Do You Know Pennsylvania Dog Bite Law?
Learn What to Do Next If Bitten By a Dog
Have you or a loved one been attacked by a dog that resulted in a serious dog bite? Victims should be aware of the steps they should take following a dog bite and Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations that apply.
People injured by dog bites need to know that there are deadlines called personal injury statute of limitations for Pennsylvania dog bite lawsuits in the criminal court system.
Pennsylvania dog owners are liable for all damages after a severe animal attack or if the dog had been considered dangerous in the past. As a dog bite victim, you can recover full compensation from negligent dog owners who fail to comply with Pennsylvania dog laws.
Pennsylvania law is clear, a dog owner must confine their dog in one of the following ways at all times:
- Within the confines of the owner’s premises;
- Firmly secured by means of a collar and chain or another device so that the dog cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured; or
- Under the reasonable care of some person.
If someone is attacked or bitten by a dog whose owner did not confine the dog in one of the above ways, then the dog owner should be liable for the injuries and damages caused by the dog. Even if the dog was confined in one of the above ways, the owner may still be liable depending on the facts of the case. Rankin and Gregory have handled many dog bites cases. They have worked closely with the local dog wardens to make sure the dog and its owner are dealt with to the full extent of the law.
Many people mistakenly believe that there is a “one free bite rule” in Pennsylvania. The one free bite rule suggests that the owner gets one warning before they are held responsible. This is simply not true. The dog owner is responsible for the first bite when they do not comply with the Pennsylvania dog laws.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Attack
If you or someone you know has been attacked or bitten by a dog, there are a couple of things you should do. Notify the local police or the local dog warden. This will help ensure that the dog is dealt with quickly, such as quarantining and the owner is properly identified. An investigation must be conducted. Sometimes, the local authorities do not have the time, desire, or resources to thoroughly investigate a dog bite. Rankin & Gregory are highly experienced dog bite lawyers and understand the importance of a great investigation when it comes to identifying all of the responsible parties and the particular facts surrounding the owner and the dog itself. We will find all the responsible parties. We will determine what insurance coverage or personal assets that the responsible parties have to pay for the injuries and damages caused by their negligence. While a prior attack or bite is not required before making a case against the owner, uncovering witnesses who know about prior attacks or bites greatly strengthens the value of any dog bite case.
Photographs of the injuries should be taken as soon as possible. Photographs of the initial injury are often good to show the severity of the injury. If the attack will leave a scar, photographs of the scarring should be taken at the point where the scarring is permanent to show the responsible parties and their insurance companies the extent of the lifelong reminder of the bite or attack. You can take your own photographs or Rankin & Gregory will make sure that professional photographs are taken for you.
Rankin & Gregory will conduct an investigation to determine all witnesses to the attack as well as witnesses to prior attacks involving the same dog and owner.
Landlords may also be responsible for when their tenant’s dog attacks or bites someone. This is where the investigation skills of Rankin and Gregory are very important. There are many defenses that a landlord can use to avoid responsibility in dog bite cases. The attorneys at Rankin and Gregory work hard to make sure the liable landlord cannot hide their responsibility to the injured person.
We encourage people who have been injured by a dog bite attack to reach out to our legal team and talk with our personal injury attorneys at no cost. We never pressure people to become clients, treat you with respect and compassion, and charge nothing to consult with our experienced attorneys. You’ll get our full attention and quick response throughout your case and pay no fee unless we recover money for you. Call Chad Rankin or Bill Gregory at 717.656.5000 as soon as possible after your injury occurs to ensure the highest compensation possible.