A dog attack can result in severe injury and even disability. Depending on the circumstances of the attack, a person bitten by a dog can potentially recover legal compensation from the animal’s owner.
Review the details about dog bite liability in Pennsylvania.
Defining a dangerous dog
State law considers a dog dangerous when it has attacked or injured someone without provocation. This label also applies to dogs that killed another animal in an unprovoked attack or that the owner used to commit a criminal offense.
A person who has a dangerous dog must register the animal with the state each year at a cost of $500 and use an appropriate enclosure, muzzle or restraint. They must post a sign indicating the presence of a dangerous dog on their property and have the animal spayed and neutered.
Understanding liability for dog bites
Regardless of whether a dog meets the dangerous designation described above, its owner remains responsible for bites that happen in public or affect guests in the home if he or she does not effectively confine or restrain the dog. The owner does not have legal liability if a dog bites a trespasser on his or her private property.
A person bitten by a dog can recover only his or her medical expenses in Pennsylvania unless he or she can establish the dog as dangerous. In this case, the plaintiff can also recover lost wages, pain and suffering, and other compensation.
Dog bite victims have two years to file a lawsuit after the injury date in Pennsylvania. Otherwise, the court can dismiss the case and the person will be unable to recover medical costs.