What to Know about Dog Bite Claims in Northeastern Pennsylvania
A Pennsylvania dog owner or keeper is required to maintain reasonable control over his animal at all times. Some owners feel their dogs are friendly, and there is no need to keep them properly restrained. However, even the most well-mannered dog can bite someone. Dog bite injuries can be severe, and some victims are left with significant permanent scarring. If someone else’s dog has injured you or someone you love, you should speak with an experienced Northeastern Pennsylvania dog bite attorney.
Pennsylvania’s Dangerous Dog Statute
Under Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog statute, any dog that is considered to be dangerous has to be registered, insured, and contained. The owner also needs to post clearly visible “dangerous dogs” signs where the dog is kept on the property. If they do not abide by the Pennsylvania laws, they can be fined and be liable to pay a dog bite victim for their damages.
Pennsylvania defines a dangerous dog as one who has done one or more of the following:
- A dog attacked someone without any provocation;
- A dog that inflicted severe injuries to someone without any provocation;
- A dog that inflicted severe injuries or killed another domestic animal without any provocation while away from the owner’s property; or
- A dog that was used in the commission of a crime.
In this case, severe injuries are defined as any physical injury resulting in disfiguring lacerations or broken bones that require multiple stitches or cosmetic surgery.
Under the law, a dangerous dog is also one that has one or both of these:
- A history of attacking domestic animals and/or people without any provocation; or
- A propensity to attack domestic animals and/or people without any provocation.
The law defines propensity to attack as the ability to prove any of the bullet points in the first section.
Who is Liable for Your Injuries After a Dog Bite?
You may recover damages, including past, present and future medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning capacity, pain-and-suffering, and disfigurement if you are bitten and the dog is considered a “Dangerous Dog” under the Pennsylvania Dog Law or if you can show that the dog exhibited “vicious propensities” prior to the time the dog attacked you. “Vicious propensities,” includes barking, snapping at, chasing or biting an individual or domestic animal prior to the time the dog attacked you.
Dog owners will try to prove you provoked the dog because they won’t be liable for all of your damages. Other possible defenses that dog owners might use include that they had their dog restrained, but it escaped. They might claim you were trespassing on their property when the attack occurred.
Contact a Northeastern Pennsylvania Dog Bite Lawyer
Pennsylvania has a deadline on how long you have to file a lawsuit for injuries related to a dog bite. In most cases, victims only have two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit. There may be some exceptions, which is why you need to retain an attorney right away. If you need assistance recovering compensation related to an unprovoked dog bite, contact the experienced Northeastern Pennsylvania dog bite lawyers at Needle Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation.