New York Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs might be known as “man’s best friend.” But in some circumstances, dogs can turn into very dangerous and even lethal attack animals. In fact, dogs bite about 4.5 million Americans each year, sending nearly 900,000 of them to emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you have been bitten by a dog recently, you may need a dog bite lawyer in NYC.
Children are particularly prone to dog attacks and the most likely to die from their injuries, with 33 fatalities in a single recent year. For kids, dog bites are the second most common injury requiring medical treatment, behind only playground accidents, according to the CDC.
Contrary to what many people believe, the majority of dog bites involve domestic — not stray — dogs. Most attacks happen on private property instead of on the street or in a public place.
When a dog attack happens, New York law allows dog bite victims to recover damages from the attacking dog’s owner under most circumstances, and homeowners’ insurance will often cover dog bite incidents.
Call an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in NYC
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a New York dog attack, protect your rights by calling an experienced New York personal injury attorney at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., for a consultation. There is no obligation, so call today or contact the firm through our online form.
New York Dog Bite FAQs
When a dog bites someone in New York City, the bite victim and the victim’s family usually have questions. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about dog bites and dog attacks.
For answers to your specific questions, it’s recommended that you speak with a member of David Resnick & Associates, P.C. Our experienced personal injury attorneys provide free consultations to people who have been bitten by a dog in New York City. Call or contact us to schedule your free case review.
Approximately 4,000 dog bites are reported each year in New York City. To put this figure in context, there are around 50,000 NYC motor vehicle injury crashes each year, 12,000 pedestrian injuries and 4,000 bicyclist injuries.
Because New Yorkers own dogs at a lower rate than the national average, nationwide dog bite statistics are a better gauge of the problem. Across the United States, an estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur annually. In terms of annual emergency room (ER) visits, dog bite accidents (330,000 annual ER visits) send more people to the ER each year than accidents involving playground equipment, ATVs, horseback riding and skateboards.
The “one bite” rule has its roots in English common law. In earlier times, the law allowed a domestic animal to bite its first victim without consequences. Today, this is not necessarily the case. A dog owner is no longer allowed one “free dog bite” if it can be shown that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had dangerous propensities.
Proving the dog was dangerous or vicious can be tricky because there are no standard criteria. The court has discretion and will weigh available evidence. A prior bite would be strong evidence, but even showing that the dog previously acted aggressively – growling, snarling, baring its teeth at people or lunging at people – may suffice.
A “dangerous” dog in New York is one that has been declared as such by a judge following a formal complaint with the municipality. Complaints may be made to an animal control or police officer by anyone who “witnesses an attack or threatened attack upon a person, companion animal, farm animal, or domestic animal.”
A dog deemed “dangerous” by a judge may be subject to several corrective measures, including muzzling in public and neutering or spaying at the owner’s expense.
Under New York law, the owner of a “dangerous” dog may be held strictly liable for a bite victim’s medical costs. This means that the victim does not have to demonstrate the owner did anything wrong in order to be compensated for his or her bite-related medical bills and other losses.
A dog owner may not be held liable for a bite injury in cases in which:
- A dog was protecting itself, its owner, its offspring, a member of its household or another domestic animal.
- The bite victim was committing a crime upon the owner of the dog or upon the owner’s property.
- The victim tormented, abused, or threatened the dog or its offspring.
- The dog was sick or injured.
If the dog’s owner was disobeying a New York City dog law at the time of the attack, is the owner automatically liable?
In New York, in order to collect dog-bite damages beyond medical bills, you need to prove that the owner was negligent. In other words, you need to show that the owner did something wrong or failed to do something he or she should have done.
Violation of an NYC municipal dog ordinance – such as the leash law – may be used as evidence of negligence, but does not constitute negligence per se.
My child was bitten by another tenant’s dog in the common area of our apartment building. Can the landlord be held responsible?
Based on previous New York court rulings, a landlord may be held liable for a tenant’s biting dog if the landlord knew about the dog and the landlord knew the dog had vicious propensities.
Note that the landlord must have “actual” knowledge of these conditions. It’s not enough to claim that a landlord “should have known” about the presence of the dog and its vicious tendencies.
The dog’s owner may be responsible, but your own actions also may affect liability. For example, if you did not properly restrain your dog on a leash, and this allowed the dog fight to occur, you may bear some liability as well.
Also keep in mind that in cases of dog self-defense, the owner isn’t always liable. So if your dog was the aggressor and the other person’s dog bit you, self-defense might be claimed.
No. In fact, New York statutes prohibit laws that ban ownership of certain dog breeds, such as pit bulls. Despite this, some New York municipalities, including Hempstead and Yonkers, have breed-specific laws on their books.
You have 3 years from the date the attack occurred to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to file suit, however. The sooner you consult with a lawyer and get legal proceedings moving, the better.
Report all dog bites to the Department of Health or call 311 as soon as possible after the bite occurs. New York City follows a practice whereby dogs that bite are observed at home for 10 days for signs of rabies.
Every case is different and recovery depends on the value of a claimant’s losses. The greater the extent of injury, the greater the potential for a large settlement or verdict.
Research by healthcare and insurance industry experts provides some frame of reference for dog bite claim value. According to a study of hospital inpatient stays and emergency room visits, the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay (adjusted for inflation) is $20,000. The Insurance Information Institute, on the other hand, says that the average value of a dog bite-related homeowner’s insurance claim is just under $30,000.
You Have Dog Bite Questions. David Resnick & Associates, P.C., Have Answers.
New York dog bite law is complex, and the legal implications of any particular attack depends on a variety of factors. If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, it’s in your best interest to discuss what happened with David Resnick & Associates, P.C. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free case review with our New York City dog bite attorneys.
To protect your legal rights, give us a call or send us a message. We serve dog bite victims in all five boroughs, as well as Long Island.
- City New York: 2012 Pedestrian, Bicyclist, and Motor Vehicle Occupant Injuries and Fatalities by Crash Type
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: Summary of New York City Motor Vehicle Crashes
- JAMA: Incidence of Dog Bite Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008
- Insurance Information Institute: Average Cost of Dog Bite Claims Is On the Rise