Many dog owners value the companionship of their canines and the positives that canine ownership has on their physical and mental well-being. Dogs are a common part of American culture, and unfortunately so are injuries associated with dog attacks. The physical and financial burdens of recovering from dog bite injuries may appear insurmountable.

You have the right to seek compensation for your losses for a dog bite injury, similar to other personal injury cases. However, New York does have some specific laws that could help or hinder your case. New York is considered a "mixed" state because its dog bite statute combines elements of the one-bite rule with limited strict liability. By law, anyone that owns or keeps a dog that has been declared "dangerous" must pay for the victim's medical care, including any necessary trips to the vet. Furthermore, a dog bite victim must prove that the dog's owner was aware that their dog was "dangerous" and has a tendency to attack. Unfortunately, victims cannot use negligence as the basis to recover compensation for a dog bite in most cases. Essentially, New York has its own rules governing dog bites that can dictate the outcome of an injury case.

We at the law office of Brandon J. Broderick strive to provide our clients with top level legal help, as well as compassion, respect and honesty. There is no retainer required when you hire one of our New York dog bite attorneys. We only collect our fee if we win, so hiring us is risk-free. If we don't succeed, you owe us nothing.

Dog bite victims may feel guilty about considering legal action because they may know or be related to the dog's owner. However, homeowners' insurance often covers cases involving dog bites. And, just because you file a claim for damages due to a dog bite doesn't imply the dog will be put down. If you consider the alternative, you may have to pay for your own medical bills and other damages related to the injury out of pocket if you do not file a claim.

Injuries from dog bites and what your legal recourse is in the state of New York are the subject of this article.

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Being a victim of a dog attack can be extremely traumatic, leading to long-lasting physical injuries and mental issues. You should think about your future medical needs and protect your legal rights. Take some time to reflect on the full extent of your injuries and how they will affect, not only your current finances, but also the rest of your life. You or a loved one should be compensated adequately if you or they have suffered a significant injury. Avoid the common pitfall of settling too soon.

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Many New York dog bite victims assume they do not need legal representation because of the state's dog bite laws. An insurance company might reduce your claim's value or not pay all damages even if liability is not disputed. If you choose Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law to represent you, he will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to get you the compensation you are owed.

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If you need legal assistance, Brandon J. Broderick can step in and take care of things while you focus on getting better. Our New York law firm is dedicated to getting you the compensation you're entitled to and we have the experience to get it for you. Please know that we will do everything in our power to protect your rights and will stand by your side as you navigate this difficult time.

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Dog Bite Statute for "Dangerous Dogs" in New York

New York has its own laws regarding a dog owner's liability in the event their animal causes harm to others. In New York, there is a "dangerous dog" statute that says that the owner will be held liable if the animal injuries another person, livestock or another dog or animal. This includes both bite and non-bite injuries, such as a situation where a dog knocks someone over.

Defining a "Dangerous Dog"

Under New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, a "dangerous dog" is defined as a dog that:

  • attacks someone, injuring or killing them without provocation. This could include another animal, such as livestock or another pet.
  • displays behavior that leads one to conclude the dog poses a "serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death."

One exception to this statute would be a police dog acting in the line of duty. It would be excluded from the definition of "dangerous dog" in the law.

Liability in New York Dog Bite Cases

Owners of "dangerous dogs" in New York are "strictly liable" for any medical costs associated with injuries their pets cause. Thus, if the dog is determined to be "dangerous", the owner is responsible for the victim's medical costs, which could be the vet bills from injuries of any livestock or pets that were injured. Even if the owner took steps to prevent the animal's attack, they are still liable.

If an injured party hopes to seek other damages for a dog bite or attack, in most cases, they will have to establish that the dog's owner was negligent. Essentially, the injured party has the responsibility of proving that the dog's owner did not exercise reasonable care in preventing the incident that resulted in their injury, whether that means they didn't control or restrain their dog.

Every situation may be different, so if you want to determine whether or not you can seek damages beyond medical costs, a New York dog bite lawyer such as Brandon J. Broderick can help. They will know if the argument can be made that the dog owner is negligent and owes you damages.

