Louis Jay Arnold.’s Philadelphia dog bite lawyer represents people injured by dog bites and other dog attacks. Serious dog bite injuries are common in the United States. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) estimates that:
- more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in this country, and
- almost 20% of those bites require medical care
Pennsylvania’s dog bite / attack laws govern dog owner liability for dog bites and attack injuries under various situations. The circumstances of a particular dog-related injury determine whether the State’s negligence or strict liability law will apply.
Pennsylvania’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Law
Certain cases handled by a Philadelphia dog bite lawyer may be governed by Pennsylvania’s strict liability dog bite law. Under this law, if the victim of the bite or attack did not provoke the dog’s behavior, the dog owner is liable for the following injuries, even if the owner was not negligent in causing the attack:
- any bite injuries caused by the dog
- any other (non-bite) injuries caused by the dog’s attack
Money damages available to dog bite / attack victims under the strict liability law vary with the severity of the injuries. “Severe” injuries include fractures and “disfiguring lacerations” requiring multiple stitches or surgery. Victims with injuries falling into this category may recover all damages caused by the bite or attack, such as:
- medical expenses
- income and other resultant losses
- pain and suffering resulting from the bite or attack injury
Strict liability compensation for injuries not defined as severe is limited to medical expenses resulting from the injury.
Pennsylvania’s Negligence Dog Bite Law
Pennsylvania dog owners may also be liable for dog bite / attack injuries caused by their negligence. Under the State’s negligence law (also known as the “one bite law”), dog-owner negligence that may result in liability includes:
- failing to leash or contain the dog as required by local law (negligence per se)
- failing to exercise due care to prevent an attack when owner knew or had reason to know the dog might bite or attack
If a bite or attack victim can prove owner negligence under the law, the victim may recover full damages for his or her injuries, regardless of their severity. Thus, even victims with non-severe injuries may recover pain and suffering and other losses in addition to medical expenses when the owner’s negligence caused the attack. These damages are only available, however, if the victim was not trespassing and did nothing to provoke the attack.