Are you or a loved one struggling with medical bills after a dog bite injury? Under Pennsylvania law, you may be able to recover your cost from the dog’s owner. Several state laws influence dog bite liability and available financial compensation.
Read on to learn more about how to pursue legal action after a dog bite and whether you have a viable case.
Statute of limitations
In Pennsylvania, dog bite laws follow the same time limits as other types of personal injury cases. You must file your complaint within two years of the bite incident or the court will dismiss your case.
Dangerous dog laws
The state categorizes certain animals as “dangerous dogs” in the presence of one or more of these factors:
- The dog has injured someone without provocation.
- The dog has killed another domestic animal outside of the owner’s private property without provocation.
- The dog has attacked someone without provocation.
- The owner used the dog to commit a crime.
Even when the law does not consider a dog dangerous, the owner must keep the dog under reasonable control, on a leash or confined in his or her home or yard. When the owner does not confine the dog effectively, the law holds him or her legally responsible for a bite injury even in the absence of previous aggressive behavior or attacks. However, if the incident occurred because you provoked the dog and/or trespassed on the owner’s private properly, you hold sole responsibility for a bite injury.
Pennsylvania dog bite damages include only your medical expenses unless the owner acted negligently or the dog had a history of aggression. In that case, you can also seek compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering and other related costs.
After a dog bite, seek immediate medical attention. Document the circumstances that led to the bite and gather information from witnesses if possible to support your legal claim for compensation.