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The costs incurred by a dog owner after an attack

Was the dog known to be dangerous?

In Pennsylvania, a dog owner whose dog bites somebody and causes an injury may only be liable for compensation if he or she knew that the dog was potentially dangerous. Typically, this means that if the dog had already bitten a member of the public and the dogs owner or owners were aware of it, then they are liable for any further attacks. This is often called the one bite rule. Many states have a similar ruling, although some are stricter and make dog owners pay up even for a first attack.

The normal costs incurred by a dog owner after an attack

If a dog bites a member of the public, then the dogs owner or owners will be responsible for paying compensation to the victim if it can be clearly established that this dog caused the injury. The normal costs are

  • medical costs
  • loss of income
  • pain and suffering
  • damage to property

The most difficult amount to prove included in this list is the amount awarded for pain and suffering. This can be open to interpretation and there may be considerable negotiation between an individual victims lawyer, an insurance company and the victim.

If it can be proved that the dog owner has behaved particularly irresponsibly, then any claim against them may seek further damages such as an amount for punitive damages.

Most claims against a negligent dog owner will involve a negotiation with the dog owners insurance company or companies. It may be that a home insurance policy (or even auto insurance if a dog bit somebody while in its owners vehicle) will cover part of, or all of, the amount demanded in compensation.

Whatever the amount involved, if you have been bitten by a dog and it was an unprovoked attack, you should use an experienced Pennsylvania?personal injury?attorney with extensive experience in?dog bite?law as it is applied in this state for the best outcomes.