New York Dog Bite Guide

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If you or a loved one has suffered an attack from an animal, the New York Dog Bite Guide was created by personal injury attorney Stuart Glassmith to help residents recover their maximum settlement.

New York Dog Bite GuideDogs may be considered man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always well-trained or friendly. If you or someone you love was the victim of a dog bite, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Our law firm provides free consultations with our New York dog bite lawyer.

What New York Law Says About Dog Bites

New York law says that regardless of a dog’s history of aggressive behavior or previous attacks, the owner may be liable for the dog bite. However, the State of New York also looks at the circumstances surrounding the event. This includes whether the dog was provoked, if the owner knew or should have known that the dog has an aggressive nature, and whether the owner took any reasonable precautions to prevent the attack.

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New York’s Agriculture & Markets Law § 121.10 says that the owner of the dog or the custodian of the dog is strictly liable only for medical expenses associated with the actions of a dangerous dog. If you’re bitten, a New York dog bite lawyer can help you determine whether the animal may meet the state’s qualification of being dangerous. Dogs are considered dangerous if they attack a person or another animal without justification and that attack causes an injury.

However, if a dog bites a person or another animal after being provoked, the dog’s owner or custodian may have several defenses they can use if the victim sues:

  • The dog was protecting its home from a trespasser, someone who was not invited onto the property, or who was entering the property to commit a crime.
  • The dog was protecting its owner or its own puppies.
  • The dog reacted to pain or suffering it experienced.
  • The dog was tormented, abused, or assaulted by the person it bit.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and SufferingDog bites can cause significant physical pain and disfigurement. They can also cause serious and lifelong fears to develop in children and adults. If you believe that you or your loved one may have a claim for pain and suffering or emotional damage, you should schedule a free consultation with our New York dog bite lawyer to discuss the facts surrounding your case. Pain and suffering, as well as compensation for emotional damage is only awarded if it can be proven that the dog has a demonstrated history of attacking others and that the owner knew the dog was vicious.

What You Should Do If You’re Bitten by a Dog

What You Should Do If You’re Bitten by a DogDog bites can be extremely serious. Even if the bite doesn’t require stitches, it can still become infected. If the dog is rabid or the owner cannot prove that the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccine, you may have to undergo a series of painful rabies shots to protect your health. If you’re bitten by a dog in New York, do the following:

  1. Get immediate medical attention. If you’re bleeding and believe that you may need stitches, get emergency medical attention. Medical attention is important regardless of the severity of the dog bite because it creates a record of the attack and can stop the bite from getting infected.
  2. Find out who owns the dog. This isn’t always possible. If you have to call 911 for your dog bite, the police will also be dispatched. Let the dispatcher know that you were bitten by a dog and give them a description. They may also send animal control. The police or animal control can help find the owner or custodian of the animal. You can ask others who live in the neighborhood about the dog.
  3. Take pictures. Use your smartphone to take photos of the dog (if you can), the owner (if you find them or if they are present), and your injuries.
  4. Write down what happened as soon as you can. Don’t wait for days or weeks to do this. You need to document what happened as soon as you can. You should include a description of the dog, where the dog bite happened, the injuries you received, and information about the owner or custodian of the dog. You can also document the names and contact information for any witnesses.
  5. Keep a record of your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the dog bite. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to receive reimbursement from the dog owner’s home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy.

Please contact our New York dog bite lawyer as soon as you can. You only have three years from the date of the bite to file a claim. During your free consultation, we will explain whether you have a valid claim and what steps you should take next.

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Frequently Asked Questions | New York Dog Bite Guide

What Steps Do I Need to Take After an Attack?

What Steps Do I Need to Take After an AttackWhen someone is seriously injured in a dog bite case in New York, it’s important to understand you have rights. The law can turn on different specific situations at how your accident occurred. Often, people think that if there is no prior proof or evidence of a bite that it’s a strict bar. This often depends on the circumstances of the bite, the type of dog, the history of the dog, past actions or other incidents. It’s important that you hire experienced counsel who can guide you through all this in terms of representing you and protecting your rights when you’re bitten by a dog.

How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?

When seeking out an attorney if you’re bitten by a dog in New York, it’s important to feel comfortable with the attorney that you’re speaking with. It’s important to trust the attorney that you’re speaking with, and it’s most important to find an experienced attorney who has proven results. You want someone who has a vast experience in this area of law. I think it’s important to have someone who specializes in personal injury law and who has experience in the realm of dog bites. They should be able to show you their abilities, based on their history, experience, prior awards, settlements, and judgments. You will benefit from someone who’s going to work hard, someone you trust, and someone who really knows that they’re doing. This is all done by hiring an experienced attorney.

What Are Common Case Mistakes?

