Punitive damages and California dog bite cases
A court ruling in Pennsylvania may help plaintiffs obtain punitive damages in cases where they are attacked by a dog. In the case, the plaintiff claimed that he was bitten by a dog that had been involved in another attack a week earlier. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that others had complained to the defendant about potentially vicious tendencies that the dog displayed.
While the defendant in the case did not believe that the facts should allow for punitive damages to be awarded, the court disagreed. In its ruling, it stated that the defendant should have known that there was an elevated risk of the dog attacking another person. Furthermore, the defendant had failed to act in a manner that would have reduced its risk to others.
Although some attorneys do not believe that punitive damages are appropriate in a dog bite case, that may not be true in the future. The ruling in this case may set a precedent for others who suffer from serious dog bites or are otherwise seriously injured by an animal. As the amount of punitive damages is generally determined by a jury, a defendant could possible win a large sum of money through legal action.
Those who have been injured by a dog bite may be entitled to compensation for lost income, medical expenses and other costs related to the injury. In some cases, it may be possible to ask for punitive damages. An attorney may be able to assist an injured individual throughout the legal process. Injured parties who want their cases resolved as quickly as possible may wish to pursue a settlement outside of court. Legal counsel may still be able to provide assistance during such talks.