Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | May 2, 2022 | Dog Bites
Owning a dog comes with responsibility. As the dog’s owner, you could be held financially liable for damages caused when your dog bites or attacks someone. However, property owners could also be held liable if a dog bites someone on their property under premises liability laws.
What Are the Dog Bite Laws in New York City?
New York has adopted a mixed liability approach to dog bite cases. The state does not hold dog owners strictly liable for damages in all cases. However, that does not mean a dog owner cannot be held strictly liable for some damages.
New York’s dog bite laws state that the owner of a dangerous dog is strictly liable for medical bills if the dog bites someone. The injured party does not need to prove the dog owner was negligent to receive reimbursement for medical care.
A dangerous dog is defined as a dog that has:
- Attacked, injured, or killed a person, pet, or farm animal without justification; OR,
- Behaved in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe the dog posed a risk of severe injury or death
If you can prove that the dog owner was negligent, you might recover compensation for additional damages. For example, a dog owner could be negligent for failing to control their dog when the dog bite occurred or for not having their dog on a leash.
You can also prove negligence by demonstrating that the dog owner knew or should have reasonably known the dog was dangerous. Evidence that the dog has a history of acting viciously, biting people, fighting with other animals, or baring its teeth could be sufficient to prove the dog was dangerous. Prior complaints about the dog or the need to muzzle the dog around people are other examples of dangerous dogs.
When Are Property Owners Liable for a Dog Bite on Their Property?
Premises liability laws require property owners to maintain safe premises and warn guests and visitors of dangerous conditions on the property. If a person has permission to be on the property, the property owner can be held liable for damages if the person is injured.
Property owners can be liable if they know a dog is on their property, the dog is dangerous, and they fail to warn people who are lawfully on the property about the dog. If the person is a trespasser, the property owner does not have the same duty of care. However, if the trespasser is a child, the property owner could be liable for damages even if the child is trespassing.
Damages Available for a Dog Bite Case in New York City
- Medical bills and expenses
- Physical therapy and other forms of therapy
- Reconstructive surgery
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of income and benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering caused by physical injuries, mental anguish, and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Diminished quality of life
The value of a dog bite claim depends on the facts of the case. For example, a victim who sustains substantial disfigurement or permanent nerve damage might receive a larger settlement than a person who does not suffer any scarring or permanent impairments.
If you contributed to the cause of the dog attack, your compensation could be decreased under New York’s contributory fault laws. For example, if a jury finds you were 30 percent at fault for the cause of your injury, your compensation for damages is reduced by 30 percent.
A dog bite lawyer can assess your case and explain your legal options to recover damages after a dog bite.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim If I Was Bitten by a Dog on Someone’s Property?
The statute of limitations for filing claims related to dog bites and premises liability claims is three years from the date of injury. Families have just two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim for a dog attack.
There could be exceptions to the above rules. It is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a dog bite or animal attack.
A personal injury lawyer can calculate the deadline for filing claims. You need this information to avoid missing a deadline and losing your right to pursue legal action against a negligent dog owner or property owner.