Every day, around 1,000 people require emergency care treatment for severe
dog bite injuries in the United States, and every year, about 9,500 people are
hospitalized because of dog bites. The damage sustained usually includes
skin and subcutaneous tissue infections; open wounds of the head, neck,
and torso; and fractures of the upper limbs. Hospitalization and other
associated medical costs caused by dog bites can be extremely expensive.
In cases like these, who is liable for the expensive bills and potential
lost income from missed work—the dog owner or the person who may
have put himself or herself in danger?
New York has specific laws regarding liability in dog bite cases. The statute
regarding dog bites mixes the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict
liability. The courts in the state have imposed liability on the owner
of dogs for injuries inflicted by his or her companion animal. According
to the law, all dog owners are responsible for knowing the animal has
“vicious propensities” and will be held liable for any damage
it causes to people or property.
New York Agriculture & Markets Code § 123 states the dog owner
is liable when the dog injures another person if it is considered a “dangerous
dog.” Dangerous dogs are defined as one that does one of the following:
- Attacks and injures or kills a person or other animal without justification
- Behaves in a way that causes a reasonable person to believe the dog poses
a grave and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death
All medical bills are the responsibility of the owner of the dangerous
dog; however, the injured person’s attorney must prove the animal
in question is, indeed, considered dangerous. Negligence on the part of
the owner must be proven in negotiations or a court of law. However, if
the injured person was negligent, for example, by trespassing on the dog
owner’s property, the owner wouldn’t be liable if he or she
gave people reasonable warnings to be aware of a dog in the back yard.
Likewise, the law makes allowances for other circumstances in a bite case.
For example, police dogs are not considered “dangerous” if
they bite a criminal while carrying out official duties. Likewise, if
the dog was protecting its home, puppies, or self from the person who
was bitten, or was reacting to pain or suffering, it wouldn’t be
considered a dangerous animal. Additionally, if the dog was provoked when
it was harmed or abused by the person who was bitten or injured, the person
is less likely to receive any compensation for the injury.
If you’ve been injured by someone’s dog, and that injury led
to significant medical problems, make sure you are justly compensated.
If your injury was particularly severe, you could even press criminal
charges and the negligent owner could be charged with a misdemeanor.
Contact one of our experienced Long Island personal injury attorneys at
Gruenberg Kelly Della for a free initial consultation. We have more than 50 years of legal experience
to offer your case, and we have a history of recovering more than $100
million in verdicts and settlements for our past clients. Let us examine
your case and make a recommendation. Call us at (888) 305-6372 or
fill out our online form to get in touch with us today.