Dogs may be known as “man’s best friend,” but not every pet in Pennsylvania is friendly. Some dogs are vicious and capable of causing severe and even life-threatening injuries to other people or animals.
If another person’s dog recently injured you, state law might allow you to file a lawsuit against the owner. At Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers, our experienced attorneys know how to handle these cases and recover significant compensation for your losses. One of our local clients was slammed to the pavement when 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. She suffered a broken hip that required surgery to repair it. Although she wasn’t bitten, this is still considered a dog attack. Jon Ostroff settled the case for $375,000.
Consult a Blue Bell dog bite lawyer about your legal rights to pursue compensation. Our winning attorneys will fight like hell to get the damages you deserve for the harm you should not have endured.
Do Dog Owners Have to Pay for Bite Injuries?
Some states make dog owners pay for any harm their pet causes to another person, even if that dog had never hurt anyone before. Other states only make dog owners pay for bite injuries if their dog had already attacked someone before and the owner did not take reasonable steps to keep their pet from hurting anyone else. Pennsylvania combines both approaches, as our Blue Bell dog bite attorneys can explain in a free consultation.
If a dog bites someone in Pennsylvania and causes any injury that requires a doctor or hospital visit, the dog’s owner is legally required to pay for all the injured person’s medical expenses. It does not matter whether they knew their dog might bite someone based on past experiences.
Recovering Damages for a Vicious Dog Attack
However, dog owners in Pennsylvania are not automatically liable for any other kinds of losses—for example, lost income due to time missed from work, physical pain, and any psychological trauma stemming from the attack. To make a dog owner pay for these damages, your attorney must prove that the owner knew or should have known their pet had “unmistakably vicious tendencies” and, despite knowing this, did not do what a reasonable person would have done to control the dangerous dog.
When a dog bite victim is severely injured, Pennsylvania law makes a dog owner strictly liable for all damages from the severe dog bite, regardless of negligence and regardless of whether it can be proven the dog has bitten someone before. Because strict liability applies to severe dog bite injuries in Pennsylvania, a victim of a severe dog bite in Pennsylvania can recover for not only medical expenses but also pain and suffering and all other losses from the liable dog owner. The only exception is when the dog was provoked by the dog bite victim. As it relates to a dog bite, Pennsylvania law defines “severe injury” as “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.” 3 P.S. § 459-102
Importantly, a dog can be considered “dangerous” or “vicious” without ever having bitten anyone. On the other hand, a single bite in the past does not automatically make that dog “vicious” in every situation. Our Blue Bell lawyers can further explain these dog bite laws and gather evidence of an animal’s vicious history.
Proving You Were Not at Fault for Your Own Damages
What counts as reasonable or unreasonable behavior when it comes to controlling a dangerous dog is not always easy to establish in a lawsuit. For example, suppose someone’s dog gets over or under a fence and bites someone after escaping from their yard. A court could rule that there wasn’t much else that person could have done to contain their pet, which might make it difficult to get paid fairly for a bite injury.
Additionally, many dog owners in Montgomery County will try to argue that the injured victim holds some responsibility for the bite happening in the first place. They will say that you were taunting the dog, trespassing on the owner’s property, or doing something else reckless or careless. The seasoned lawyers at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers will fight these accusations and protect your right to recover compensation after a dog attack.
Let a Blue Bell Dog Bite Attorney Fight for You
Dogs can cause injuries that take months or years to heal and may leave mental scars that never completely go away. Unfortunately, holding a dog owner accountable for an attack can be a complicated process, especially if you try to do it without qualified legal help.
Get the support you need by contacting a Blue Bell dog bite lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers. Our team will handle your case so that you can focus on recovering, and you do not pay us anything until we win the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.