Dog Bites

Pennsylvania Dog Bite – Do You Have a Legal Claim?

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Lawyer Tim Rayne explains whether or not you have a valid legal claim after being injured by a Dog Bite in Pennsylvania.

Relevant factors that can make or break your Dog Bite claim include the Bite History of the dog, the Circumstances of the Bite (location and provocation),  the Severity of the Injury and the Insurance Coverage or Assets of the Dog Owner.

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Claims

In Pennsylvania, Dog Owners are not automatically liable to compensate Dog Bite Victims for their injuries.  Liability to pay for Dog Bite injuries depends on whether or not the Owner was Negligent or Careless regarding the supervision of the dog. Negligence creates legal liability and responsibility to compensate Dog Bite Victims for any injuries or damages.

Dog Bite History

It’s important to know the Dog Bite History of the Dog to judge whether or not the Dog Owner should have anticipated that the dog could be dangerous and potentially bite someone.  If the dog had a prior history of attacking other dogs or people or acting aggressively, then the Dog Owner had a greater duty of care to properly supervise, confine and restrain the dog.  Conversely, if the dog had no history of being aggressive the level of care was arguably decreased.  If a dog had never shown any aggression before and bites someone out of the blue, then the Owner can argue that he/she was not Negligent.

Circumstances of the Dog Bite

Another important factor to consider in evaluating a Dog Bite Claim is the Circumstances of the Bite in terms of location and provocation.  Dog Bites that occur off of the Owner’s property are generally stronger than cases which occur on the property.  All Dog Owners have a responsibility to confine their dogs to their property and to properly restrain and leash them off of the property.  If a bite occurs on the property, then the Owner can argue that there was no duty to confine or restrain the dog.  If the bite happens off of the property because the dog escaped or was not properly leashed, then it’s likely a strong case.

In terms of provocation, if the Dog Bite victim did something to provoke the dog, then the claim might be defensible.  On the other hand, if the victim did not provoke the dog in any way and was attacked, the claim is much stronger.

So, all of the particular circumstances impact the strength of a Dog Bite case.

Severity of the Dog Bite Injury

The strength of a Dog Bite Claim also depends on the severity of the injury.  The more serious the injury, the stronger the case.  So, a minor bite to someone’s arm or leg not resulting in permanent injury or scarring is not as strong as a significant bite to someone’s face resulting in permanent and severe disfigurement.

Insurance or Assets of the Dog Owner

If a Dog Bite Victim has a strong case and a severe injury, there is still another important factor to consider when evaluating a case, namely the Insurance Coverage and/or Assets of the Dog Owner.

Proving liability of the Dog Owner and severity of an injury is only part of the evaluation of a Pennsylvania Dog Bite Claim.  It’s sad but true that, in addition to having a good case, you also need to hope that the Dog Owner has the financial ability to pay the claim which comes from either Insurance or Assets.

For homeowners who have insurance on their home, their insurance will likely cover the Dog Bite, regardless of whether the bite occurred on of off of their property.  Most homeowner policies have coverage of between $100,000 to $1 million, with the most common coverage being from $100,000 to $300,000.

If a Dog Owner doesn’t have insurance, he/she can still be sued and his/her personal assets can be pursued to pay any judgment, but it’s a long and difficult process to recover from someone’s personal assets.

So, a Dog Bite case is much stronger if there is significant insurance coverage.

For a Free Consultation regarding your Pennsylvania Dog Bite, contact Tim Rayne at 6108400124 or or check out his website  Tim Rayne has law offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania and he also meets with his clients at their homes or virtually via Zoom or FaceTime.  For over 25 years, Tim has been helping injured Dog Bite victims understand their legal rights and receive fair compensation.


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