PA 215.576.8870 NJ 856.665.7770
Is Pennsylvania a One-Bite State?

If you’re a dog owner, or if you’re the victim of a dog bite, you might hear the phrase one-bite rule. Some people assume that the one-bite rule applies everywhere. However, that’s not true. In fact, Pennsylvania is not a one-bite state. Pennsylvania dog bite laws say that a dog owner can be legally liable the very first time that a dog bites. Our personal injury law firm attorneys at the Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices explain if Pennsylvania is a one-bite state.

Is Pennsylvania a one-bite state?

No, Pennsylvania is not a one-bite state. In Pennsylvania, a dog owner can be legally liable for damages the first time that the dog bites someone. The law presumes negligence in any circumstance where the dog bites someone, and the dog doesn’t have to have a bite history in order for negligence to occur. Pennsylvania is not a one-bite state; instead, there is a legal presumption that liability applies for the dog owner any time that a dog bite occurs.

One-bite laws in Pennsylvania

One-bite dog bite laws do not apply in Pennsylvania. The concept of the one-bite rule is that a dog owner can’t have legal liability for a dog bite if the dog has never bitten before. In other words, the dog owner gets one free bite before they owe a victim compensation for their losses. However, one-bite laws do not apply in Pennsylvania.

Instead of the one-bite laws, Pennsylvania uses a rule called negligence per se. Under negligence per se, the law presumes that the owner is negligent just because the bite occurs. In other words, the victim doesn’t even have to prove that the owner is negligent in allowing the dog to bite. The fact that the dog bite occurs is enough to place legal liability on the owner.

Defenses to dog bites

The fact that the dog has never bitten before is not a defense to a dog bite case in Pennsylvania. Not having a one-bite rule is favorable for dog bite victims because they aren’t tasked with proving something happened before that they weren’t involved in and where the owner may not be volunteering information. Instead, trespassing and provocation are the only possible defenses to dog bites.

When a person intentionally trespasses on another person’s property, the owner may have a defense. In addition, when someone intentionally provokes a dog, they do not have a legal claim if the dog bites in response. While trespass and provocation are valid defenses to a dog bite, the one-bite rule is not a defense. A dog owner cannot defend a dog bite case on the grounds that they did not know the dog had a propensity to bite.

Our dog bite personal injury law firm can help you

The personal injury attorney team at the Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices wants to help you with your dog bite case. If you’re a victim, you may deserve financial compensation. Call or message the Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices personal injury attorney team today for your consultation.



Request Your Consultation

*Information Required
Request Your Consultation

Work with an attorney and law firm you can trust

Why Hire Randy Kaplan Law Offices?


Immediate Attention

We understand how important your case is and that is why your call receives immediate attention directly from the attorney. We help you understand your options in order to make informed decisions. As a local law practice with multiple offices, we are able to offer reasonable and competitive rates.

Tens of Millions in Results Over 30 Years

In over 30+ years we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients and their families. Our drive and our commitment to our clients who are the victims of auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, work related injuries including asbestos claims has led us to have a proven track record of success.

Aggressive Representation

Our goal is always to put your best interests first. And we have been successful at it for over 30 years. How do we do it? By being aggressive when you need us to be. If you are unable to work, can't pay your bills and are facing extensive therapy or rehabilitation you need an injury lawyer to protect your rights and fight for you and your case. Remember, nobody likes an aggressive lawyer, until you need one.


We take pride in our dedication to our clients and their cases. Firm attorney Randy Kaplan has practiced law since 1982 and has personally handled THOUSANDS of cases including auto accidents, work related injuries business law and employment law. In each and every case we are dedicated to providing our clients with the type of service only a local law firm can provide.