dog bite injury

Many people in New York may have had the experience of being bitten by a dog and lived to tell the tale. Yet, it is important to remember that dog bite wounds can be quite serious and lead to infections that if left untreated, may result in traumatic complications.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the bites of dogs such as pit bulls, German shepherds, Rottweilers, and huskies are responsible for a significant number of human fatalities. New York has stringent laws regarding dog bite injuries and if you have been hurt in such an incident, you could be eligible for damages under these laws.

How Dangerous Are Dog Bites in New York?

Dogs are generally perceived to be loyal friends of human beings. While this is certainly true, it is vital to remember that sometimes, dogs may revert to their ancient wild instincts and lash out at those who transgress into their territory. Whether it is an actual bite of the dog, or being knocked against the ground, having a dog attack you physically can be an extremely traumatic accident.

Dog attacks have been known to be especially dangerous for the elderly, young children, and persons with disabilities who may not be capable of defending themselves against the animal’s violence. Facial trauma is the biggest danger when one gets bitten by a dog, and it may result in lacerations, disfigurement, and scarring.

If a young child or an elderly person is knocked over by a dog, they may suffer a fracture, or brain and spinal cord injuries, or trauma to the neck, back, and head, too. When the dog bite causes the victim’s skin to break open, the bacteria in the dog’s mouth enter the wound and this can lead to further infectious diseases such as rabies and tetanus.

Can I Claim Damages if Bitten by a Dog That Was Known to Me?

There are quite a few instances of people being bitten by a dog they know. Even if you suffered a dog bite while you were petting a dog you knew, it is possible to bring a case against the owner of the dog. However, you need to prove that the dog had a dangerous propensity but the owner failed to give you sufficient warning of this tendency of the dog.

In cases where a tenant’s dog bites someone, the landlord may be held liable for the attack. For this, the victim must provide evidence that the landlord was aware of the dog’s presence and that it had a vicious propensity at the time when they leased their premises to the tenant.

Even in cases where the dog bite injury or attack takes place off their premises, the landlord may be held responsible if the victim can show that the landlord had knowledge of the dangers posed by the dog to people outside the property but did not take any steps to prevent such threats.

Are You Entitled to Damages if You Suffered a Dog Bite in New York?

Under New York’s Section 121, the person who is the custodian of or owns a “dangerous dog” is responsible for any damage caused by the dog to people, livestock, or companion animals. 

The term “dangerous dog” refers to any dog that behaves in a manner that causes a reasonable person to believe that the dog is likely to cause serious physical injury or even death. This term is also used to describe dogs that attack or injure or kill a pet, or a farm animal, or even a person without any justification.

Exceptions to the Dangerous Dog Clause in New York

Under the New York Code, there are several exceptions to the “dangerous dog” clause. Under the following circumstances, a dog is not considered as dangerous:

  • If the dog was part of the official law enforcement agency and acting at their behest, and bit someone during the course of their duties
  • If the dog was provoked through abuse, assault or torment by a person and it responded by biting or injuring that person
  • If the dog bit someone or injured them during the act of self-protection
  • If the dog bite occurred when the dog was trying to protect its home against a trespasser on the property
  • If the dog was trying to prevent a crime on the property
  • If the dog was in pain or suffering and bit someone as a reaction to this experience
  • If the dog was protecting the owner or its own puppies against attack by an individual and bit that person or injured them in this process

Strict Liability and Negligence in Relation to Dog Bites in New York

As per New York law, injuries caused due to dog bites are considered under the two areas of strict liability and negligence. Whenever any injury, however minor it may be, is inflicted by a dog, the owner of the dog is considered to be responsible for the damage. Therefore, the law specifies that the dog owner must provide compensation for any injuries sustained by the victim of the dog bite accident in New York.

If a dog bite results in injuries that require medical treatment, the custodian or owner of the dog is held strictly liable irrespective of whether they used reasonable care in controlling the dog. However, for any other costs that are incurred in relation to a dog bite, the owner or custodian of the dog is liable only if they are shown to have failed to use reasonable care to restrain their dog or warn others about the threat of injury from their dog.

This concept also goes by the name of the “one bite” rule which indicates that when the dog’s owner knows that their dog has acted dangerously before, they must take care to protect others from danger. The victim of a dog bite injury in New York City may easily receive damages for the medical expenses they incur; however, to recover other compensation, they must prove the negligence of the dog’s owner or custodian.

Most dog bite injury settlements in New York cover the cost incurred for medical expenses or personal injury or trauma. However, dog owners or custodians will do their best to prove that they are not responsible for any further damages beyond this. Although this is often the case, with a skilled dog bite lawyer on your side, it is certainly possible to claim compensation that covers punitive damages, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and lost wages based on the specifics of your case.

Why Engaging a Dog Bite Attorney in New York Is Critical to Your Case

As already discussed, dog owners can use one of the several possible defenses to prove that their dog’s behavior does not fit into the “dangerous dog” label. Moreover, in New York, in order to prove that the defendant is guilty of a misdemeanor, it is necessary to provide evidence of the dog’s vicious propensity. Under New York laws, the only way one can do this is by showing that the dog has previously bitten someone. Merely proving general aggressive behavior is not sufficient evidence of vicious propensity.

Such provisions of the law are not easy to comply with and tend to put off many dog bite victims from pursuing damages for their injury. However, a skilled and competent dog bite lawyer will have the resources to help you build a strong case that fetches you the compensation you rightfully deserve.

As per New York’s Statute of Limitations governing dog bite cases, the victim must file a case in court within a period of three years from the date when they were injured. There is a lot of legal paperwork that must be completed in the exact manner as prescribed or you face the danger of losing out on the compensation you claim.

Meeting all these legal requirements can be quite difficult for an average individual but an experienced dog bite attorney in New York can easily perform these tasks leaving you free of anxiety, so that you may focus on recovering your health. A skilled dog bite injury lawyer will be well-versed with the local laws that may apply and will consider all legal aspects to hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries and maximize your rightful damages.

Legal Help from an Experienced New York Dog Bite Attorney

Being bitten by a dog can lead to significant trauma and suffering. Besides the physical pain of the injury, the victim also experiences emotional pain and scarring that can interfere with the quality of their life. Whether you have been bitten by a known dog that you were petting or an unknown dog that acted in a vicious manner without provocation, it is important you affirm your rights to compensation for the pain and suffering you have undergone.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our dog bite lawyers have several decades of experience in handling dog bite cases in a manner that fetches the greatest compensation for our clients. To know more about how we can work together to get you the damages to which you are legally entitled, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.


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