a personal injury lawyer, I help victims, both children and adults, who are attacked and bitten by dogs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

When the victim is a child, I often find that several years have passed since the dog attack occurred.  Fortunately many child dog bite/attack cases are not time-barred. This is because of Pennsylvania's special statute of limitations for minors.

PA Statute Of Limitations In Personal Injury Cases

In Pennsylvania, an injured victim of any type of accident must file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of injury.  If the victim tries to file suit beyond the 2 years, he/she is barred from doing so. In some cases, exceptions to the 2 year rule may apply. If you have a statute of limitations question, you are advised to seek counsel with a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer before making any decisions or taking any action in your case.

PA Statute Of Limitations For Minors

However, if the injured victim is a minor, the case must be filed within 2 years from the date he/she turns 18. Therefore, if the accident and injury happened when the victim was 2, he/she has until the age of 20 to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. This special statute of limitations applies to dog bite cases.

Why Parents Wait To Consult A Lawyer In Their Child’s Dog Bite Case

During the initial meeting in a child dog bite case, the issue of the passage of time inevitably comes up. Parents tend to offer many reasons to explain why they delayed seeking legal representation for their child.

One of the most common reasons is that their child was attacked by a dog owned by someone they know, i.e., grandparents, aunt or uncle, close family friend, or babysitter.

Parents are often conflicted about bringing a lawsuit against a family member, and for a number of reasons. First, parents feel guilty about suing family members. Second, parents often worry about how family relationships will change as a result of the lawsuit. Third, parents want to avoid the awkwardness of telling the family member that a lawsuit will have to be filed.

Ultimately, parents usually decide to seek legal representation with a dog bite lawyer because they see their child’s very serious physical and mental suffering.

Click here to read part 2 of this article which discusses why parents ultimately bring a Pennsylvania dog attack lawsuit for their child, and the importance of seeking legal advice soon after the attack.

Related PA/NJ Dog Bite Legal Articles & Videos

Category: Dog Bite Cases


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