Dog Bites: Nightmares of a Plaintiff and an Accident Lawyer
Any old accident lawyer may not be enough if you are the victim of a dog bite. There are little known facts about the personal injury niche of dog bites. And this post is meant to shed some light on the issue.
In Pennsylvania, a dog owner or keeper must pay for the medical expenses of the injured party resulting from a dog bite. In some cases, if the injury is severe enough, the dog owner would need to pay for pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages that the injured party suffered as a result of the dog bite. In other cases, in order to recover for pain and suffering, and other damages, an injured party must prove negligence. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the dog owner or keeper had a duty to the plaintiff, breached that duty, and that breach caused the plaintiff to suffer damages.
There are factors that the court would take into account in every case. Does the dog have a propensity for viciousness? Is the dog known to be aggressive? Has the dog bitten before? Factors that may mitigate the dog owner’s negligence also come into play. Was the dog restrained, or properly fenced and escaped without the possible knowledge of the dog owner? Also, did the plaintiff or injured party assume the risk, and enter the dog’s space knowingly, or did the injured party provoke the dog?
With all of this being said, suppose that the victim’s injuries are severe and include horrible facial lacerations, scarring and maiming. The dog owner allowed an aggressive dog off the leash and the victim sustained those injuries as a result. Liability is not an issue. Well, then who pays the settlement or judgement? The dog owner in most cases is “judgement proof” meaning, he or she has no real assets to pay a judgement. So, usually an injured party looks to insurance to pay for his or her injuries. There are many cases where the dog owner does not have homeowner’s insurance. And even more cases where, even if there is insurance, the insurance company disclaims such accidents and injuries. Many insurance companies specifically exclude certain dog breeds from their policies. Unfortunately, Pitbulls and Rottweilers are examples of breeds that are often specifically excluded from homeowner’s insurance policies. Hence, the nightmares of the plaintiff and accident lawyer begin. In these situations, injured parties need a creative, resourceful and relentless accident lawyer.
If you find yourself or a loved one in this situation, call an accident lawyer at Rizio, Hamilton & Kane, P.C. at 855-822-6783 or 215-567-1900. Calls are always confidential and free.