Pittston Dog Bite Lawyer
In Pennsylvania, a person who is attacked by a dog is often able to hold the animal’s owner liable for damages compensating him or her for related losses, including the cost of treatment. However, before a plaintiff can succeed in this type of claim, he or she may need to provide evidence of the severity of the bite and may also need to defend him or herself against allegations of provocation or trespassing. An experienced Pittston dog bite lawyer can play a crucial role in helping plaintiffs meet these burdens, so if you were recently injured by someone else’s animal, it is important to contact an attorney who can advise you.
Pennsylvania’s Dog Leash Law
Under Pennsylvania law, dog owners are required to confine and control their animals in public areas, so when a dog bites another person while not on a leash, the owner could be held liable for damages. However, before awarding compensating to a dog bite victim, a court will determine whether a dog bite qualifies as severe or non-severe and whether the dog has a history of violence.
Severity of the Injury
If a dog has never attacked anyone before, a judge will need to assess the severity of the injury in question. Under state law, any injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations that require multiple stitches or cosmetic surgery will qualify as a severe bite. In fact, an injury can qualify as severe even if it was not the result of a bite. If, for example, a large dog knocked a person over, as a result of which he or she suffered a head injury, the pet owner can still be held liable for damages. Plaintiffs whose injuries fall under these categories are eligible to file a claim for reimbursement of medical costs, as well as legal expenses and pain and suffering. Non-severe injuries are also compensable, but plaintiffs will only be allowed to ask for reimbursement for the medical costs associated with the incident.
Dog Bite Defenses
Dog bite victims should know that an animal’s owners can avoid liability even if their dog did harm another person if there is evidence that:
- The victim provoked the animal prior to the attack; or
- The victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the bite.
It’s also important to note that dog bite victims only have a certain amount of time to file a claim against the animal’s owner that attacked them. Known as a statute of limitations, the deadline for filing a dog bite claim in Pennsylvania is two years, so if a plaintiff fails to file a claim against the at-fault party within two years after the attack, his or her claim will almost always be dismissed by the court.
An Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
For help filing your own Pennsylvania dog bite claim, please contact one of the dedicated dog bite attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices by calling 570-821-5717 or by sending us an online message today.