What type of compensation can I get for a dog bite?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Personal Injury |

A dog attack can be a traumatic experience, as well as a painful one. Dog bites require medical treatment, which the owner is responsible for paying in Pennsylvania. However, the victim may recover other damages apart from medical expenses if their injury is severe or if the dog has a history of attacking people.

Pennsylvania laws

In Pennsylvania, the dog owner must pay for a person’s medical expenses if their dog bit them. They must pay for their medical expenses unless the victim provoked the dog or trespassed on their property when the attack happened. Most times, owners are only responsible for paying the victim’s medical expenses. However, they may also compensate the victim for all the other damages if the injury is severe or if their dog has a history of attacking people without provocation. In that case, the victim can claim all damages, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain

A victim can recover all these damages even if it is the first time the dog attacks someone, but their injury must be severe. The law in Pennsylvania describes severe injuries as any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring wounds that require surgery or stitches.

Dangerous dog

A victim may recover all damages even if their injury is not severe. To do this, they must prove that the owner was negligent or irresponsible. An owner would be negligent if they knew that their dog was dangerous and did nothing to prevent the attack, such as adequately confining the dog. In that case, the owner may pay all damages to the victim. Additionally, they would have to pay a $500 fine for harboring an unregistered dangerous dog, a summary offense in Pennsylvania.


The amount of compensation that a person can receive for a dog bite depends on the severity of their injuries and the dog’s history of attacks. However, victims may recover compensation for their medical expenses for every bite, no matter the severity of their wounds. To get compensation, victims have to file a claim no later than 2 years after the incident. Otherwise, they may lose their right to take action. If this happened to you, you must act quickly and take your case to court to hold the owner responsible for their dog’s aggressiveness.