Most dogs are friendly pets and faithful companions. However, dog attacks can cause serious and even fatal injuries. In these situations, a victim or their family can hold the dog owner responsible for their pet’s behavior and recover compensation for losses caused by the dog.
The winning lawyers at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers will fight to get you the maximum payout for your claim. Our Norristown dog bite lawyers have helped clients all over Pennsylvania, including one client who broke her hip in an attack by a pit bull, requiring surgery. Founding Partner Jon Ostroff settled the case for $375,000 after obtaining crucial evidence from the scene of the attack.
Dog Owner Liability in Norristown
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.
In addition to strict liability for medical expenses, a dog owner in Pennsylvania may be responsible for paying a victim for other kinds of losses – including 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 negligence: 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.
Negligence Laws for Pet Owners
Failing to obey the law is evidence of negligence. For example, 3 Pennsylvania Statute §459-305 requires dog owners to keep their pets leashed off their property. If an irresponsible pet owner did not leash their dog and it attacked, the violation of this statute can be used as evidence that the dog owner is negligent. An owner also could be negligent if their dog was leashed, but the handler could not reasonably keep the animal under control.
Identifying the Animal and its Owner
A dog that causes an injury may belong to a family member, neighbor, or friend. If you know the dog and its owner, your attorney could contact their insurance company to begin settlement negotiations.
If you don’t know the dog, it is best to work with a lawyer to identify the animal and its owner. After an attack, take pictures of the animal if possible. Show the pictures to people in the area and ask if they know the dog. Share the photos with your friends and on social media.
You could also share the photos with an Animal Control officer. If you don’t have photos, you could describe the dog and the location where the attack occurred. The officer might know where the dog lives and have information about its history. Even if they don’t know the dog, reporting the dog bite is critical to support your case for damages and to potentially protect future victims.
Get Immediate Medical Treatment for Dog Bite Wounds
Many dog bite injuries are severe and might require surgery and hospitalization. Even if an injury seems minor, it is best to seek treatment immediately. Dog bites can get infected if left untreated. A series of uncomfortable rabies and tetanus vaccines may be required after a bite. Some bites could leave severe and unsightly scars if a medical professional does not close the wound. Even if a victim receives prompt treatment for a bite, they still might require plastic surgery if the dog attacked the face or head.
Another important reason to see a doctor is to support a claim for damages. As our skilled Norristown attorneys can attest, a medical record produced soon after a dog attack helps prove that the attack happened at the reported date and time.
Work With a Norristown Lawyer to Get Compensated for a Dog Bite
Dog attacks can be brutal and traumatic. If dog owners kept their animals leashed and under control as the law requires, most dog-related injuries would never happen. When a dog owner acts negligently and allows their pet to attack someone, they should have to pay.
A Norristown dog bite lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers can explain the law and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call now to set up a consultation at no cost to you.