According to the laws of Pennsylvania concerning dog bites, animal owners are liable for any injuries caused by their pets. The law states that dog owners, landlords, and those who keep dogs have a duty to prevent their dogs’ aggressive behavior from causing harm to others.
If a dog attacks an individual, the victim, the state dog warden, or a police officer can file a complaint with a magisterial district justice. In addition, the dog owner can be charged with a dog attack. Dog owners may also be legally liable for any medical costs, property damage, or other losses incurred by the victim.
Dog bites can lead to fatal wounds, bruising, permanent scarring, disfigurement, and broken bones. If you have been the victim of a malicious dog attack, filing a dog bite claim may help you seek compensation for your damages. It is important to make sure you have all the necessary documents and evidence in order to prove your case.
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Confinement Of Dog Statutes
Pennsylvania’s dog law requires caretakers and dog owners to have control of their dogs at all times. Moreover, dog owners need to confine their dogs to the premises. They must restrain their dogs with a chain, collar, or another device to prevent them from straying.
Some victims can choose to open a dog bite case citing the negligence of the dog owner. Negligent behavior may violate Pennsylvania’s confinement statute or other laws regarding dog bites.
Children make up more than 50% of dog bite victims. And while only 12% of adults end up needing medical treatment for a dog bite, 26% of children must see a healthcare professional or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
Children are simply more vulnerable to getting bitten. Kids may not know that a dog is aggressive or should be avoided. Further, they are smaller than adults and are unlikely to be able to protect themselves against a large aggressive dog.
Does the one-bite rule prevail in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania does not have a one-bite law. Rather, it follows a strict liability law. According to this, dog owners are held liable for nearly any type of damage caused by the dog. This applies whether the owner knew the dog was dangerous or not. In some cases, the owner may be liable even if every possible measure was taken to prevent a bite from occurring.
However, there are a few exceptions to dog bite liability laws. For example, an owner is not usually liable if the dog bites a trespasser, a veterinarian who was treating the animal, or someone who provoked the dog to attack.
Common injuries in dog bite cases
Dog bites can happen for many different reasons but are sometimes severe owing to the aggressive nature of dogs. Potentially severe injuries that may even be fatal include:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Head Injuries
- Neck injuries
- Face injuries
Victims can also sustain injuries while running from dogs. Every dog bite case is different. Therefore, it is important for individuals to stay away from dogs they don’t know well and take precautionary measures to prevent bites.
Common defenses in dog bite lawsuits
If a plaintiff is responsible for provoking a dog, the dog owner may not be liable for damages. A dog owner may argue that the dog bite victim is at fault for threatening or scaring their dog. If the victim shares fault for a bite, their potential compensation may be reduced.
Victims can file dog bite lawsuits for sustaining injuries. However, dog owners can also present their defense in court. In some cases, dog owners even have an enclosure or proper fence to keep others safe from the dog, but the dog manages to escape.
One fairly common defense is that a plaintiff was attempting to trespass on their property. In cases where the plaintiff enters the premises without the permission of the dog owner, they owe no duty of care to the trespasser.
Dog ownership laws in Pennsylvania
According to PA dog bite laws, all dogs 3 months or older must be licensed in their county of residence. It’s unlawful for dog owners to allow their dogs to run outside; the dog must be under the control of the owner. Dogs are considered personal property and so dog owners are responsible for any damage their dog causes except for the stated exceptions.
What happens in dangerous dog bite liability insurance?
Some dogs can become dangerous if they are aggressive by nature, scared, or trained to behave aggressively. Other dogs might even cause harm to another that is completely unintentional. Dog bite liability insurance protects an individual from financial burden if their dog bites someone, injures someone, or causes any property damage.
Ultimately, if a dog bites someone on your property, then there’s a good chance you will be held responsible. This is why dog bite liability insurance is important for certain dog owners.
Understanding dog bite liability laws
According to dog bite liability laws, dog owners are automatically responsible for property damage or injuries their dog caused. Dog bite injuries vary widely, but bites can cause neck injuries, hand injuries, leg injuries, broken bones, puncture wounds, and even be fatal.
Does personal liability cover dog bites?
Personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage on homeowners insurance policy may be responsible for dog bite liability insurance. This insurance covers legal expenses, injuries, and hospital bills from a bite. However, not every home insurer will include dog bite coverage.
What exceptions exist for dog bite laws in PA?
There are some exceptions to the strict liability dog bite statute in Pennsylvania. A victim may not be able to pursue compensation if:
- They intentionally provoked the dog
- They startled the dog in its sleep
- They took away the dog’s food or toys
- They abused the dog
- They were trespassing at the time of the dog bite
Are you dealing with injuries from a dog bite? If so, you can schedule a free consultation with a dog bite injury lawyer by completing our contact or calling us at (215)-464-4600. We look forward to helping you!