What Are New York City Dog Bite Laws?

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Dog bite injuries are typically excruciatingly painful and can result in lifelong scars or disfigurement. In the United States, over 4.7 million dog bites are reported each year. Unfortunately, children account for over half of all victims, and the majority of injuries suffered by children are to the head or neck.

Dog bite laws differ from one state to the next. New York is classified as a mixed state. While most other states impose either strict liability or “one bite rule,” New York employs a combination of the two approaches.

Can I Get Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury?

Yes, you can seek compensation for a dog bite injury in New York. If a dog attacks you, you can file a claim with the dog’s owner’s insurance company if they have homeowners insurance or another policy that covers dog attacks. If the dog’s owner lacks insurance, you may be obliged to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries. Whether the dog’s owner is insured or not, there are some things you must take into account if you wish to collect compensation for your injuries.

  • It is important to keep copies of police reports, medical records and exams and any other documentation that can be used as evidence.
  • Do not get rid of the clothes that you were wearing when the dog bite incident happened. Damaged clothes or with blood stains can be used as evidence to support your claim.
  • If there are any eye witnesses, try to get their contact information. This way you will be able to contact them to get a statement from them.
  • Seeking legal counsel can significantly improve your chances of receiving reasonable compensation. An expert dog bite lawyer can assist you with the claim process and negotiations with the insurance company. This way, you can be confident that your case is being handled by a professional. If, for whatever reason, you feel that filing a lawsuit is the best or only option, an attorney is your best ally in navigating the legal system and representing you in court.

Because of New York dog bite legislation, it is relatively simple to obtain compensation for your medical bills; nevertheless, this does not guarantee that the money you receive will be sufficient to cover your medical expenses. Accurately calculating your medical expenses can be tricky, especially if you will need future medical treatment. We recommend getting assistance from a dog bite attorney to ensure you are receiving the amount of money you deserve.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim?

In New York, the statute of limitations allows dog bite victims to file lawsuits within three years of the date of the dog attack. If you do not submit your lawsuit within the specified time frame, the court will dismiss your case.

How Does Strict Liability Vs The “One Bite” Rule Work in NY?

As previously stated, New York imposes a combination of strict liability and the “one bite rule.” Strict liability means that the dog owner is liable for all damages caused by their dog if it assaults someone. Most states now adopt strict liability. The “one bite rule” was once enforced in every state. However, because it is considered outdated, few states still use it, or some states utilize it with some modifications. The “one bite rule” argues that a dog owner cannot be held liable for the damages caused by their dog if it bites someone for the first time. The idea behind this approach is that if a dog had never previously bitten someone, the owner had no way of knowing it could happen.

In New York, dog owners are strictly responsible for the medical and veterinary expenses that the dog bite victim may incur. Nevertheless, if the dog bite victim wishes to pursue compensation for other economic or noneconomic losses other than medical bills, they will need to prove that the owner acted negligently during the attack or that the dog had been deemed as “dangerous” in the past.

A dog is considered dangerous the instant it bites a person or a domestic or farm animal without justification. However, a dog does not have to bite someone to be deemed dangerous. Other actions, such as excessive barking to people from behind a fence, growling, teeth clenching, or lunging, can also indicate that the dog is dangerous. If the dog owner was aware that the dog had previously displayed these tendencies and failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the attack, they may be held liable for all damages sustained by the victim.

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Exceptions to Strict Liability for Dog Bite Cases

There are some cases, in which the dog owner may not be held responsible for a dog bite:

  • Defense against trespassers: If the dog bite victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the attack.
  • Pain or suffering reaction: If the dog was reacting to some kind of pain and suffering when it attacked a person.
  • Defense against abuse or anguish: If the dog was being tormented, abused, or assaulted by someone and it attacked this person.
  • Owner/puppies protection: If the dog attacked someone who was trying to attack or assault its owner or puppies.

Can a Landlord Be Held Liable if a Tenant’s Dog Bites Me?

In some cases landlords can be held responsible if a tenant’s dog bites another renter. If the owner was previously notified that there is a “dangerous” dog in the premises and ignored the notification or failed to remove the dog from the building, they may be held accountable for the dog bite victim’s injuries.

Contact a New York Dog Bite Lawyer

If you have just been injured by a dog, you are definitely dealing with expensive medical expenses and, depending on the severity of your injuries, you have probably lost a few days of work. There is no reason for you to bear the financial burden associated with incidents like this if someone else is responsible. Getting professional legal advice is the most important thing to do. Greenberg & Stein P.C., is a law firm where you will find some of the best dog bite attorneys. Our legal team is ready to help you fight for your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 212-681-2535 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.

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