A 10-year old girl was attacked by a pit bull in Philadelphia. She remains hospitalized and is in stable condition after receiving several stitches. As the girl recovers, this latest attack involving pit bulls and children brings to mind dog bite liability should the parents of the girl sue.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the dog belonged to a neighbor of the victim. The neighbor is reportedly a good family friend and surrendered the dog to authorities. It's unclear if the dog will be euthanized. And while it has been reported that no criminal charges have been filed, it is also unclear whether the girl's family will sue their neighbor for medical expenses and other damages.
In Pennsylvania, the dog owner can be strictly liable for dog bites. In cases of severe injury, this means that the dog owner is liable regardless of whether the owner did anything wrong or how careful the owner was in protecting others from an attack. With strict liability, even if the owner had no reason to know that the dog was dangerous, the owner is liable.
In contrast, in states without strict liability, a dog owner may be liable for dog bites only if the owner knew (or had reason to know) that the animal was dangerous.
The amount of damages that someone can receive in a dog bite lawsuit will generally depend on the severity of the bite. Usually, the victim can recover medical expenses. But in extreme cases, victims may also recover other damages such as for emotional harm or permanent injuries.
Pennsylvania dog bite liability is strict. Dog owners may be liable for significant damages especially in accidents involving pit bulls and children, so extra care should always be taken to avoid injury to others and the expensive liability that can result.
- Find a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Pit Bull Attacks Police Officer's 10-Year-Old Daughter (MyFox)
- Dog/Animal Bites - Overview (FindLaw)
- Family Files Lawsuit For Son's Alleged Dog Bite (FindLaw's Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog)