When a dog bites someone, the injured dog bite victim can usually collect compensation from the owner or their homeowner’s insurance for the damages. Liability, however, falls under the state’s laws and not all states are as accommodating to injured parties as others. However, in most cases, if you have been bitten and can prove the fundamentals of an injury claim, you could receive compensation for your dog bite or attack scenario.
What You Must Prove
Regardless of what state you are in, there are certain fundamentals required to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner or the owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. These requirements include:
- Show that the dog that bit you has bitten before or has had a history of aggressive behavior. Also, prove that the owner was aware of this history.
- Show that the dog that bit you was outside of the boundaries of their residence and not on a leash or was in violation of the leash laws.
- Show that the owner did something negligently or even maliciously.
The owner of the dog could be liable for your injuries if you are able to prove the fundamentals of a dog bite injury claim.
The One Bite Rule
Some states use the one bite rule in dog bite cases. This means that the dog in question is allowed one free bite, and if you are the first, you cannot recover. Pennsylvania no longer follows this rule. Now, even if you are the dog’s very first victim, you can recover compensation. That said, if the dog has bit in the past, it is easier to prove owner liability.
Assessing Pennsylvania’s Dog Bite Laws
Every state is different, which is why it is important to understand the rules in your state. Pennsylvania has strict rules regarding ownership of dogs and how dog bites or attacks are handled. Just some of those laws include:
- The owner must control their dog at all times using a leash or some sort of fence to secure them on their property. When a property owner fails to secure the dog, they could be liable for any injuries caused.
- A dog that is endangering others can be shot or killed. If someone has been attacked by a vicious dog, that dog can also be registered as “dangerous.”
- The dangerous dog must be insured and contained. If a dog has bitten someone in the past and they are registered as dangerous, they must carry an insurance surety bond of $50,000 and the dog must be enclosed or muzzled and restrained to prevent any injuries to the public.
- If someone is trespassing and injured by a dog, they cannot file a claim against the owner.
- A landlord can be held liable for a dog bite injury as well – only if they know the tenant had a dangerous dog and did nothing to make the tenant remove the dog from the premises.
- Dog owners can be held liable for damages caused by their own negligence. For example, the owner will be required to pay your pain and suffering, medical bills and future medical costs (for example, scar revision surgery), as well as lost wages when they knew the animal was likely to bite someone but did nothing to stop it.
- If a “dangerous” dog has attacked again, the owner could be held criminally and civilly liable for the injury. It is a second degree misdemeanor to allow a “dangerous” dog to attack again.
Have You Been Bitten? Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Pennsylvania
Every state is different in how they handle dog bite cases. If you or a loved one was attacked by a vicious dog, you will need to speak with an attorney to explore your options. Contact attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today. He can assist you with your injury case. Contact him on his cellphone directly at 215-771-0430, or at his office 215-987-3550 or toll-free 1-800-Injury-Law, or fill out an online contact form with your dog bite questions and a free consultation.