Each state handles setting its laws governing how dog bites will be handled, and with whom the liability will lie. In Pennsylvania, the law imposes a strict liability statute for medical bills, meaning that a dog owner will be held liable for the actions of their dog regardless of if the owner acted negligently. For damages outside of medical bills though, the law is slightly different.
Classifying Victims Based on Injuries
Injuries caused by dog attacks in Pennsylvania are classified as either severe or non-severe. Assuming that the dog in question has never bitten a person prior to this incident, the damages recoverable are different for a severe vs. a non-severe injury type.
A person who is severely injured by a dog can make a claim for all damages suffered, including the following.
- Lost wages
- Emotional harm
- Medical expenses
- Permanent disfigurement
On the other hand, a person who is not severely injured can only make a claim for medical damages.
When Negligence Led to the Dog Bite
As stated above, Pennsylvania imposes a strict liability dog bite statute for medical bills regardless of injury severity or negligence. As stated above, a victim with non-severe injured is limited to medical damages under this statute.
However, even if injuries are not severe, a dog bite victim may recover more comprehensive damages types if the dog owner acted negligently. For example, if the dog had previously bitten someone and was labeled as a dangerous dog, but was not restrained, then the dog owner was acting negligently.
Find out if you are dealing with one of the most dangerous dog breeds.
To summarize, and then, the owner of a non-dangerous dog who bites someone is liable for medical damages, as well as additional damages if the injuries were severe. The negligent owner of a dangerous dog who bites someone may be liable for both medical and other damages regardless of injury severity. A victim does not have to prove negligence under the former (statutory law), but must under the latter (case law).
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
If a dog has bitten you, it’s important that you have your injuries assessed immediately. You should also find out whether or not the dog that bit you had ever bitten anyone else – if so, this may affect the amount in damages you’re able to recover.