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Dog Bites & Liability in New York: Unpacking the Law

Dog Bites & Liability in New York: Unpacking the Law

Dog bites can be a traumatic experience for both humans and pets. Unfortunately, a number of factors can make these types of accidents more likely, including poor training, a vicious dog, or a lack of supervision. At Banville Law in White Plains, NY, we represent dog bite victims and their families who have suffered severe injuries and have had to pay for their medical care and other related expenses. Our dog bite lawyers understand the financial and emotional toll a dog bite can take, and we want to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Local urgent care centers for the treatment of dog bites:

  • White Plains Urgent Care
  • CityMD White Plains Urgent Care - Westchester
  • Westmed Urgent Care | White Plains
  • Formé Medical Center And Urgent Care

What Are New York's Dog Bite Laws?

The CDC estimates that 4.7 million dog bites occur annually in the United States, with nearly 800,000 requiring medical care. New York's dog bite laws are designed to protect victims of all ages. All counties in the state of New York have a leash law, which means most dog owners must keep their pets on a leash when they are in public. If a dog bites someone, the owner is usually held liable for any injuries or medical expenses that result from the incident.

The first thing to note about New York's dog bite laws is that they impose a "strict liability" standard on the pet owner. This means that regardless of whether or not the owner was aware that their pet was dangerous or had bitten someone, they will still be responsible for damages if their animal injures another person or animal. Dog owners can also be held criminally responsible for any serious injuries caused by their dog, and could face up to a year in jail and hefty fines as a result.

What is the Difference Between Strict Liability Vs. The "One Bite" Rule?

Strict liability and the "one bite" rule are two different laws concerning animals and their owners; they refer to two ways of holding an animal's owner liable for injuries caused by their pet. The "one bite" rule is used primarily in tort law, establishing that if a pet is known to attack or harm people, the owner can be held strictly liable. Strict liability, on the other hand, holds an animal's owner liable regardless of whether or not the animal has harmed anyone in the past.

Strict Liability

In terms of strict liability, it is important to note that many states have enacted statutes creating strict liability for dog bites and/or injuries inflicted by animals. These statutes generally impose civil damages on owners whose pets injure another person or damage their property. Generally speaking, courts apply a presumption of strict liability for inherently dangerous activities (e.g., keeping a dangerous dog). In some cases, however, courts have refused to impose absolute responsibility due to factors such as provocation or contributory negligence.

The "One Bite" Rule

The "one bite" rule is based on common law principles and cites that owners must exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm. Animal owners may still be found negligent if they fail to take reasonable measures after a single incident—such as allowing repeat occurrences—that put people at risk of being harmed by their pet. Generally speaking, when an animal harms someone after the owner knew (or should have known) there was potential danger to others from their pet's behavior (such as growling near people), then they will be legally liable under the one bite rule.

When Can I Sue a Dog Owner for an Attack?

Suing a dog owner after a serious attack is an option in certain cases, but it depends on the severity of the attack and the laws in your particular area. Before you can sue a dog owner for an attack, you need to establish that their negligence was responsible for causing you harm.

Generally speaking, when filing a lawsuit against a pet owner for any type of injury, whether physical or emotional, the victim will have to prove that the pet owner knew or should have known that the animal was dangerous. Additionally, they must have been negligent in recognizing and addressing this danger.

To successfully sue a dog owner for an attack, victims must provide evidence such as photos and witness statements from those who observed the incident. It's also important to obtain medical records and bills from doctors related to any treatment required due to the attack. Court orders are also sometimes necessary when seeking money damages as part of any settlement agreements reached between parties involved in these kinds of incidents.

Do I Have To Report My Dog Bite In New York?

If you were bitten by a dog in New York, it is important all animal bites are reported to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). In 2014 along, 6,373 NY residents visited the Emergency Department, per DOHMH. Dog bites can sometimes cause serious injury and even death, so it is essential that you take immediate action and report any incidents as soon as possible.

In New York, it is required by law that all dog bite incidents must be reported within 24 hours of the event occurring. Furthermore, victims are required to provide proof of identification, including photo ID or driver's license information. The victim must then give a full report of the incident to the police, who will investigate further and determine how the dog bite occurred and its ramifications for both parties involved. It may also be necessary for the victim to visit a hospital or other medical facility for treatment and follow-up care.

