If you have been bitten by a dog, familiarizing yourself with Pennsylvania’s dog bite laws is important in order to recover fair compensation for your damages. If you need help filing a claim or understanding dog bite liability or limitations, contact dog bite lawyers in Newtown at Cordisco & Saile LLC to start taking legal action so you can recover damages to which you're entitled – call 215-642-2335.
Understanding Pennsylvania's Strict Liability for Dog Bites
There are two primary ways in which states create statutes about dog bites and animal attacks. The first is what’s commonly referred to as the “one-bite” rule, and the second is a strict liability law. For the former, a dog typically is allowed one “free” bite, which means that the owner of a dog usually won’t be liable for damages a dog causes unless it is the dog’s second attack.
Strict liability, on the other hand, is the opposite. In a strict liability state, such as Pennsylvania, dog owners are usually automatically liable for any harm their dogs cause by biting or attacking people, whether it's the first bite or a subsequent bite. In such cases, dog bite victims generally do not have to establish that the dog owner was negligent or that negligence caused or contributed to the dog bite.
Exceptions to the Strict Liability Law
There are a few exceptions to the strict liability law that a dog owner may try to highlight if facing a civil lawsuit. The first exception is if the dog was provoked. In fact, Pennsylvania dog bite laws explicitly state that the dog must have caused injury without provocation. As such, if you were bitten because you provoked the dog, then the law may not be on your side.
The second exception to the strict liability law is in the case that you, the victim of a dog bite or attack, were trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time of the incident. If you were trespassing, then a dog owner’s strict liability may not be applicable. Thus, establishing that you were not trespassing is important – our dog bite attorneys in Newtown can help you establish that you were not trespassing.
Recovering Damages Following a Dog Bite
Assuming that strict liability law does apply to your case, there are two different types of compensation that you may be eligible to recover. The compensation that you can recover is dependent upon the extent of your injuries. For injuries classified as non-severe, a victim can recover damages for the cost of medical expenses. Section 459-502 of Pennsylvania’s Dangerous Dog Code reads that “any cost to the victim for medical treatment resulting from an attacking or biting dog must be paid fully by the owner of such dog.”
For injuries classified as severe – or those that cause permanent impairment or disfigurement – a dog bite victim can recover medical expenses and damages for all other losses and legal damages.
Speak with an Animal Attack Lawyer Today
In Pennsylvania, your time limit for filing a claim for damages is two years from the time that the dog bite or dog attack occurred. If you want to recover compensation for your dog bite injury, meet dog bite lawyers in Newtown as soon as possible. The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC, can help prove that a dog attacked you without provocation and without you having committed any illegal actions, such as trespassing. If you need help building a case today, call our offices now at 215-642-2335 or use the form located on our contact page.