A 2011 press release by State Farm Insurance ranks Pennsylvania number 6 in the country for the number of dog attack claims in 2010, with 155 claims. The press released also stated that roughly 60% of the claims were against children under the age of 12; children also accounted for 20 of 33 total fatalities handled by State Farm. In 2009, it was estimated that insurers paid $412 million as a result of dog bite claims, according to the Insurance Journal online.
This law office has handled several dog bite claims in the Altoona area, mostly for child victims. Unfortunately, children are more susceptible to dog attacks because they are more likely to approach a dog that adults may deem unsafe. They are also smaller, so the same size dog does significantly more damage on a child that cannot protect him or herself than they might do to an average adult. In addition to significant physical damage, dog attacks can lead to lasting and pervasive psychological stress, especially in very young children. Children may become scared by other animals in the future, including their previously loved household pets. They may also have difficulty sleeping, working in school, interacting with friends and family, and may become withdrawn and anxious.
Some cities and housing developments have banned certain breeds of dogs from residing on their premises, including pit bulls and rottweilers, or make the owners of the pets put up higher fences, purchase additional liability insurance, or muzzle the dog in public. Currently, the city of Altoona has no law against having certain dog breeds as pets.
If you feel that you or a family member have been wrongly hurt as a result of a dog attack, please contact our office for a consultation at no cost to you. We will be happy to review your claim.