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Can Victims Of PA & NJ Dog Attacks Get Compensated For Future Medical Expenses Before The Lawsuit Is Over?

In serious personal injury accident cases, injured victims need extensive medical treatment and future medical surgery and treatment.  This is true for PA dog bite victims, especially for children who are seriously and permanently injured during dog attacks. 

In order for a child (minor) attacked by a dog to recover financially from the dog owner, the victim needs to file a PA dog attack and injury lawsuit.  Because minors cannot file lawsuits, their parents or guardians need to file on their behalf.

A question parents or guardians often have is if they can recover some of the medical expenses now before the lawsuit is over.  I will address this in the following hypothetical.

PA Dog Bite & Attack Hypothetical

Let's assume a 9 year old girl is playing outside her home in the front yard when suddenly a neighbor's dog from down the street runs towards her, attacks and bites her in the face.  As a result, the little girl suffers serious facial injuries and needs reconstructive surgery for her face. 

The little girl did not know that the dog was going to attack.  The dog came out of nowhere.  As it turned out, the dog escaped from a fenced in front yard.  It was not the first time the dog had escaped.  There were multiple times the dog escaped from its front yard and ran loose in the neighborhood.  During those previous escapes, the dog did not attack anyone.  After neighbors returned the dog to the owner, the owner would thank them and explain that he needed to replace a missing piece of the fence.

Related:  What Is Negligence In The Context Of A PA Dog Bite & Attack Injury Case?

After her facial surgery, the girl has permanent and significant scarring across her face.  She needs to have a second surgery in a couple of months.  In addition, her doctors told her parents that she will need to have several surgeries as she grows older.

The parents sue the dog owner on behalf of their daughter and want to know if they can be compensated for the medical bills they incurred thus far and have the dog owner pay for their daughter's second surgery.

In general, accident victims, including PA dog bite victims, cannot recover medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident before the lawsuit is over.  Therefore, the surgical medical expenses the 9 year old incurred cannot be reimbursed when the lawsuit is ongoing.  The dog owner cannot pay for the girl's second surgery.  Those expenses can only be recovered at the end of the lawsuit, whether it is through a trial, mediation or settlement negotiations between the parties. Therefore, the little girl's health insurance would have to pay for the surgery and those costs can be recovered at the end of the lawsuit.

The best thing for the family to do is keep good records of the medical expenses they incurred for co-pays, prescriptions, etc., so they can be included as part of the damages.

More From Our PA & NJ Dog Attack/Injury Legal Library

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