Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Dog Bite
A dog bite can cause severe injury and permanent damage. The medical expenses can be costly, and that may only be the beginning of your losses. You have the right to seek reimbursement for your medical treatment and may be eligible for additional compensation if the dog owner’s negligence resulted in the attack.
If someone’s dog bit you, you might have a personal injury claim or lawsuit. An Altoona, PA, dog bite lawyer with Berger and Green can help you seek compensation for your financial losses. Our firm has over 40 years of legal experience we can put behind getting the awards you deserve. We can answer your questions and help you explore your legal options with a risk-free, no-cost consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bite lawyer serving Altoona, call 412-661-1400
Eligibility to Pursue Dog Bite Compensation in Pennsylvania
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the state has strict laws about dog owners’ responsibilities. Owners must be in control of their pets at all times. The dog must be on a leash or confined to stop the dog from wandering off and out of the owner’s control. Off-leash dogs and poor fence maintenance are two common ways dog bites happen.
Some factors that may affect the strength and value of your case include:
- The severity of your injuries
- A history of the animal’s dangerous propensities, such as biting without justification
- Owner negligence, like not having the dog on a leash
If the dog has a history of biting, you will likely have a stronger case. Dogs that were previously violent are dangerous, and the state requires owners to register them as such. The court may fine the owner punitive fees for repeat biters.
There are some exceptions to dog bite liability, such as police service dogs on duty when the attack occurs or attacks that happen due to the provocation of the animal.
An example for when a recovery is possible is the following: A dangerous dog is confined by a wooden fence in the backyard. However, the latch on the gate broke weeks ago, and the owner never fixed it, resulting in the dog escaping. While free, the dog bites a child’s arm, causing it to break.
The owner knew about the dog’s tendencies to be violent and failed to keep the public safe by keeping the animal contained. In addition to the physical injury, the severity of the attack could warrant compensation for the child’s mental and emotional trauma.
Altoona Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Recoverable Dog Bite Damages
The state requires negligent dog owners to pay medical expenses, even if a bite injury is not severe.
Your health care bills will include your initial treatment for the wound and any follow-up care. Depending on the severity of your injury, this may mean therapy, surgery, and rehabilitation. You should consider all anticipated medical expenses.
Medical expenses are just a few of the losses you might be able to request for reimbursement. If your injuries are severe, such as broken bones, you may seek compensation for other losses.
Your mental health costs and the toll on your well-being are part of your lawsuit award. An animal attack can be terrifying, especially for young children, who are most often the victim, according to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP). Counseling and therapy can help victims process and cope with emotional and mental trauma like:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety and panic
- Fear, specifically fear of dogs
Emotional anguish is just as real as physical suffering, which is why the law allows you to sue for pain and suffering. Unlike bills and invoices with monetary figures, pain and suffering damages are noneconomic. An Altoona dog bite lawyer from Berger and Green can help you establish a figure for your lawsuit.
You can also request reimbursement for any forfeited earnings due to the dog bite. For instance, you can ask for compensation for past and future wages if the attack causes you to miss work or prevents you from returning to work.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites?
A dog bite is a personal injury since you suffered harm because of someone else. In these cases, you are demanding the owner take financial responsibility for the damage their animal caused. Personal injury lawsuits protect your rights and finances.
In Altoona, PA, you have two years to start legal proceedings against the dog’s owner, according to 42 Pa. C.S.A. §5524. The clock starts when your bite injury occurs. Sadly, some bites result in a fatal injury. If you lost your loved one, you have two years to pursue compensation for their death. The two-year statute of limitations applies. For wrongful death action, the clock starts at the time of death. For a survival action, it begins when the injury happens.
In the case of a minor, the statute of limitations for the minor’s damages is extended up until the 20th birthday. However, this extension does not apply to the parents’ claims for medical expenses.
Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies often cover dog injuries, even if the bite did not occur on the covered property. If the dog owner has insurance, representatives from the company might offer you an amount to drop the case. The insurance company does not want to pay claims, and they might give you an amount that does not cover all of your losses. As your Altoona dog bite lawyer, we can negotiate on your behalf and fight for the highest compensation possible.
However, do not wait too long to get started. Even if you feel confident you will secure a settlement, you do not want your window to sue to close. Doing so could leave you no option for recovering your medical expenses and other awards.
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Our Altoona Dog Bite Lawyers Can Build Your Personal Injury Case
The state puts a burden of proof on dog bite victims that requires them to show evidence that they suffered an injury and that the other party’s negligent actions resulted in the dog attack (when necessary). Our attorneys can help you collect:
- Photos and videos
- Witness testimony
- Medical records
- Information regarding the animal’s history
- Law enforcement reports
- Cell phone or surveillance video of the incident
This evidence can also show the type and severity of the injury you suffered. For instance, photos of the bite and X-rays may illustrate broken skin and a fractured arm. Common injuries from dog bites include the following:
- Bruising and puncture wounds
- Broken bones and nerve damage
- Eye and face injuries
- Scars and disfigurement
- Rabies and infections
- Emotional and mental harm
Contact Berger and Green About Your Dog Bite Claim Today
Our Altoona, PA, dog bite lawyers can fight on your side to seek fair compensation. We can negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in civil court if necessary. Focus on your recovery, and we can handle the case. Contact our team at Berger and Green about your dog bite today. We offer free consultations and take cases on contingency, which means there is no financial risk to getting started.