Scranton Dog Bite Attorney

Reckless pet owners allow their animals to run loose without a leash, don’t keep up with routine health care and vaccinations, and often fail to train their pets to interact with humans and other animals. In cases such as these, the dog is more prone to biting a person or animal because it was poorly trained.

Dog Bite Liability in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

In some states, dog bites fall under an area of personal injury law referred to as “strict liability.” This is a legal concept that says that a person can be held accountable for their dogs actions, even if they didn’t intend for anything to happen. In these states, victims of dog bites are free to pursue personal injury claims, even if an owner didn’t know his dog was dangerous.

In Pennsylvania, the law works a little differently. Pennsylvania is referred to as a “one-bite” state, which means owners essentially get a free pass the first time their dog bites someone. Exceptions to the one-bite clause are “severe injuries” or an attack without provocation.

Pennsylvania’s One-Bite Statute

While owners are responsible for their dog’s actions, you still must file a personal injury claim in accordance with Pennsylvania’s dog bite statutes. In other words, you must provide sufficient evidence that:

  • You were injured by a dog, either directly or indirectly. For example, dog bite statutes also cover injuries such as being knocked over by a dog, or being so frightened by an animal that you fell and injured yourself. While you don’t have to prove that an animal made direct contact with you, you also can’t pursue a claim for being “almost bitten” by a dog.
  • The pet was involved, either in a direct or indirect capacity. This generally requires eyewitness testimony and medical records detailing bite wounds.
  • You must file a claim against the dog’s owner. For example, you can’t sue a landowner if a stray wandered onto their property.
  • You didn’t provoke the attack, and you had a legal right to be in the area of the animal attack.
  • The owner had knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.

Exceptions to Strict Liability Rules

Owners are responsible for their pet’s actions, but there are exceptions in which you cannot pursue a dog bite claim. Examples include:

  • Trespassing – You have no legal right to sue if you didn’t have a legal right to be on the premises.
  • Criminal offenses – If you were in the process of committing a crime on someone else’s property, you have no legal grounds for a suit.
  • Provoking the animal – An owner may not be liable for a dog’s aggressive behavior if other witnesses say you appeared to be provoking the animal.
  • The dog has no history of violent tendencies, and your injuries are not considered “severe.”

If you’re unsure if your injuries are considered “severe” under Pennsylvania law, consult with a personal injury attorney.

Next Steps: Connecting With a Wilkes-Barre Dog Bite Attorney

Dog bites can range in severity from minor annoyances to severe injuries that require extensive therapy. Even minor injuries may create other consequences, such as emotional trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you’ve been injured by a dog or other animal, contact the law offices of Rosenbaum & Associates. We’ll review the specifics of your case and help you decide on your next steps. If we believe we have a case for negligence, we’ll accept your case on a contingency fee basis. We’re committed to helping Wilkes-Barre area residents overcome their injuries, and want to do the same for you. Contact us for your free initial consultation.