An unprovoked dog attack, in which an innocent victim is mauled or bitten, can be a horrific event. Some dog attacks can be fatal or cause serious?injuries, especially to infants or small children. If you or a member of your family has been bitten by a dog which has not been provoked, you may already be aware that under?Pennsylvania?state law, the dog owner is presumed to be liable for compensating the victim. It makes sense for you to hire an experienced Pennsylvania?dog bite?lawyer, who will be able to assess the accident and pursue a claim for a fair and just amount against the dogs owner or owners.
Was the dog known to be dangerous?
In Pennsylvania, a dog owner whose dog bites somebody and causes an injury may only be liable for compensation if he or she knew that the dog was potentially dangerous. Typically, this means that if the dog had already bitten a member of the public and the dogs owner or owners were aware of it, then they are liable for any further attacks. This is often called the one bite rule. Many states have a similar ruling, although some are stricter and make dog owners pay up even for a first attack.
The normal costs incurred by a dog owner after an attack
If a dog bites a member of the public, then the dogs owner or owners will be responsible for paying compensation to the victim if it can be clearly established that this dog caused the injury. The normal costs are
- medical costs
- loss of income
- pain and suffering
- damage to property
The most difficult amount to prove included in this list is the amount awarded for pain and suffering. This can be open to interpretation and there may be considerable negotiation between an individual victims lawyer, an insurance company and the victim.
If it can be proved that the dog owner has behaved particularly irresponsibly, then any claim against them may seek further damages such as an amount for punitive damages.
Most claims against a negligent dog owner will involve a negotiation with the dog owners insurance company or companies. It may be that a home insurance policy (or even auto insurance if a dog bit somebody while in its owners vehicle) will cover part of, or all of, the amount demanded in compensation.
Whatever the amount involved, if you have been bitten by a dog and it was an unprovoked attack, you should use an experienced Pennsylvania?personal injury?attorney with extensive experience in?dog bite?law as it is applied in this state for the best outcomes.