If you have been bitten by a dog in Pittsburgh or its surrounding areas, there are many dog bite statutes in Pennsylvania that you should be aware of before filing a claim. Read this article to learn about the various laws regarding these types of personal injury claims, and then give our office a call to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced Pittsburgh dog bite lawyers.
Dog Bite Statutes in Pennsylvania | Deadline to File a Claim
In Pennsylvania, an adult victim of a dog attack generally has a 2-year statute of limitations in which to pursue their case. A statute of limitations is simply a filing deadline. If one has not reached a settlement for their injures with the liable parties, they must file a lawsuit in court within 2 years of the date of their injury, or they will be forever precluded from pursuing their case, thereby losing the opportunity to get properly compensated. The statute of limitations may be extended if the dog bite victim is under 18 years of age. It is important to retain legal representation from an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible after the incident to be sure to ascertain the correct filing deadlines to protect your cause of action.
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Dog Bites Statutes in Pennsylvania | Strict Liability
Pennsylvania dog bite laws are controlled by statute and case law. Generally speaking, the law imposes a limited strict liability upon a dog owner for a victim’s medical bills only. In other words, Pennsylvania holds a dog owner liable for the medical costs of a victim absent a showing that the owner had any prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious tendencies or propensities anytime a dog attacks or bites someone. It is important to note that, under these circumstances, the only damages a victim may recover are for their medical costs.
Dog Bite Statutes in Pennsylvania | Negligence
If the victim wishes to recover full compensation for other economic and non-economic damages and losses such as pain and suffering, permanent scarring/disfigurement, and past and future lost wages, the victim must pursue a negligence claim against the owner. In a negligence action, the victim must prove that the owner knew of the dog’s unmistakable vicious tendencies, and, that despite such knowledge, they failed to properly control the dog. What constitutes “vicious tendencies” is often a matter of fact that varies from case to case.
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Dog Bite Statues in Pennsylvania | Contact an Experienced Attorney
In addition to establishing the proper factual elements to make out a successful dog bite claim for negligence, other practical considerations frequently come into play in order for the victim to receive full monetary recovery. For example, what good is there in pursuing a case against a dog owner who has neither homeowners or rental insurance, nor any money or assets? And how can one get a recovery if the dog owner or landlord’s insurance policy excludes from coverage certain dog bite cases? Issues such as these arise in nearly every dog bite case, and if not properly dealt with, it will stand in the way of you ever receiving compensation for your injuries. We have extensive experience in navigating our clients through these and other issues to ensure that our clients successfully pursue their claim against all solvent parties who are liable for their injuries so that they may receive the maximum compensation.
Contact our office today to consult with our experienced Pittsburgh dog bite lawyers and get started on your personal injury claim.