Dog bites and animal attacks

Dog bites and animal attacks

Dog bites and animal attacks

Dogs are the most popular pet in the United States and they are considered to be a great companion for humans. Nonetheless, dogs are animals and on many occasions, they act instinctively and they may attack people.  On average, 6000 people need medical attention due to dog attacks in New York. It is also worth mentioning that many incidents related to dog bites occur due to dog owners’ negligence. For this reason, it is important to seek legal counsel if you or a loved one suffers a dog bite attack. 

Are Dog Bite Injuries Common in New York City?

Unfortunately, dog bite injuries are widespread in New York City, as they are in many heavily populated locations. Every year, hundreds of dog attacks are recorded in New York City, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. While not all bites are serious, many victims require medical care and may experience physical and mental distress. Dog attacks may happen everywhere, including public parks, sidewalks, and private premises. Dog bite incidents are more likely in New York City due to the city’s high population density and the predominance of dogs as pets. Furthermore, the city’s quick pace and the near proximity to people and dogs might add to the prevalence of such accidents.

Most Common Dog Bite Injuries in New York

When a dog bites, the degree of the injuries varies based on the size and strength of the dog and the victim as well as the conditions of the assault. The following are some of the most common dog bite injuries in New York:

Puncture wounds:

Puncture wounds occur when the teeth of a dog pierce the skin. These injuries can be severe, necessitating stitches or even surgery to avoid infection and facilitate appropriate healing. Puncture wounds are especially dangerous because they can harm underlying tissues and increase the risk of infection owing to germs in a dog’s mouth.


Lacerations are deep skin wounds or tears caused by a dog bite. These injuries can cause severe bleeding and frequently need medical treatment to clean the area, apply sutures, and limit the risk of infection. Lacerations can cause nerve damage, blood vessel damage, and other long-term problems in extreme situations.


Abrasions are superficial scrapes on the skin caused by a dog’s teeth grazing or scraping the surface. While they may not be as serious as other injuries, they can nevertheless cause pain, swelling, and infection. To avoid issues and enhance recovery, proper cleaning and maintenance are required.


Contusions or bruises can occur when a dog bite damages underlying blood vessels, resulting in bleeding under the surface. Unless they are accompanied by more serious injuries, bruises may not necessitate considerable medical care. They can, however, be uncomfortable and may suggest the existence of deeper tissue injury that needs medical attention.

Fractures/broken bones:

A dog bite can result in fractures or broken bones in some situations, especially if the victim tries to defend themself or falls during the assault. These injuries can be crippling, necessitating surgery or other procedures to encourage appropriate recovery. Fractures and shattered bones may demand extensive medical care, such as diagnostic imaging, immobilization, and rehabilitation.

Soft tissue injuries:

Muscle, tendon, and ligament injury are examples of soft tissue injuries. These injuries can result in discomfort, edema, and restricted motion. They frequently require medical care and rehabilitation to completely recover. Soft tissue injuries can have a long-term influence on a person’s capacity to conduct daily tasks and may need continuous medical attention.

Nerve damage:

Dog bites can induce nerve injury, resulting in numbness, weakness, or paralysis in the afflicted area. Nerve injuries can have long-term effects and may need specialist medical treatment and rehabilitation. The level of nerve injury will determine the affected person’s prognosis and probable recovery.


Because of the microorganisms in a dog’s mouth, dog bites provide a danger of illness. Cellulitis, abscesses, and potentially fatal illnesses such as sepsis are all common infections caused by dog bites. To reduce the risk of infection, prompt medical care is critical. In extreme situations, medications or surgical drainage may be required to treat the infection.

Does New York Have a “One Bite” Rule?

There is no “one bite” rule in New York. Most states adhere to either the “one bite” rule or the strict responsibility doctrine. The “one bite” rule stipulates that the owner of the dog cannot be held accountable for the victim’s injuries if the dog has never previously bitten someone. The argument behind this approach is that if the dog had never before bitten anybody, the dog owner could not have known that the dog was capable of biting another person or animal. On the other hand, strict liability, as the name implies, states that the dog owner is always liable for the injuries caused by the dog attack. The state of New York uses a combination of both of these approaches.  In the state of New York, dog owners are completely accountable for any medical or veterinary expenditures incurred as a consequence of a dog attack, and the victim is not required to establish fault. Nevertheless, if the victim wishes to pursue further compensation other than medical expenses (lost wages, pain, and suffering, etc.), they must prove that the owner was negligent and their actions led to the incident, and that the dog is a “dangerous dog”. If the dog had previously bitten or attacked someone in the past and there is evidence of that, the victim may allege that the owner should have known what their dog is capable of and should have acted in consequence.  Evidently, New York dog bite laws are not simple and there are several factors that need to be taken into account. The most advisable thing to do is to speak with a dog bite injury attorney to learn more about your legal options if you suffered a dog bite attack.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Dog Bite Injuries?

