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Philadelphia, PA: Johnny Cochran Lawyer

Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyer

The role of a Philadelphia dog bite lawyer is often an emotionally charged one. Americans love their family pets, and no one wants their dog to be at the center of a legal dispute. However, aggressive dogs can be extremely dangerous, and bite victims deserve to be compensated for the injuries they sustain.

A dog bite attorney can help you to understand your rights and to seek an appropriate resolution if you’ve been the victim of an attack like this.

How a Philadelphia Dog Bite Lawyer From the Cochran Firm Can Help You

Dog owners have a responsibility to keep the public safe from the potentially dangerous instincts of their pets. If a particular owner fails to uphold this duty and allows their dog to bite you and cause injuries, a dog bite attorney can help you pursue compensation for the incident.

Regardless of how straightforward your case may seem, pursuing a lawsuit without the help of a dog bite lawyer is generally a bad idea. The legal process can be highly complex, and defense attorneys have plenty of strategies they can use to defeat or devalue seemingly straightforward claims. A capable legal representative will make sure your case doesn’t fall through because of an easily preventable issue.

To learn more about how a dog bite lawyer in Philadelphia can help you, reach out to us for a free initial consultation. Remember, we only charge fees as a percentage of successful lawsuit settlements or verdicts, so you don’t have to worry about being left out of pocket by pursuing a case.

What Is the “One Bite” Rule?

There is a degree of confusion around whether a “one bite” rule exists in Pennsylvania; that is, whether a dog is effectively allowed one free bite before it causes its owner to face liability.

This is not the case, although it can play out like this in some instances. Pennsylvania law states that a dog owner should be liable for an attack if they should reasonably have been able to foresee that an attack would occur. So, if the dog had an observed history of aggressive behavior leading up to a bite, a court may rule that the owner is liable on the occasion of the first such incident.

Defenses Against Dog Bite Claims

Every dog bite case is different, and courts take a wide range of factors into account when deciding if a dog owner should be held liable for a bite. There are two main factors defendants can rely on to defeat these kinds of claims.


A dog owner is less likely to be held liable for an attack if the victim was unlawfully trespassing on their property at the time of the incident. Unlawful trespass refers to entering someone’s property without permission and with the intent to commit an unlawful act.

This defense often hinges on the legal concept of “duty of care.” Generally, a property owner has a lower duty of care toward a trespasser than toward a guest or someone lawfully on the property. If the defendant in your case can prove you were trespassing at the time of the attack, the dog owner’s liability may be significantly reduced or entirely dismissed.


If you provoke a dog by doing something that is reasonably likely to upset or threaten the animal, you are less likely to succeed in a lawsuit arising from the incident. This rule also applies if you were doing something to threaten the dog’s owner at the time of the attack and the dog acted to protect the owner.

Children and Dog Bites

Because of their physical vulnerability and their inability to perceive risk as effectively as adults, children are at a much higher risk of serious injury or death from dog attacks.

A 2022 study on dog bites on children that occurred between 2015 and 2020 revealed a number of interesting statistics about the issue. Boys of school-going age were more likely to suffer dog bites than children in other categories, as were children who were familiar with the attacking dog and children who had a large number of dogs in their household.

Younger children were more likely to suffer bites to their face and head; dogs were more likely to target limbs in older children. Attacks that focused on the head and face were more likely to require surgical intervention.

The study concluded that, because there was a spike in dog bite cases requiring emergency department visits following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, educational intervention is key to reducing the number of these instances. This would appear to underline the importance of teaching children, particularly younger children, about the proper way to interact with dogs at home and in public.

With this in mind, there are some useful tips you should give children when it comes to their interactions with dogs.

  • Always ask for permission: Teach children to ask a dog’s owner if it’s okay to approach or pet the dog.
  • Approach slowly and calmly: Instruct kids to approach dogs slowly and quietly to avoid startling them.
  • Closed fist introduction: Show children how to extend a closed fist for the dog to sniff before attempting to pet the animal. Dogs generally find closed fists less threatening than open hands when they’re getting to know new people.
  • Avoid direct eye contact: Children should avoid making direct eye contact with unfamiliar dogs, as some dogs may interpret this as a threat.
  • No running or screaming: Make sure children understand not to run or scream around dogs, as this can excite or scare the animal, potentially leading to aggressive behavior.
  • Don’t disturb dogs that are eating or sleeping: Advise children never to approach dogs while they’re eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies, as dogs can be more protective in these situations.
  • Pet properly: Show kids the correct way to pet a dog—gently and in the direction of fur growth, usually from the head toward the tail. Avoid sensitive areas like the paws, ears, and tail.
  • Never pull or tug: Teach children not to pull a dog’s ears, tail, or fur, as this can hurt the dog and provoke a bite.
  • Learn dog body language: Teach basic signs of dog discomfort, such as growling, bared teeth, or raised fur, and tell children to slowly back away if they see these signals.
  • Stand like a tree: Instruct children that if a strange dog approaches them, they should stand still with their hands by their sides and avoid making noise until the dog leaves or help arrives.
  • Report stray dogs: Teach kids to report stray or unattended dogs to an adult immediately.
  • Adult supervision: Always supervise interactions between dogs and children, even with familiar pets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will the dog that bit me be euthanized?

Pennsylvania authorities generally do not insist that a dog be put down after biting a human in Pennsylvania. Exceptions to this general rule apply if the victim of the attack dies or if a court deems it too great a risk to public safety to leave the animal alive. A court may order that a dog be handed over to local authorities rather than left with its original owner.

How long do I have to file a dog bite lawsuit in Philadelphia?

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives you two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you allow this deadline to pass, you may lose your right to file suit in respect of the incident.

What breeds are most often involved in dog bite cases?

Dogs of every breed can be dangerous, but statistics show that some breeds are far more likely than others to bite humans. According to the World Animal Foundation, pit bulls (a class that includes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Bully, and the American Pit Bull Terrier, among others) are involved in 64% of reported dog bite cases. Other breeds with a noted tendency to bite include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers.

Does a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign impact my case?

These signs do tend to benefit defendants in dog bite cases, but they do not automatically absolve dog owners of responsibility. Courts take these signs into account alongside other relevant factors.

Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault?

Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault, as long as your degree of fault is not greater than that of the other party involved.

Getting Your Life Back on Track After a Dog Bite

A dog bite can derail your work, your emotional wellbeing, and your financial stability. In cases where dogs attack children, the outcomes are frequently much worse.

The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia will do everything possible to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your ordeal. Reach out to us today for a free consultation to discuss your options. You can reach us via our online form, or over the phone at 800-969-4400.