Claims for Dog Attacks

With the increased popularity of owning aggressive dogs, such as pit bulls, dog attack claims have increased in frequency and severity. In general, Pennsylvania law requires any dog owner to keep their pet under reasonable control at ALL times. Various municipalities have enacted “leash laws” requiring the animal to be leashed whenever off of its premises.

“One-Bite” Rule Abolished

For decades, Pennsylvania adopted the “one-bite” rule. If a dog attacked a visitor at the home for the first time, the dog owner would not be liable since the dog was allowed (as strange as this sounds) to have “one free bite.”

Only after the dog had bitten someone would the owner then be civilly liable for damages to any subsequent victim of the same animal. In 1996, the Pennsylvania legislature abolished the “one-bite” rule that has substantially changed the liability for dog bite injuries.

Currently, the law holds any pet owner responsible for any attack on a visitor if the dog has at any time exhibited any vicious propensities that the owner knew or should have known about. Thus, if the animal is known to be used primarily for security or protection, it is more likely the owner would be held civilly liable for the first attack on any innocent outsider.

The first step in establishing a dog bite claim is to prove the negligence of the dog owner. Then, we determine the source of compensation for your injuries, which is usually the negligent party’s homeowner’s insurance.

If you have questions about this issue, please contact us.