Pennsylvania law allows victims to hold dog owners criminally and civilly liable, but the requirements differ significantly. Dog attacks are a nightmare for the victims and even the owners of the dog that attacks. In many cases, the owner had no idea that their pet would cause harm to another. It could be a family…Read Article
Experienced Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyer
Serving Philadelphia, PA, Buck County PA, Montgomery County PA, & Chester County, PA
The Aftermath of a Dog Attack in Philadelphia
It’s easy to put a price on the concrete costs of a serious dog bite injury: a victim can add up medical expenses and they can calculate lost wages. However, it is much harder to put a price tag on what dog bite attorneys call “non-economic damages.” There is no formula, chart, or book that reveals exactly how much a dog bite victim should be paid for surviving an attack, dealing with the trauma of the incident, and picking up the pieces of their life. This can be especially true for dog bite victims who are children and those who suffer serious, permanent injuries.
Philadelphia dog bite lawyer Jeffrey Harlan Penneys understands that dog bite injuries go much deeper than puncture wounds and lacerations. Because of the nature of dog attacks, clients are often scarred for life, both physically and psychologically. Anyone seriously injured by a dog should know that the at-fault party is not just responsible for economic damages. They are also responsible for non-economic damages, including your pain and suffering.
A Summary of Possible Non-Economic Damages for Dog Bites in Pennsylvania
What exactly are non-economic damages? These are damages that you can’t easily put a number on, but nevertheless have serious and long-term repercussions on one’s life. Let’s take a closer look at common types of non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering
This is a general term for the overall trauma that an injured party experiences during and after a dog attack. Pain and suffering includes both the physical and emotional hurt caused by the accident, from the actual pain felt during the attack to the stress felt every time the victim sees a potentially aggressive dog. The size of a pain and suffering settlement can vary widely based upon the details of the attack, the extent of the injuries, and the long-term consequences of the incident and injuries.
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
More than in many other types of accidents, dog bite victims can face years of mental health challenges, from grappling with depression and anxiety to living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some, especially children, may have difficulty leaving the house, coming into contact with animals, or even taking a walk around their neighborhood. Those with permanent scarring may experience an entirely different but equally debilitating type of emotional distress.
- Humiliation and embarrassment
Dog bite survivors who have visible scarring may deal with embarrassment and shame each day of their lives, from when they first look in the mirror each morning to when they meet someone new on the street. Feeling sad and embarrassed about a scar or disfigurement caused by a dog attack isn’t vain. It’s a normal response to a permanent injury.
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Anyone who has suffered a serious dog bite injury knows that life simply isn’t the same after a dog attack incident. Not only do they suffer from the long-term physical consequences of the injuries, such as scars and permanent disabilities, they also suffer from long-term mental consequences, including stress, embarrassment, depression, and hopelessness. It may be harder to engage in the activities and hobbies that used to be enjoyed. It may be impossible to socialize as before. While no one put a price on this loss of quality of life, getting compensation for this loss is imperative.
- Loss of consortium
This legal term refers to the effect that an injury has on a person’s relationship with their spouse. Loss of consortium could include losing the companionship of one’s spouse (for example, if a spouse has becomes the caretaker instead of a partner) or losing a sexual relationship with a spouse (for example, if permanent injuries prevent someone from continuing a physical relationship with a spouse). If a person’s spouse looks differently at his or her partner because of a disfiguring scar, or if the relationship is not the same after a dog bite incident because of psychological struggles, the victim may be able to collect compensation.
“I will make sure that you obtain the medical treatment you require for your dog bite injuries, without you being obligated to pay your medical bills until after your dog bite injury claim has been resolved.”
- Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq.