Pennsylvania Dog Bites: What Are My Rights?
March 16, 2018
If you are a dog lover it can be tough to pass by a dog on the street and not stop and say hello. You might be inclined to pet a neighbor’s dog while on a walk and while that may seem like a harmless act, it could result in you being bitten. Worse than getting bit while petting a dog you know is getting bitten by a dog you are not petting or engaging in any way.
Unfortunately, sometimes owners lose track of their dog(s) and that is when a dog bite incident can occur. In Pennsylvania, there are plenty of laws in place when it comes to dog bites. If you have been bitten by a dog it is important to know your rights as a victim and the legal avenues available to you.
Under Pennsylvania’s dog bite statute, there are two classes of dog bite victims. Those classes are dependent on the severity of the bite and the dangerous behavior history of the dog in question. If the dog has not bitten a person before, then the first thing that will be evaluated will be the injury and whether it is “severe” or “non-severe.”
The law categorizes a “severe injury” as one that “results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.” A dog bite can be vicious and the consequences of one could be quite gruesome or severe. If you suffered a severe injury, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner for medical expenses, legal damages and for pain and suffering, which can be reflected in you not being able to continue with your daily routine as a result of your injury.
But, in order to successfully establish a dog bite claim, you must also prove that the dog in question acted without provocation. That can be difficult to establish but with the right lawyer on your side, it can be done.
Now, in the event the injury does not qualify as a severe one under Pennsylvania law, you, the dog bite victim, can still file a lawsuit. It would just be limited to reparations for the costs of medical care but cannot seek compensation for things like pain and suffering.
The other portion of Pennsylvania’s dog bite statute pertains to dogs that have bitten or injured a person in the past. If the dog has a “bite record” and bites another person, the victim has the ability to sue the owner for all losses and damages as a result of the bite. Again, the victim will have to prove an injury was sustained and there was no provocation of any kind. In addition, the victim will have to prove that the owner was aware of the dog’s history.
Contact Our Erie, Pennsylvania Dog Bite Lawyers Today
It can be difficult to prove all the necessary aspects when it comes to a dog bite claim so it is important to have experienced lawyers in your corner, helping you where you need it. Contact Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. if you have been bitten or injured by a dog and are looking for the proper justice. Fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.