Is Pennsylvania a strict liability state, or a one-bite rule state regarding Dog Bites?

dog bitesIn regard to medical costs, Pennsylvania uses strict liability law, but in regard to other damages such as time lost from work, the state does not apply strict liability. That means that the owner must pay for the victim’s medical bills without the victim needing to show negligence on the dog owner’s part.

The state allows greater damage awards if the victim can show negligence on the part of the dog owner or its keeper or pet sitter. In cases where a person can prove negligence, the victim can receive additional damages, such as lost wages, property compensation, and emotional or psychological damage.

A State College Personal Injury Lawyer Can Explain Injury Classifications

It matters if the injury falls into the category of severe or non-severe injuries. In PA, the state defines a severe injury as any that results in a physical injury that disfigures the person or breaks bones. The disfiguring bites or lacerations must require multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery. Cases with severe injuries receive larger awards than those with non-severe injuries. A person with a non-severe injury can only file a claim for medical damages. When a dog bite victim incurs a severe injury, they can file a claim for multiple types of damage, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Pain
  • Lost wages
  • Mental anguish.

When you get bitten by a dog, go directly to the doctor or emergency room (ER). Quick, timely treatment matters as well as the documentation for it. You should have someone in the ER take photos of your dog bite before it gets debrided and after it is stitched up. Bring these photos with you to visit Engle Kauffman & VanHorn, State College Personal Injury Lawyers.

We are the personal injury law firm in State College Pennsylvania that you can trust. Contact us to learn what protections the state provides for victims in the “Dog Law,” also known as Pennsylvania Statute Title 3 P.S. Agriculture Section 459-101. It addresses dog bites in general, how dogs should be detained and isolated, and includes provisions for dangerous dogs, including establishing the state’s dangerous dog registry and rules for its promulgation.

State College Personal Injury Attorneys Help You Find Justice

Sometimes the dog owner did nothing wrong. We can help you argue that, too, if you own the dog. Dog owners have two main forms of defense. First, the owner may avoid strict liability if they can show the victim provoked the dog. You might have a video from a doorbell cam or other security camera that shows the victim baiting or provoking the dog.

Second, the owner may avoid liability if the victim received the bite while willfully trespassing on your property when bitten. A burglar, for example, would be guilty of willful trespass. Other examples include a vandal or peeping tom. You need to discuss these matters with a personal injury State College attorney who can help you understand if the situation applies to you. These two matters are best addressed by meeting with an attorney. Call Engle Kauffman & VanHorn, the personal injury State College Pennsylvania attorneys you can trust.

The state imposes a statute of limitations on all PA personal injury cases, which include dog bite claims. You have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit. The quicker you file your lawsuit, the better chance you have of success.

If you have been bitten by a dog, do not delay. Call Engle Kauffman & VanHorn today. We can help you file your lawsuit or insurance claim and navigate the legal system, so you can obtain the settlement you deserve.