No matter their breed, size, or level of training, dogs can cause serious injury to any person or animal without being provoked in any way. A dog attack can cause deep bite wounds, scratches, or even an infection. If you were harmed by another person’s pet, you might be unsure what to do next.
Depending on the circumstances, you could have a strong case against the pet owner. However, there are many laws for dog attack cases that can make it difficult to succeed without legal representation. Founding Attorney Jon Ostroff and our team have won large awards for numerous clients across the state.
When our Lehigh Valley client was trying to protect her small dog from an attack by a pit bull that had burst through the front door of its owner’s home, the dog leaped on her and even though she wasn’t bitten, she was slammed to the pavement. As a result, her hip was broken and she required surgery to repair it. This is still considered a dog attack case and Jon Ostroff settled this case for $375,000. The critical evidence that Jon was able to establish was obtained by him the day he was hired. Jon went to the scene after meeting his client at her hospital room. He was able to obtain a videotape of this menacing dog in the backyard of its home. He also recorded a witness statement from a gentleman that was employed at a nearby manufacturing plant that had a view of this dog’s home.
By working on your case with an Allentown dog bite lawyer like Jon, you will have an easier time proving liability and recovering fair compensation. Get in touch with our team at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers right away.
How Dog Bite Liability Works in Allentown
Under 3 Pennsylvania Statutes §459-502, dog owners are automatically liable to pay for the emergency medical expenses incurred by any person their dog bites. It doesn’t matter whether the dog had a history of vicious behavior or whether the owner was negligent—they are responsible for medical bills no matter what.
If you want to recover compensation for other damages stemming from the bite, you must prove the dog owner was negligent in some way. This can mean showing that the owner knew their dog had “unmistakably vicious tendencies” based on previous aggressive acts and ignored state laws regarding the proper control and restraint of dangerous animals. More dangerous breeds, such as pit bulls and rottweilers, are legally considered in Pennsylvania to have these “vicious tendencies,” just based on their breed.
You should note that a single bite in the past does not automatically make a dog “vicious” in this context. Similarly, a dog doesn’t even have to bite someone to be deemed “vicious” under state law, especially if it is a breed that is considered vicious. An attorney in Allentown can help you determine whether you have grounds for a dog bite case.
Can Partial Fault Impact Recovery?
Another element of dog bite lawsuits that can complicate recovery efforts is partial fault. According to 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §7102, you may be unable to recover full compensation if a jury determines that you were partially responsible for the incident. For example, you may be at fault if you provoked the dog or trespassed on the owner’s property.
If the court decides to assign a percentage of fault to you, your final damage award would be reduced based on that percentage. Additionally, if the court finds you more than 50% responsible for your own injuries, you are ineligible to recover any civil compensation at all. An experienced lawyer can help you prove the pet owner was solely responsible for the dog attack.
Call an Allentown Dog Bite Attorney Today
A severe dog bite can cause a great deal of physical pain, emotional trauma, permanent scarring or injuries and financial losses. The consequences may be even more devastating if the attack victim was a child or senior. The assistance of an Allentown dog bite lawyer can make a world of difference in the outcome of your unique case. Contact Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers today to set up a free consultation.