What Should I do After Reporting My Dog Bite in NY?

If you've been bitten by a dog in the state of New York, it is important to report the incident to your local police department or animal control office. Doing so will ensure that any aggressive animals in your area are properly taken care of and made safe for all. But what should you do after reporting the bite?

  • The first step after reporting a dog bite in NY is to seek medical attention from a doctor or healthcare provider, no matter how minor the injury may seem. Even seemingly minor bites can result in serious infections or diseases if left untreated. It's also important to take pictures of the wound or injury to provide as evidence, if necessary.
  • Next, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. A lawyer will be able to help you understand your rights and options, and answer any questions that you may have about filing a lawsuit against the owner of the dog who bit you.
  • You should also keep track of all related expenses and records such as medical bills, lost wages, veterinary bills (if applicable), medication costs and more in order to prepare for any potential legal action pertaining to the incident. In some cases, victims may also be eligible for compensation from homeowners' insurance claims; but again, consulting with an attorney beforehand is recommended.

How Do I Know If I Qualify for Compensation?

If you have suffered a dog bite injury in New York, you may be entitled to compensation. It's important that you get the compensation you deserve for any injuries and any losses or costs. You will need to assess whether you can pursue a case against the owner of the dog who caused your injury in order to determine if you qualify for compensation.

The first step is to understand the laws related to dog bites in New York. The state has a modified form of a one-bite rule, meaning that an owner is liable if they were aware their dog had previously bitten someone or showed aggressive behavior before biting them. Additionally, some cities within New York, including Syracuse and Yonkers, have specific ordinances around animal ownership, which include holding owners responsible for pet damages regardless of previous knowledge that the animal was dangerous.

Next, it's essential to determine what damages you are eligible for after being bitten by a canine. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages from time out from work due to the bite and healing time, pain and suffering due to physical pain and emotional trauma, mental anguish, impairment or disfigurement damage claims resulting from the incident, as well as court costs or lawyer's fees that occurred over pursuing your claim.

Understanding all these qualifications can be difficult– speaking with an experienced lawyer is always the best way forward when determining how to know if someone qualifies for compensation after a dog bite in NY. Doing so will allow ensuring access to resources needed while protecting themself throughout this process.

How to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in New York?

Once a lawyer is retained, the next step is preparing a lawsuit against the owner of the dog or other animal who caused the injury. This involves gathering evidence and documentary proof of the incident itself as well as any proof of harm taken because of it. This includes pictures of bite marks, medical bills for treatment received, receipts for damage done to property and items owned by the injured party, witness statements if there were any present at the scene, etc.

How Long Do You Have to Sue for a NY Dog Bite?

In the state of New York, the law provides that if you are bitten or injured by someone else's dog, then you have three years from the time of the incident to bring your claim against the responsible person or entity. This is known as the statute of limitations for NY personal injury claims.

It can be tricky trying to calculate exactly when the statute of limitations expires because sometimes it depends on other factors, like when you discovered an injury caused by a dog bite or when legal proceedings began with regard to the incident. In these cases, always seek help from experienced legal professionals who can help ensure your rights and interests are represented in court.

Ultimately, understanding how long you have to sue for a NY dog bite is important so that one does not forfeit legal remedies allowed under the law due solely to failing knowledge about expiry deadlines specified by state statutes pertaining thereto. Seeking early legal assistance helps protect victims' rights and increases their chances of receiving rightful monetary compensation through civil litigation.

Contact a New York Dog Bite Lawyer

At Banville Law White Plains, NY, our attorneys take the time to listen to your dog bite story and explain why you should hire a dog bite lawyer for your case. Dog bite cases involve serious personal injury. They are expensive to pursue and, if not properly handled, can leave you with a lifetime of medical bills. Our team of New York dog bite injury lawyers understands how to fight for your rights and win the compensation you need after a dog bite. Our New York dog bite lawyers understand the unique challenges facing dog bite victims and know how to protect their best interests.

At Banville Law White Plains, NY, we take a personal approach to each and every case, and we want to hear your story. We believe that you deserve justice after a dog bite and we fight for all our clients on a contingency fee basis. Your dog bite legal team must be experienced and passionate about fighting for victims of dog bites and animal attacks. We only represent individuals and families.

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Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: January 9, 2023
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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