Dog bites cause very serious injuries and when they do, injured victims in Pennsylvania can file a claim to secure compensation for their losses. Dog bite claims are highly misunderstood within the state, and even when individuals know they can file a claim, they often do not understand the legalities behind them. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our personal injury attorneys receive about these claims, and the answers to them.
What is the One Bite Rule?
Historically, the law on dog bites in Pennsylvania allowed dog owners one free pass for the first time the dog bit someone. If the dog bit someone after that first bite, the dog owner was then found negligent for not properly restraining their animal. Today, that is no longer the case. The new law states that any time a dog bites someone and causes injury to another person, the owner can be held liable, regardless of whether the dog had bitten someone in the past or not.
Who can be Held Liable in a Dog Bite Claim?
In most cases, the dog owner is held liable for any injuries their dog caused. However, landlords, property owners, and dog keepers can also be held liable if the dog was in their care at the time. It is also important to know that if you were partially at fault, such as if you provoked the dog, you can also be held partly liable.
What Damages are Available in a Dog Bite Claim?
Anyone that is bitten by a dog in the state can file a claim to recover compensation for any harm or losses they suffered as a result. Some of the most common damages in dog bite claims include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Travel expenses
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses, such as medications and personal care
What is My Claim Worth?
This is a very common question in all personal injury claims. Truthfully, however, no one can determine how much your case is worth until a lawyer has carefully reviewed all the facts of your case and evaluated the full amount of damages you sustained.
Is There a Time Limit on Dog Bite Claims?
Yes. Dog bite claims are a type of personal injury law and all personal injury cases in Pennsylvania have a statute of limitations, or time limit, of two years. Although there are some exceptions to this, they are very limited.
Should I Accept the Settlement Offer?
Soon after the dog bite incident, the dog owner’s insurer is likely to contact you and offer a settlement. The settlement offer is likely to be too low to fully cover the cost of your injuries and other losses. You should always speak to a lawyer first that can accurately evaluate your damages so you recover the full amount of compensation you need.
How Can a Pennsylvania Dog Bite Lawyer Help with My Case?
At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our Philadelphia dog bite lawyers have the experience to give you the best chance of success with your claim. We will fully review the facts of your case, refute arguments the dog owner will likely raise to indicate you were at fault, and aggressively negotiate to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.