In New York, several parties may be held accountable for dog bite injuries, including:

  • Dog owners: The owner has the major responsibility for the conduct of their dog. If a dog bites someone, the owner may be held accountable for the injuries that arise. 
  • Professional dog walkers or handlers: If a professional dog walker or handler was in charge of the dog at the time of the occurrence and their carelessness contributed to the bite, they may be held accountable as well. It is their responsibility to ensure the dog’s and the people around them’s safety while in their care.
  • Landlords or property owners may be held liable for dog bite injuries in certain circumstances if they were aware of a hazardous dog on their property and failed to take adequate action. This might include not enforcing pet regulations or permitting a dangerous dog to live on their premises.

Determining accountability in dog bite cases can be difficult, and depending on the circumstances, numerous people may share responsibility. It is critical to consult with an expert dog bite lawyer to understand your rights and explore all available possibilities for compensation.

Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in NY?

In New York, you can sue for a dog bite. If you have been bitten by a dog and have incurred injuries as a result, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the people responsible. However, as previously stated, first, you need to be able to prove that the dog is a “dangerous dog”.

According to New York law, a dangerous dog is defined as a dog that:

  1. Without justification, attacks a person or companion animal and causes physical injury or death; or
  2. Behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to one or more persons or companion animals; or
  3. Engages in behavior that has resulted in the dog being designated as a “dangerous dog” by an appropriate authority, such as a local animal control officer or court.

Once you evidence that the dog that attacked you was deemed as “dangerous”, you must also prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant owned or had control over the dog at the time of the incident.
  2. The dog caused the injury by biting or attacking you.
  3. You were lawfully present at the location where the incident occurred.
  4. You did not provoke the dog or contribute to the attack in any way.

How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in NYC?

The statute of limitations in New York for filing a personal injury lawsuit, including dog bite incidents, is three years from the date of the event. It is critical that you contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that all deadlines are met and that your entitlement to compensation is preserved. While three years may seem like a long time, it is critical to begin the legal procedure as soon as possible. It takes time to gather evidence, acquire witness statements, and establish a compelling case. Waiting till the last minute may result in the loss of critical evidence or the inability to seek witnesses.

How Much Is My Dog Bite Claim Worth?

In New York, the value of a dog bite claim can vary based on various variables, including the severity of the injuries, the impact on your life, the degree of medical care necessary, and any long-term implications. 

The following factors can have an impact on the settlement amount:

  • The magnitude and seriousness of the injuries.
  • The victim’s everyday life effect, such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and any lasting damage or deformity.
  • The expense of medical care, rehabilitation, and follow-up care.
  • The victim’s capacity to work and make a livelihood is impacted.
  • The responsible party’s available insurance coverage.

Dog bite compensation often includes both economic and non-economic damages:

Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, drugs, and rehabilitation fees, are examples of economic damages. It may also include lost income if your injuries kept you from working or caused you to lose earning capability. Non-economic damages: These are more subjective and pay for the dog bite victim’s pain and suffering, emotional anguish, psychological trauma, scars, and deformity. When determining non-economic damages, the severity of the injuries, their impact on your everyday life, and the long-term implications will be considered. An expert personal injury attorney can assess your case and assist you in determining the possible worth of your claim.

What Is the Average Dog Bite Settlement in New York?

The average dog bite settlement in New York is around $55,000. But, keep in mind that every accident is different and settlement amounts can greatly vary depending on the factors listed above. 

Why It’s Important to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Dog Bite in New York City

Following a dog bite injury in New York City, it is critical to get legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer who has handled dog bite cases in the past. An attorney can help you defend your rights, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and seek just recompense for your injuries and damages. They will walk you through the legal procedure and strive to get you the most money possible for your dog bite claim.

Pursuing fair compensation for injuries sustained after a dog bite is not easy. At Greenberg & Stein P.C. We know all the difficulties that you might be going through following an incident of this kind.

For that reason, our dog bite attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our dog bite attorneys have vast experience and are very knowledgeable in New York laws.

We will not only gather all the evidence necessary and negotiate with insurance companies but we will also guide you through every step of the claim process. If your case cannot be resolved through negotiation, we will represent you if necessary. Do not hesitate in contacting us. Call us at 888-716-4088 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.

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