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When Is a Dog Owner Negligent If Their Dog Bites and Hurts Someone?

What Makes an Owner Negligent in a Dog Bite Case?

Every year, about one out of every 73 people will experience a dog bite. Around 20% of dog bites are serious enough to require medical attention at a doctor's office, an urgent care clinic or a hospital emergency room. Pennsylvania is a strict liability state for dog bite injuries, and hiring an Allentown personal injury lawyer is key to protecting your rights after experiencing a dog bite injury.

Which Dogs Bite the Most Frequently?

The most important thing to know about dog bites is that any dog can bite a person. No dog breed is immune to biting. However, some dogs are more prone to unprovoked biting than others. The dogs that cause the most bites per year:
  • Chihuahua
  • English bulldog
  • Bulldog
  • Pit bull
  • German shepherd

Which Dogs Have the Worst Bites?

While chihuahuas may bite the most frequently, they don't have the strongest bites. Dogs with the strongest bites have the most potential to cause severe injuries. The dogs with the strongest bites are:
  • Kangal: 743 pounds per square inch (psi)
  • American bandogge: 731 psi
  • Cane corso: 700 psi
You may be surprised to learn that rottweilers generate just 328 psi during an average bite. Severe dog bite injuries are those that cause deep wounds and lead to loss of mobility, permanent scarring or the need for surgery or skin grafting.

Actions Owners Should Take to Prevent Dog Bites

Most dog bites can be prevented with proper training and the owner's supervision of the dog. The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance offers advice to dog owners. They recommend:
  • Formal dog training classes
  • Following all local leash laws and ordinances
  • Fences for yards
  • Spaying or neutering dogs as early as possible
  • Extra training for dogs that show signs of aggression
  • Remaining in control of the dog at all times
If you were bitten by a dog whose owner did not follow these recommendations, your personal injury attorney may use this information as a strategy for pursuing a case against the dog's owner. For example, if you walked past a house and the resident dog left the yard through an open gate and bit you, the owner may be found negligent because they didn't secure the dog or control the dog. If the dog's owner knew that their dog was aggressive, especially if it had bitten people before, your attorney may also use this information for establishing a case against the dog's owner.

What Makes a Dog Owner Negligent?

A victim of a dog bite injury has several ways of proving that the owner was negligent and that negligence resulted in their injury. In order to prove negligence, you must show that the owner owned or sheltered the dog, the dog was vicious, the owner knew that the dog was vicious and the owner acted negligently despite knowing of the dog's viciousness. Some examples of negligence include:
  • Not using a leash when walking the dog
  • Not keeping a fence capable of containing the dog
  • Failing to seek training for the dog's aggressive behavior
  • Not controlling the dog, such as allowing it to run out of the house
In Pennsylvania, a dog that has attacked or bitten another dog or a cat, even once, can be considered vicious.

Other Types of Dog Owner Negligence

Pennsylvania's laws on dog ownership are strict. Dog owners must microchip their dogs, muzzle dogs that are prone to attacks, post their property with a notice that a dangerous dog is on the premises and confine the dog in a proper enclosure. If your attorney can show the dog owner did not meet these requirements, you may have a negligence case against them. If you're the victim of a dog bite, it's important to seek legal representation. At the Law Firm of Metzger & Kleiner, we represent clients who have experienced serious or severe dog bite injuries. To schedule a consultation with our Allentown personal injury lawyer, contact us at 215-567-6616, or fill out our online form today.

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