Dog Bites

What should you do if you have been bitten by a dog or other animal in Pennsylvania? What legal rights and recourse do you have? Dog bites are painful, obviously, but they also can be expensive. As a victim of a dog bite, you have the right to be compensated for your injuries under the law. But whose fault is it? Obviously, you cannot sue the dog; however, your first recourse will be against the dog owner. Unlike some states which provide for strict liability for the owners of dogs, Pennsylvania asks whether the dog owner was negligent in how they handled their dog—that is, whether the dog owner exercised “reasonable care” in preventing dog bites or attacks against strangers.

This typically means restraining the dog, keeping it within a fence, or on a leash or otherwise ensuring the dog does not roam freely and is not able to attack others. In addition, the court will ask if the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s “vicious propensities.” Has the dog attacked someone before? Or is this the first time?

In addition, it is important to consider where you were when the dog bit you. Did the attack occur on the owner’s property? Did the dog bite occur on a sidewalk? Did the dog break free from some sort of restraint? All of these questions will be helpful in determining whether a defendant may be liable to you for damages caused by the injuries.

In addition to the owner of the dog, the owner’s insurance company may also have to pay for your injuries. If the dog bit you on the owner’s property, the owner’s homeowner’s insurance will likely be implicated.

Types of Damages

If the owners of the dog are liable for your injuries, you are entitled to compensation for the value of your medical bills, for the out-of-pocket costs of treatment and medicine, and for compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured. You may also be entitled to compensation for your lost wages during time you missed work. You may also be entitled to damages for the disfigurement that you experience, if any. Finally, in some unusual circumstances you may even be entitled to punitive damages where it can be shown that the owner had malice or reckless indifference to the rights of others in the way that they kept their dog.

Conclusion: We Can Help

If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog or another animal, you should contact the Cornerstone Law Firm to discuss your options. Having an attorney in the process with you allows you to negotiate for a settlement, or file suit, if necessary, to recover for your injuries. Dog bites can be painful but they do not have to be financially devastating. Contact Cornerstone Law Firm today.