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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. Each year in the United States, there are over 4.7 million reported dog bites. 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.

  • Keeping copies of police reports, medical records, exams, and any other relevant documentation can serve as valuable evidence.
  • Do not get rid of the clothes that you were wearing when the dog bite incident happened. Clothing with blood stains or damage can serve 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. Engaging a professional ensures that your case is being handled by a competent individual. 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.” Under strict liability, the dog owner bears responsibility for all damages caused by their dog if it attacks 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 adhere to it, or some states employ it with certain 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. However, if the dog bite victim seeks compensation for additional economic or non-economic losses beyond medical expenses, they must demonstrate that the owner behaved negligently during the attack or that the dog had previously been classified as “dangerous.”

A dog earns the label of “dangerous” as soon as it bites a person or a domestic or farm animal without justification. However, a dog can be classified as dangerous even without having bitten anyone. 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 of the dog’s previous aggressive behavior and failed to take appropriate measures to prevent an attack, they may be held responsible for all the damages suffered 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 someone tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog, and it attacked that person, it could serve as a defense against the charges of abuse or anguish.
  • 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’ve recently sustained a dog bite, you’re likely facing significant medical bills, and depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have also missed several 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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