Visitor Question

Torn MCL after Getting Knocked Over by an Unleashed Dog…

Submitted By: Amanda (Philadelphia, PA)

Close to a month ago, I was walking my dog in the neighborhood one night and she was on a leash. At the same time a neighbor was allowing their large dog to run free on a basketball court where signs are clearly posted prohibiting animals on the court at all.

Soon after I turned the corner onto the street, I heard a women yelling “Stop!” and a name that I do not recall.

Within seconds a large dog, at least 90lbs, came charging from the basketball court gate towards us, specifically my dog.

I instinctively grabbed my dog around her torso. My dog is very tall (Greyhound mix), so my legs were still straight.

I was not kneeling or squatting. The dog slammed into my right side and I immediately heard and felt a loud pop in my knee.

Following this incident, I could not walk for about three days. Within the week, I was referred to an orthopedic doctor.

Since then, I have been in a full leg brace and receive physical therapy for my torn MCL. The doctor will reevaluate me in a month to assess whether surgery is necessary.

The dog owner left as soon as it happened and never returned, even though I sat in the street in pain for 15 minutes.

I have not spoken with her, but do know where she lives and her name.

I do have full health insurance and it is covering most of my medical expenses.

However, I have had several co-pays and other minor expenses that are now at approximately $200.

But for me, the greater frustration has been with the pain and limited mobility, especially since I have recently moved here to Philadelphia (three months ago) from Florida and do not have a support system here.

I appreciate any information.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Amanda,

Liability appears to be clear. From the facts you present there were no mitigating factors which might have precipitated the attack. We’ll presume there weren’t any witnesses.

The sooner you contact the owner the better. There is a distinct possibility her homeowners insurance may cover your present and future damages. If the dog owner rents her property she may have renters insurance.

It’s also important for you to make clear to your insurance company the facts which led to your injuries. They will probably want to “subrogate” against the dog owner to be reimbursed for the payments they make to you.

The dog owner is responsible for all of your medical bills, including your co-pays. She is also responsible for any out of pocket expenses, such as prescription and over the counter medication, crutches, etc. In addition she is liable for any of your lost wages resulting from your inability to work from the date of the injury. Finally, she is responsible for your pain and suffering.

To pursue your claim against the dog owner you will need her cooperation. Put her on notice by sending her a certified letter confirming the facts of the attack, including the injuries you suffered.

You’ll need her full name, and the name and telephone number of her insurance company. Contact her insurance company as soon as possible to report the attack and your resulting injuries. Within a few days to a week or so you will be contacted by a claims adjuster. He will investigate the incident, and upon confirming liability of his insured, should make arrangements to settle your claim.

This sounds simple enough, but without the cooperation of the dog owner you may have no choice but to contact a local personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys require no payments of any type in advance. They normally provide free initial office consultations and are paid only when, and if they settle your claim. Their fee is usually 1/3rd.

Learn more here: Non-Aggressive Dog Injuries

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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