Attacks from domesticated animals can cause significant physical and psychological damage, and subsequent medical treatments—especially those for infectious diseases like rabies—can be incredibly expensive. Fortunately, people who suffer dog bites and other animal attacks in Pennsylvania can often seek financial recovery through civil litigation.
In order to maximize your chances of a successful case, it may be important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney about potential legal obstacles and the best course of action for addressing them. Our experienced Montgomery County dog bite lawyers could clarify how state law applies to these cases, help you catalogue all your losses, and work on your behalf to seek appropriation compensation.
Who is Liable for a Dog Attack in Montgomery County?
Pennsylvania law establishes various safety precautions that must be taken by owners of “dangerous dogs,” which Pennsylvania Statutes Title 3, §459-502-A defines as any dog which has previously attacked, injured, or killed another person or domesticated animal without cause, or which was involved in the commission of a crime. However, even if a canine is not considered dangerous, its owner must either keep it contained within their property, on a leash or chain, or otherwise under their control at all times, as per 3 P.S. §459-305.
Furthermore, in the event that a domesticated dog attacks and injures someone else, multiple cases heard in local courts have established a precedent of strict liability. This means that a Montgomery County canine bite attorney could work to hold an owner liable for a bite even if their pet had never been aggressive towards anyone else before.
However, a plaintiff in a dog bite case must prove they neither provoked the dog that attacked them nor trespassed on the property where the animal was kept in order to recover compensation. Both of these conditions may be affirmative defenses to strict liability in these kinds of cases.
Recoverable Losses in Violent Animal Cases
Once liability is established, a person catastrophically injured by an animal attack in Montgomery County may be able to recover for both economic and non-economic damages with a dedicated lawyer’s assistance. The former type of damage refers to losses that can be assigned a quantitative financial value, such as bills for medical treatments, and lost wages from time spent out of work.
However, a violent dog bite can also have emotional and psychological effects as well, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a long-lasting fear of dogs. These kinds of losses, as well as things like loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain, and loss of consortium, may be factored into a court verdict or private settlement as non-economic damages.
In the event that an owner was egregiously or willfully negligent in failing to contain a dangerous dog, punitive damages may be available as well. These damages are meant expressly to punish a defendant, and they are rarely available through civil trial at the court’s discretion.
Reach Out to a Montgomery County Dog Bite Attorney Today
A severe dog bite is a traumatic experience that may leave you with physical and emotional scars for your rest of your life. While Pennsylvania state law does allow you to hold a pet owner liable in the aftermath of such an encounter, you may have trouble avoiding legal pitfalls and recovering fair compensation for your losses without professional legal guidance.
A seasoned Montgomery County dog bite lawyer could take the lead in your case and work tirelessly to pursue a positive outcome on your behalf. Set up a consultation today to start working on your claim with our team.