Pet owners are legally responsible to ensure the safe behavior and actions of their pets. However, every year 4.5 million people are bitten and attacked by dogs. The Agency for Health Research and Quality states that 316,000 emergency room visits occur each year due to dog bites and attacks.

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Statute

According to the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that relates to dangerous dogs,  3 P.S. 459, a dog is legally considered a “dangerous dog” if the dog causes injury to a person or animal under the following circumstances:

  • The injury was caused without provocation
  • The injury was on either private or public property
  • Another animal was killed outside of the owner’s property without provocation
  • The injury was caused to a person without provocation
  • The animal was used in the commission of a crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Additionally, Pennsylvania law requires that if a dog owner fails to keep their pet confined or on a leash and the dog attacks and injures someone, the owner will be responsible for any injuries that occur. The dog does not have to be considered a “dangerous dog” for the dog owner to have liability for any injuries that are suffered.

Pennsylvania Strict Liability Dog Bite Cases

The Pennsylvania Superior Court states that a dog owner is liable for any injuries that result from a dog bite or attack, even if the owner did not know that the dog would act aggressively or had ever acted aggressively before.

Additionally, the court held that the dog owner is ultimately responsible for any and all damages caused by their dog inflicting injuries on another person or animal. These cases demonstrate a legal concept called “strict liability.”

Pennsylvania’s Dog Bite Statute of Limitations

Pennsylvania has a deadline to file a lawsuit within a state’s civil court system if you have been bitten or injured by a dog bite or attack.  The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania regarding dog bite claims is two years from the date of the dog bite or attack.  If a case is filed after that two-year deadline, Pennsylvania courts will likely dismiss it before even hearing the evidence.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been injured by a dog bite in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you may have suffered not only a serious or severe personal injury but also medical bills, lost wages even possible emotional trauma. Schedule a free initial consultation with the personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.


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