Does dog breed affect liability?

Categorized: Personal Injury

Does dog breed affect liability?

Many people think that, based on the speculation that some dog breeds are more dangerous than others, dog breed affects liability when filing a dog bite injury claim. However, this is not true; any dog of any breed may bite a human. Further, it does not matter what breed the dog is in terms of the law – if a dog bites a person, the victim can hold the owner held liable under state dog bite laws.

Dog Bite Liability in Pennsylvania & New Jersey

New Jersey dog bite laws operate under the theory of strict liability, which means that victims can hold the owner of any dog that bites or attacks liable for damages, regardless of whether or not the owner knew of the dog’s viciousness. Under Pennsylvania dog bite law, the same is true when it comes to medical bills – victims can hold the owner liable for her medical expenses.

Both states also allow negligence-based actions, which allow for the victim to seek compensation for other damages (not just medical expenses) in the event that the dog owner acted negligently. An example of negligence would be failure to restrain a dog that the owner knew had a propensity towards vicious behavior.

Will I have to prove that the dog was dangerous?

If you file a claim based on strict liability, then no – you will not have to prove that the dog was dangerous or that the owner knew or should have known this. If you file a negligence-based claim, however, then yes – you will need to prove that:

  • The dog had formerly attacked a person or animal or demonstrated vicious behavior
  • The owner knew of this and failed to take action to prevent future attacks

Again, the breed of the dog does not matter; victims can hold an owner whether the dog is a golden retriever or a pit bull.

How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help You

A dog bite lawyer can help you explore the difference between strict liability and negligence, statutory law and common law. Further, a lawyer can explain in more depth why dog breed does not matter, and why you may be entitled to damages regardless of the dog’s breed or nature.

To learn more about how to file a dog bite claim in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact the team at Cordisco & Saile LLC. You can reach our offices now to schedule your free case consultation by dialing 215-791-8911.

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