By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. If you, or a family member, have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your injuries. But the fact that a dog bit you doesn’t automatically make the dog’s owner liable for your injuries. To be eligible for damages, you must be able to prove that the owner was negligent or otherwise “at fault.” At Drake, Hileman & Davis, there are two ways we do this: 1. By proving the dog’s “dangerous propensities.” At one time, all Pennsylvania dog bite cases were subject to the “one bite rule.” It was presumed that all dogs (who are, after all, “man’s best friend”) are safe until proven dangerous. The dog got “one free bite.” That first bite then put the owner “on notice” of the dog’s vicious propensities, and obligated him to confine the dog. The dog’s second victim had a case, but the first victim was out of luck. The one bite rule has changed. Today, the plaintiff need to only prove that the dog’s owner knew that his dog had “dangerous or vicious propensities.” A prior bite is still sufficient proof of such knowledge. But now, even a first bite may give rise to a valid claim if any of the following apply: Mauling. If the “first bite” involves a ferocious mauling and serious injuries, a jury may reasonably conclude that the owner knew the dog had vicious propensities, even if the plaintiff cannot actually prove prior […]
DO I HAVE A GOOD DEFECTIVE PRODUCT CASE?
By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. Have you or a family member been injured by a defective product? If so, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your injuries. This article will explain the key elements of a products liability case. Pennsylvania has a strong pro-consumer products liability law. This law makes the manufacturer the “guarantor” of its product’s safety, andstrictly liable for injuries caused by its use, if the product lacks any element necessary to make it safe for its intended purpose. Thus, if you were injured by an unsafe product while using it as it was intended to be used, you likely have a good case. Unlike typical negligence cases, most Pennsylvania defective product cases are based on strict liability, and thus the defendant need not have been negligent or at fault. (Some products cases, however, are based in whole or part on negligence or breach of warranty.) Even if the defective product had never injured anyone else, or was very similar to other products deemed to be “safe,” or if the product that injured you can be shown to be unsafe, you may have a claim. Products liability law has a unique concept known as “chain of liability.” As a result, if the product is proven defective, any seller of that product in the chain of distribution may be liable for your injuries, including the retailer that sold it to you, any distributor or reseller, and the original manufacturer. Parties that assembled, provided components […]
CAN I RECOVER FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING?
By: Jonathan J. Russell, Esq. Are you entitled to compensation for “pain and suffering” if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence? At one time, the answer to this question was clearly “yes.” However, an expensive campaign of misinformation waged by so-called “tort reformers” has created a climate of public ignorance and fear about this issue. As a result, many jurors mistakenly believe that they should not award money for “pain and suffering,” regardless of how severe that pain and suffering may be. Sadly, this trend runs contrary to civilization’s core principles of justice, equity and fairness developed by many cultures over thousands of years. Early cultures used retaliation as virtually the sole means of righting wrongs. Hebraic law, like other ancient codes, required an “eye for an eye.” Retaliation satisfied the victim’s psychological need for vengeance, but did little to restore what he lost. Gradually, however, cultures added an alternate basis of justice — compensation, or the payment of money, as recompense for wrongful injury. Retaliatory justice gradually evolved into compensatory justice. The Romans established a complex system of compensatory payments for injuries inflicted by a wrongdoer on an innocent victim. The amount of compensation was calibrated based on various factors that indirectly accounted for the degree of pain caused by the injury. For example, the victim of a broken bone was entitled to a payment equal to a third of a year’s salary. Lesser injuries required lesser payments. A Roman who maimed another was required to […]