Dog Bite Lawyer | Long Island, Nassau & Suffolk
For many of us, our dogs are our best friends and members of the family. However, just like us, our dogs can become unexpectedly aggressive, especially if they are not treated correctly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 4 million dog bites happen in the United States every year. In 2018, over 38 people died from dog bite injuries. Dogs are more likely to bite when they are scared, stressed, or in danger. Sadly, children are some of the most common targets for vicious dog bites and are more vulnerable to serious injuries and death.
Often these attacks are unprompted and are particularly damaging to children, the elderly, and people with physical limitations because they are unable to protect themselves. In the state of New York, all dog owners are liable for the full cost of medical bills sustained as the result of a dog attack. In addition, if a dog is found to be a “dangerous dog” its owners can be find liable for damages caused by pain and suffering or lost wages.
New York Dog Owner Liability
In New York, dog owners have an absolute liability for all medical bills that are sustained from dog attacks. Dog owners additionally can be liable for damages such as pain and suffering, lost time from work, and other damages if the dog is considered to be a “dangerous dog.”
A “dangerous dog” is defined by New York statutes as a dog which:
- Without justification attacks a person, companion animal, farm animal, or domestic animal, and causes physical injury or death.
- Behaves in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to one or more persons, companion animals, farm animals or domestic animals.
- Without justification attacks a service dog, guide dog or hearing dog and causes physical injury or death.
In representing the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, we will want to learn as much as we can about any dangerous propensities of the dog, such as whether the dog has ever bitten or attacked anyone before, and whether neighbors were in fear of the dog attacking them.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries ranged from minor cuts to scarring and disfigurement. Many factors come into play regarding dog bites. A dog may simply snarl and snap at the victim. In other cases, a dog will bite the victim with its powerful jaws while trying to inflict as much damage as possible. In other cases, a dog will knock a victim on the ground by jumping on them, putting them at risk for a head injury or broken bone.
Children do not know how to get away from dogs or how to defend themselves. Their small size puts them at a greater risk of suffering life-altering, catastrophic facial trauma from dog bites. Likewise, elderly individuals are often more at risk of being knocked over and experiencing a hip fracture or trauma to their head, neck, and back.
For elderly individuals, recovering from a hip fracture can take well over a year. Many victims never recover the full use of their hip and could require assisted walking devices. Disabled individuals and immunocompromised individuals are also at a greater risk of suffering severe injuries from a dog bite. Other types of injuries caused by dog bites include the following:
- Serious lacerations
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Infection, including the risk of Contracting rabies
- Broken bones
- Facial trauma
- Amputated digits
- Paralysis and nerve damage
- Fall injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Filing a Dog Bite Claim in New York
New York’s laws regarding Dog bites are somewhat complex. Some states use a “one bite rule,” while others use a “strict liability” rule. The state of New York uses a combination of these two legal theories. When the dog owner was not aware that the dog was dangerous, the dog bite victim can recover compensation for medical expenses related to the attack. However, suppose the dog owner was aware that the dog was dangerous and could injure someone. In that case, the victim can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, disabilities, and pain and suffering.
To recover both types of damages in a dog bite claim, the victim must prove that the dog had a “vicious propensity,” meaning the dog had a history of violence. For example, suppose a dog had bitten a child in the past and then bit another child. The first attack would fulfill the vicious propensity requirements.
Proving the Dog Had a Vicious Propensity for Violence
Dog bite victims who wish to recover the full spectrum of damages, including damages for pain and suffering, must prove that the dog had a vicious propensity for violence when it bit them. Under New York law, a dog is considered to have a vicious propensity for violence if:
- It attacks and injures or kills a person or animal, and
- Behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.
Proving that a dog has a vicious propensity requires an in-depth investigation into the background of the dog. At Harrison Law Group, we have the resources and network necessary to investigate the dog’s background fully. We will investigate records from the New York City Department of Health to determine whether the dog has bitten anyone before.
We may also interview people familiar with the dog in depositions to ask them whether their dog has ever snapped at strangers or lunch at strangers without provocation. Additionally, if the victim tried to provoke the dog in any way, the victim will not claim that the dog was dangerous. Proving that a dog had a vicious propensity is not always easy, which is why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.
Contact a Long Island Dog Bite Lawyer
In New York, dog bite victims only have three years to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. If you do not file your lawsuit within that time frame, you will lose your right to recover compensation for your injury. Consulting a lawyer as soon as possible is an essential aspect of protecting your claim. We understand the pain and trauma dog bite victims endure. That is why we fight so hard to help dog bite victims recover the compensation they deserve to pay for the best treatment possible and help them regain normalcy again. Contact Harrison Law Group today to schedule your free case evaluation to discuss how we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
How We Can Help
There is no place in our cities and residential areas for vicious dogs prone to unprovoked attacks on the innocent. Owners of vicious dogs must be held to account for the damages and injuries to the full extent of the law. This is the only way that the owners of dangerous dogs will change their behavior.
In addition to seeking to prove that a dog is a “dangerous dog” under New York law, we will also want to prove to a jury the full scope of injuries and damages that you sustained, including past and future pain and suffering.
Please Call Us for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation
Upon learning about your case, the team at our Long Island personal injury law firm can explain your right to seek legal recovery against the dog owner responsible for your injuries. We represent dog bite victims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there is no fee for us unless and until we successfully obtain compensation for you.
Providing Pragmatic Legal Advice
While dog bites can often be dismissed as an injury that is not big deal because it’s just the result of a dog playing our team understands that dog attacks are a very serious issue that needs to be dealt with accordingly. We pride ourselves on being Long Island’s proven personal injury law firm, and we want to make sure that if you’ve been attacked by a dog that you receive full compensation for your injuries and suffering.
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