Anytime a person sustains a dog bite injury, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. In Pennsylvania, anytime a dog bites an individual, the dog’s owner will typically have to pay all of the victim’s medical expenses. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but most dog bite incidents fall under this strict liability statute. However, can a landlord be held responsible if their tenant’s dog bites and injures someone else? Here, we want to look at landlord liability after a dog bite occurs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Dog Bite Laws in Pennsylvania
Most states across this country use some sort of “strict liability” statute that holds a dog owner responsible for most dog bite injuries, even if the dog did not have a history of aggression or has never bitten anybody before.
Pennsylvania operates under an altered version of this type of law. In the Commonwealth, anytime a dog bites or attacks an individual, the dog’s owner has to pay all of the injury victim’s medical costs. However, the law does not require the dog’s owner to pay for other damages, such as lost income for pain and suffering.
But does this Pennsylvania dog bite law apply to landlords?
In general, liability for a dog bite will fall squarely to the owner of the dog. If a tenant owns a dog that then causes harm to someone else, it will be the tenant’s responsibility to pay for the medical expenses of the bite victim.
However, there may be some instances where a landlord could be held responsible for a tenant’s dog attack. In general, the courts may allow a claim against a landlord if:
- The landlord knew that there was a dangerous dog on the property and failed to take steps to remove it.
- The landlord specifically cared for the dog or had control over the dog when the bite occurred.
- The landlord allowed a dog that had been deemed “dangerous” onto the property.
In the event you or somebody you care about has been injured as a result of a dog bite and believes that the landlord of the property should be held responsible, you may have to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the landlord. In general, we will find that the liability coverage of the landlord’s homeowner’s insurance will cover this type of loss.
Do You Need a Dog Bite Attorney?
If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, you may need to speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. The reality is that recovering compensation can be challenging, particularly if there are multiple liable parties involved. Dog bite victims should be able to recover compensation for their medical bills from the dog’s owner, but if the landlord was responsible, the victim may be able to recover additional compensation, including coverage of their pain and suffering damages and lost wages if they cannot work.
A skilled attorney can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident and uncover any evidence needed to show which parties should be held liable. An attorney will vigorously negotiate with the insurance carriers involved in these situations and work diligently to recover maximum compensation on behalf of their client.