Dog Bites - When to File a Lawsuit

As the spring season is starting to begin, more and more pet owners will allow dogs to roam around their yards, lawns, and take them for walks. Unfortunately, many Americans are victims to pet attacks yearly. More often than not, these injuries do not tend to be life threatening or serious, but do require medical attention and potential time away from work. Here’s what to know about injuries caused from dogs or other pet animals. 

According to dogbites.org, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States and nearly 1 out of 5 bites become infected. All states have different laws for dog attacks, but in Pennsylvania, the law states that if you have been bitten by someone else’s dog the case is governed by both statutes and case law. In other words, if you have been a victim of a dog bite in the state of Pennsylvania, the owner of the animal is financially liable for the cost of all medical treatment related to the injury. 

Important Key Notes

  • In Pennsylvania, all personal lawsuits (including dog bites) must be filed within two years of the date the injury occurred
  • No proof of fault is required for the victim
  • Dog attack victims suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually

It is also important to note that Pennsylvania courts have set out rules when attempting to sue for bites and other injuries that stem from the dog owner’s negligence. The lawsuit must prove that the pet owner; 1) knew the dog had “unmistakably vicious tendencies,” and 2) failed to take reasonable steps to properly control their pet. 

If you, the victim, are considering taking the case to court in attempt to sue for monetary losses that were suffered from the attack, be weary that the dog owner may turn to arguments that consist of the following:

  • The victim provoked the dog, and the dog only bit the victim as a result of that provocation
  • The victim was trespassing or otherwise had no legal right to be in the location of the incident

Contact Us

Dog bites are inevitable as some pet owners do not keep proper supervision on their dogs. It is always important to stay wary of your surroundings and know not to enter or pass by a yard if you know a vicious dog is around that area. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a dog attack, contact our team of attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. for a free consultation today. You can reach us via phone at 570-346-2600


Sources:

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/dog-bite-laws-liability-pennsylvania.html

https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-quick-statistics.php#dogbite-statistics

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dog-bites-other-injuries