The public relies on dog owners to keep their pets on a leash or in a fenced yard. However, the negligence of dog owners can easily lead to their dogs attacking adults or even children in the area. While Pennsylvania law allows dog bite victims to take legal action in a wide variety of circumstances, the damages you can receive depend on the specific circumstances of your experience.
What damages can you receive after a dog bite?
In cases where the victim was not severely injured, Pennsylvania’s “strict liability” law allows you to hold pet owners responsible even if their dog did not have a history of aggression. However, the damages you can receive in these cases are limited to medical costs.
In some cases, though, bite victims can hold owners responsible for more than just medical bills. Damages in these cases can include wages lost due to recovery and the pain and suffering they experienced. This is the case if the incident falls into one of two categories: a bite that caused severe injury or cases in which the owner should have known that their dog was dangerous.
Severe injuries include broken bones or disfiguring injuries. Dog owners whose pets cause severe injuries may be held responsible even if their dog has never attacked someone previously or shown other signs of aggression.
Dogs considered dangerous are those that have a history of attacking people or other animals or a propensity to do so. This may involve a single past incident of a dog attacking someone. It may also involve dogs housed on a property with a “beware of dog” sign or other indications that the owner knew that their dog may pose a risk to the public.
Dog owners may also use the details of the attack to push back.
Dog owners may use a variety of defenses to avoid responsibility for a dog bite. They may claim that you intentionally provoked their dog or that you were trespassing on their property at the time the bite occurred.
Because holding owners responsible for a dog attack can be challenging for injured people and their families, it can be important to seek legal guidance in these cases. An experienced attorney can address the details of the case to ensure that you receive full compensation and to counter any accusations made against you by the dog owner.