Although many people love and care for dogs as pets, these animals can also cause harm if they aren’t trained and handled properly. Some breeds have jaws powerful enough to tear through muscles and even shatter bones. A dog attack is a traumatic experience that can leave you with severe injuries. In these cases, you may have grounds to take legal action against the dog’s owner and demand payment for your losses.
Pennsylvania law gives dog bite victims many rights in pursuing civil lawsuits. However, pursuing a case like this will be challenging without representation from a seasoned attorney. Having a Philadelphia dog bite lawyer on your side will be essential to getting the compensation you deserve. Let Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers fight for you and your rights throughout the legal process.
Dog Owner Liability in Philadelphia
Some states have a “one-bite rule” that makes dog owners “strictly liable” for injuries their dog causes if it has already bitten or attacked someone in the past. In this context, “strict liability” means the injured person doesn’t have to prove the dog owner was reckless or careless to win their civil claim. They only need to prove that the owner should’ve known their pet had the potential to be dangerous.
Under Pennsylvania’s version of this rule, dog owners are strictly liable for the medical expenses of anyone their dog bites, regardless of whether it has attacked anyone before. If you and your local attorney can prove that the owner knew their dog had the capacity to be vicious and failed to control it properly, you can pursue other damages as well.
As our Philadelphia lawyers can explain, this is not a typical “one-bite rule.” Dog owners are only strictly liable for medical bills and must be proven “negligent” to be held liable for other damages. Additionally, dog owners generally aren’t responsible for any damages suffered by someone intentionally provoking the animal or trespassing on the owner’s property when they were bitten.
Even if you were not bitten by a dog, if you were charged, tackled, pinned, or otherwise sustained injuries from a dog attack, you may be eligible to recover as well. For example, in one case handled by Ostroff Godshall, we obtained a $375,000 settlement for a client who was jumped on (but not bitten) by a pit bull, causing her to need major surgery for a fractured hip.
Compensation After a Dog Attack
Another possible limitation to dog bite claims in Philadelphia is the “statute of limitations” set out by Pennsylvania law. 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5524 gives most people two years after the date of a dog bite to start filing suit.
If you meet this deadline, you and your Philadelphia lawyer can hold a negligent dog owner liable for every past and future loss you will suffer from your injuries, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of life’s pleasures
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Lost work wages or working ability
- Personal property damage
Our experienced dog attack attorneys in Philadelphia can explain what damages you may be entitled to in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Talk to a Philadelphia Dog Bite Attorney About Your Legal Options
Dogs may be “man’s best friend,” but they can also cause life-altering harm, especially when owners are negligent. If someone else’s dog seriously injured you, you have a right to be paid fairly for the harm you didn’t deserve.
A Philadelphia dog bite lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers will be a vital ally from beginning to end of the legal process. You won’t owe us anything unless and until we recover the compensation you deserve, so call us today to get started.