Dog Bites • Dog Attacks • Pit Bull Attacks • Dangerous Dogs • Vicious Dogs
Being bitten, mauled or attacked by a pit bull or any other dangerous dog can cause lifelong disfigurement. If the dog was unprovoked, dog walkers and owners are generally liable under Pennsylvania or New Jersey laws, but there are some important differences.
A dog owner is typically covered for these claims by their home owner's insurance policy. Dog walkers, breeders, pet stores, and public agencies and departments also have coverage for these claims.
A child who has been attacked may be entitled to file a claim years after the incident. For example, your parents may have been reluctant to submit a claim involving their neighbor. When you become an adult, as defined by the law of your State, you may have an additional two years to file a lawsuit. Because exceptions exist, for example, with claims involving the government, it is important to consult a lawyer to see if you can still pursue a claim.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey dog laws have some important differences.
In New Jersey, the dog owner is strictly liable. You do not have to prove that the dog attacked before, or was known to be vicious. In Pennsylvania, the dog owner is strictly liable if the dog attacked or engaged in dangerous behavior before. In Pennsylvania, the dog owner will also be held strictly liable for the dog's first attack if the victim's injuries are severe, as defined as any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.
The Pennsylvania dog owner is strictly liable for medical bills even if the injuries are not severe, and even if the dog never attacked before. In all other cases, a victim can still recover if the dog owner or person controlling the dog acted negligently or if they violated one of the dog laws.
The New Jersey dog owner is strictly liable for all damages sustained by a dog bite victim. The victim does not need to establish that his injuries are severe, or that the dog had a history of bad behavior, or was known to be vicious. The owner of any dog is usually liable if you are lawfully on his property or in a public place. Exceptions exist for trespassers and for individuals who taunt or provoke a dog.
The Swain Law Firm can evaluate your case or any injury involving your child.