Cooper Schall & Levy discusses the dog bite laws in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws

Being the victim of a dog bite can be both a physically and emotionally traumatic experience. The injuries you can sustain due to a dog attacking you can be painful and require extensive treatment that must be sought immediately after the incident to prevent things such as infection and permanent scarring. Pennsylvania law allows for a person who has been the victim of a dog bite to bring a personal injury claim seeking compensation for his or her damages. However, there is a two-year statute of limitations on these types of claims. This means you should not wait to bring your claim to a qualified dog bite injury attorney. Once the two-year deadline has passed, you will not be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages for your injuries. 

Dog owner laws

In Pennsylvania, dog owners are required to control their animals by adequately confining and restraining the dog. If a dog has been deemed a “dangerous” animal, the law has additional requirements that the owner must observe. A dog is considered dangerous if the animal has:

  • Inflicted serious injury on a person without provocation;
  • Killed or seriously injured a domestic animal without provocation while off of the owner’s property; or
  • Been used in the commission of a crime.

If a person owns a dangerous dog, he or she must confine the dog in a suitable enclosure. The dog must not be let out of this enclosure unless muzzled and restrained by a leash that is being held by a responsible person. The dangerous dog owner must also post visible warning signs on his or her property making it clear that there is a dangerous dog on the property. Additionally, the owner must obtain a $50,000 surety bond issued by an insurance provider authorized to do business in Pennsylvania. The surety bond must be payable to any person who is injured by the dangerous dog.

Under certain circumstances, Pennsylvania law allows a person who has been seriously injured by a dog bite to recover compensation for injuries sustained by the animal’s owner. The dog owner must be found negligent or must have failed to comply with the dog laws of the state. The court will look to the specific facts and circumstances of the case to decide whether the dog owner should be held liable for compensating the dog bite victim for his or her injury. It will be important to be clear about whether or not the animal was at all provoked. If there is no evidence of provocation, the court is more likely to find the owner liable. Furthermore, the visitor status of the victim and the location where the attack occurred will be relevant. If the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s private property, the court may weigh this against finding the owner liable.

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Attorneys

A dog bite is a serious matter. The personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy fight for dog bite victims to help see that they are properly compensated for the damages they have suffered. Contact us today.