Wrongful Death and Dog Bite Incidents: Liability and Damages
Dogs provide companionship, loyalty, and love to millions of households worldwide. Unfortunately, unexpected dog bites and attacks sometimes occur and can result in severe injuries or even death.
When the unthinkable happens, navigating the legal landscape to seek justice and compensation is complex, particularly in wrongful death dog bite cases.
In these instances, having an experienced dog bite lawyer on your side can be invaluable. Read on to learn more about wrongful death claims due to dog bites and what factors may impact your case.
The Four Levels of Dog Bites in Pennsylvania
Dog bites are categorized into four levels based on the severity of the injuries inflicted. These levels assist dog bite lawyers in analyzing the legal consequences for the dog owner and potential compensation for the victim.
Level One: Scratches and Bruising
Injuries caused by a level 1 dog bite are minor and typically involve superficial scratches and bruising. The victim may suffer from mild abrasions or discoloration of the skin that heals over time.
These injuries generally do not require significant medical attention and can be managed with basic first aid.
Level Two: Bite Marks
With a level 2 dog bite, the victim sustains bite marks from the dog’s teeth, but the skin is not broken or punctured.
The force of the bite may leave visible impressions on the skin, causing bruising or minor swelling. While the skin remains intact, discomfort and pain might occur around the bite marks.
Medical attention may be needed to monitor for any signs of infection or complications. These attacks may leave lasting emotional effects instead of physical harm.
Level Three: Puncture Wounds
A level 3 dog bite results in puncture wounds breaking through the skin. These wounds vary in depth and severity, ranging from shallow punctures to deeper injuries.
The victim usually experiences some bleeding, pain, and potential risks for infection. Stitches or medical treatment may be necessary and may cause permanent scarring.
This level of attack also often causes emotional distress due to the traumatic nature of the attack.
Level Four: Deep Wounds
The most severe category, level four, involves dog bites causing deep wounds and tearing skin, muscle, and tissue. With a level 4 dog bite, significant blood loss may occur, as well as severe pain and risk of infection.
The force of the bite often leads to torn flesh and nerve damage resulting in temporary or permanent loss of sensation or movement.
Victims at this level often require immediate medical intervention, like surgery, reconstructive procedures, and long-term rehabilitation.
Wrongful Death Claims in Dog Bite Cases
Losing a loved one to a dog bite is devastating and can leave families shattered and seeking answers.
Successfully pursuing a wrongful death claim in a dog bite case requires proof of the dog owner’s negligence through the following elements:
- Duty of care. The dog owner has a duty to prevent harm caused by their pet through leash laws, proper containment, and supervision.
- Breach of duty. The dog owner failed to fulfill their duty of care, leading to the fatal dog bite incident.
- Causation. The dog bite directly caused the victim’s death, with a clear link between the dog owner’s negligence and the fatal outcome.
- Damages. The surviving family members suffered financial and emotional injuries due to the victim’s death.
Wrongful death claims in dog bite cases permit the deceased victim’s family members to seek justice and compensation for their loss.
Although no amount of money could ever replace the loss of a lost loved one, these claims provide financial relief for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income, and emotional distress.
How Much Is a Dog Bite Lawsuit Worth?
The exact value of a dog bite lawsuit varies significantly based on each case’s specific facts and details. Despite this, attorneys consider common factors impacting most dog bite cases, including:
- Severity of injuries,
- Impact on the victim’s life,
- Who was at fault,
- Availability of insurance, and
- Strength of available evidence.
As your attorney reviews the details surrounding your dog bite attack, they should explain how these factors may positively or negatively impact the potential compensation you may receive.
Victims injured in dog bite attacks are entitled to receive several types of recoverable damages. These damages are broken down into economic and non-economic damages and include the following losses:
- Medical expenses. Victims of dog bites incur medical costs, including emergency room treatment, surgery, hospitalization, medication, and follow-up care.
- Lost wages. When victims’ injuries prevent them from working, they are entitled to recover compensation for lost wages, including current and future income. Lost wages also encompass the loss of earning capacity if the injuries result in long-term or permanent impairments.
- Pain and suffering. Dog bite injuries often cause physical pain and emotional distress. These subjective yet life-altering losses are vital to a victim’s recovery.
- Scarring and disfigurement. Severe dog bites commonly lead to scarring or disfigurement, negatively impacting a person’s appearance and self-esteem.
- Emotional distress. Dog attacks can cause emotional trauma, including anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Wrongful death damages. In tragic cases where a dog bite causes a victim’s death, the victim’s family is permitted to seek damages for funeral and burial expenses and compensation for the loss of financial support and companionship.
Consult with a qualified attorney specializing in personal injury cases to assess the specific details of your situation and what recoverable damages you should pursue.
Wrongful death claims stemming from dog bite incidents bring to light the profound impact this tragic event can have on families.
At Rosen Justice Injury Firm, we understand the lasting financial and emotional impact a dog attack leaves in its wake.
Our firm is on a mission to help underserved communities by serving as dog bite attorneys in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties.
With decades of experience, we can help secure the compensation you deserve without charging you a dime upfront. We serve as your fierce advocate and are here to help.
While no legal action can fully alleviate the pain of losing someone you love, it can offer a path toward healing and holding responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
Contact us today by phone or email to obtain a free consultation and learn how Rosen Justice Injury Firm can help you!