There are situations where the owner can side-step liability, even if their dog bit you or causes you harm. Some of these include:

  • The dog was a working police dog. Thus, it doesn't fit the statutory description of a "dangerous dog."
  • The dog attacked while protecting its home from someone that was trespassing or breaking the law on the property.
  • The dog was in pain or suffering when it hurt someone.
  • Someone provoked the dog by tormenting, abusing or assaulting it when it bit or attacked the person.

Criminal Charges in a New York Dog Bite Case

The owner of a dog that attacks a person in New York could face criminal charges in some jurisdictions. Under New York's Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, charges may be filed if:

  • The dog has been designated as a "dangerous dog"
  • The owner is negligent and allows the dog to bite someone
  • The injury suffered from the dog attack is classified as a "serious injury".

Death, significant disfigurement, or "protracted impairment", or loss of any body part or organ all qualify as "serious injuries." If a person is killed in a dog attack, the owner may face misdemeanor charges, notwithstanding the owner's best efforts to keep the animal under control. Any dog owner facing criminal charges related to a dog bite may also be subject to civil liability if the victim chooses to file a civil lawsuit.

Most Common Dog Bite Injuries

Depending on the severity of the bite, a dog bite victim could suffer anything from a very minor injury like a scratch or scrape to serious injury that could end up costing them their life, or requiring months or even years of medical care. Extremely young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to fatal dog bite injuries.

Dog bites typically cause injuries to the face, hands, and feet. There is a high risk of bone fractures and ligament tears, all of which can necessitate extensive or perhaps repeated surgeries to correct. As a result, infections and slow healing may occur because of the compromised blood flow to the extremities.

Avulsions, amputations, and nerve damage are all possible injuries in cases of really serious dog attacks. The person may be left with long-term or permanent disability from such extreme trauma.

It is the infection that develops at the site of the bite that poses the most risk to dog bite victims. Capnocytophaga is a type of bacteria commonly found in canine and canine-like animal mouths. The bacteria don't seem to affect the animals, but they can cause serious infections and even sepsis in humans. Dogs' mouths are a breeding ground for a variety of dangerous bacteria that can be transmitted to humans.

How to Help Prevent Dog Bites

It's obvious that any dog can bite, so you cannot be too comfortable around animals, even ones you know or friendly breeds.  Any dog, regardless of breed, is capable of biting, and often does it in self-defense or as a reaction to something. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) lists education, good pet ownership, and avoiding unsafe situations as the three most effective means of protecting oneself against dog bites. One of the most important ways to prevent serious dog bites is to have an adult present when children and dogs are interacting, always.

Knowing what to do and not to do after a dog bite injury is very important. Proper pet care and schooling is important as well. One of your first duties as a dog owner is to select a canine companion that will thrive in your home and community. Second, learn how to train and socialize your dog properly to reduce the risk of an attack.

After several years together, you and your dog may notice different requirements. One such event is the increase in dog bite injuries and the following puppy boom that followed the coronavirus outbreak. It's important to stay informed about methods for reintroducing your dog to society if he or she has not been socialized in a while.

Dog bite victims should immediately flush the area with soap and warm water before seeking medical assistance. Please notify the authorities or your local animal shelter about the dog attack that occurred. Seek the counsel of an experienced New York dog bite lawyer who can help you decide what to do if you've been injured and need medical attention.

Do I Need a Lawyer if a Dog Bites Me?

Hiring dog bite lawyers with experience can significantly increase your chances of recovering damages. Sometimes, insurance companies will underpay claimants or not pay at all, even when fault is obvious. A lawyer is in the best position to handle negotiations and communications with insurers on your behalf, as they will have the necessary experience and understanding to do so. The legal fees of a personal injury lawyer are only due if the client is successful in court.

What to Do after a New York dog bite

Brandon J. Broderick Is Here To Help You. Call Us Today

It's not uncommon for victims of dog attacks to suffer psychological and permanent bodily injuries. We value our clients' well-being at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law. We strive to offer nothing but the best legal service possible to our clients, so that you may concentrate on your family and your recovery and put your trust in our legal team to bring you a favorable outcome.

Our New York dog bite lawyers do not require any retainer fees. We only get paid when we bring you a successful resolution. If you don't file a legal claim, the insurance company can offer you a very small settlement that won't even cover your basic needs. Get in touch with us today and we can help you recover the losses and damages you deserve.

We service the entire state of New York including New York City, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and the surrounding states. If you need assistance, we are here to help.

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