Yes, you may be able to recover damages if you were injured from a dog bite in Pennsylvania. There is a misperception due to old law that a victim can’t recover if the dog bite was the dog’s first bite. This used to be the case in Pennsylvania under the one bite rule that previously gave dog owners a “get out of jail free pass” for their dog’s first bite. This rule has since been changed and is no longer valid in Pennsylvania.
An owner can certainly be held responsible any time their dog bites someone, including the first bite. If an owner knows their dog is aggressive, they must take the proper steps to ensure that their dog doesn’t bite someone—otherwise, they can be held liable for the attack. A dog bite victim must prove that the owner of the dog knew the dog had vicious tendencies and did nothing to prevent the dog bite.
There are many factors to consider such as;
- Certain dog breeds are more likely to be aggressive.
- Consideration of safety measure the owner has taken to prevent dog bites (Think leash, muzzle, fencing, etc…)
- The dog’s demeanor
- Has the dog had a prior history of aggression?
- Proving dog owner negligence. Did the dog owner just disregard certain information about the dog’s propensities?
- Pennsylvania has a leash law. Was the dog under leash control and properly secured? Violation of the leash law can result in owner liability.
- Was the dog under reasonable control? Was there fencing? Was the fencing adequate for the size of the dog?
- Dog bite victim has options through strict liability and common law negligence.
It is important to remember, as with all legal actions, there is a statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against a dog owner for a dog bite attack. Dog bite victims must file lawsuit within 2 years of the dog bite. Victims who were minors at the time of the dog bite attack must file a lawsuits within two years of turning 18 years of age.
So what should you do if you are a victim of a dog bite? Follow these five steps;
- Report the dog bite immediately – Do not hesitate to report the dog bite as soon as it happens. Filing an official report is necessary. File a report with the police and local dog warden. Get copies of those reports. Ask local police or dog warden to assist you in seeking home owner’s insurance information.
- As with any personal injury, immediately seek medical care and get the dog bite documented. You need to seek medical care for your injuries as soon as you can because dog bites can also lead to infections. Be sure to document all medical care received and to follow your doctor’s orders.
- Take photos of the dog bite wounds.
- Get the dog owner’s information and attempt to get dog owner’s home owners insurance information.
- Call Mooney Law right away for a free consultation. Contact us at 717-200-HELP or 833-MOONEYLAW. Additionally, you can drop us an email to set up a free consultation at email@example.com.