People who have been bitten by dogs in New York often make the mistake of thinking it’s their fault. They think they did something to arouse the dog, or make the dog upset. They think they did something to anger the dog or they went in a certain area that they shouldn’t have been. This is often a misconception. Just because you may have done something, doesn’t mean that this dog should have bitten you. You still have rights to compensation, even if you could be considered someone who may have ticked the dog off or got it excited. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to recovery because the dog’s response shouldn’t have been in such a way. There’s no reason for you to ever be bitten by a dog. This is something that you need to look to an experienced counsel to help you with so that you understand your rights.

Should I Speak to the Insurance Company?

If you’re seriously injured in a dog bite case in New York, and you’re able to determine who the owner of that dog is, sometimes you’ll have the insurance company who represents that owner of the dog, reach out to you. It’s important that, before you speak with the insurance company for that potential or eventual defendant, in this case, you seek out counsel, you seek out your own representation, so that you understand how to properly handle that situation. They may have their own investigators and their own representatives who are going to put their own twist on things. It’s important that your rights are protected and that innocent statements aren’t being used against you.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

When it comes to how long, it depends on the facts of that case. It can be longer or shorter depending on how the accident occurred, whether it’s clear or whether there needs to be some discovery or depositions to figure out the specifics. It depends on your type of injuries and how they’re going to develop. It also depends on the type of insurance company. Who is the insurance company? Which insurance company is it? Is it an insurance company that likes to resolve claims quickly, or is it someone who takes a little bit longer?

There are a lot of other factors involved, too. To say early on in a case, generically, how long such a case would take wouldn’t be fair. You really have to weigh all these factors, figure all this out, and make sure you have an attorney who’s aggressively litigating your case. At the very least, your attorney should be trying to figure out all the facts, trying to contact the insurance company, and trying to flush it all out so that no time is being wasted in terms of getting you compensation.

Is the Owner of the Dog Liable?

Is the Owner of the Dog LiableWhen someone is bitten by someone else’s dog in the state of New York, the owner of that dog is going to be the responsible party. Obviously, the dog itself is not someone who you’re going to be able to gain compensation from. That’s why the law often puts the responsibility on the owner. The reason is, if you’re going to own a dog, especially one who bit someone before, had vicious propensities, or you had some knowledge or idea that this would happen based on the type of dog you, that owner is going to be responsible. We want that owner to be responsible, because we want people to take care of their dogs so that people don’t have dogs biting people.

Who Is Responsible for the Attack?

When someone is bitten by a dog in the state of New York, while the owner is obviously the first person you look to for responsibility in such a setting, there may be other parties or other entities who have responsibility. These can include the dog walker, or a company hired to take care of the dog. There may be other avenues of insurance, not just through the owner of the dog, but other people who may have some part in what happened. It’s important to hire someone who understands this, and who is experienced with this to seek out all avenues of recovery and compensation for what happened to you.

What Questions Should I Ask the Dog Owner After a Bite?

If you are bitten by a dog in the state of New York, it is not a bad idea to first and foremost make sure you know whose dog this is. You may not always be in someone else’s house where you know whose dog this is. If you’re in a park or a public setting and you’re bitten by the dog, it’s very important that you immediately say to the dog owner, “Who are you? What’s your name? Give me your information.” It’s like being in a car accident. Get all their information, not just for the purposes necessarily of trying to be compensated for what happened to you, but also so that a proper background check can be done on the dog itself.  Make sure the dog doesn’t have rabies, and make sure it’s up-to-date on its shots.

All these things can be found out if you know the identity of the owner. If you don’t reach out and figure out whose dog this is, there will be extra levels of issues for you to deal with, not just from a medical standpoint, but also for ever being able to get compensated for what happened to you. It’s important to find out whose dog this was immediately.

What Injuries Can I Sue For?

When someone is bitten by a dog in the state of New York, there are all different levels and varying types of injuries that can develop. Sometimes you have a simple dog bite where the teeth may barely puncture the skin; there’s no need for stitches. It’s well understood that the dog doesn’t have rabies; you have a background of its vet shots, and you understand its history, and it’s simple. However, sometimes it’s much worse.

Often, it depends on the bite itself, the type of dog, how vicious it attacked the person, and whether there was pulling, pushing or falling that accompanies the bite as well that could lead to other injuries. I think it’s important to understand that, even if you had torn your knee or broke a bone that was unrelated to the bite itself, but occurred as a result of the attack or the way you tried to ward off the bite, this could all relate back to the dog bite itself, and you have the right to compensation for all of those injuries.

Should I Take the First Settlement Offer?

When someone is bitten by a dog in New York, there will often be, depending on the case and depending on the situation, offers made by insurance companies. It’s important that when that initial offer is made, you really think about it and it’s really investigated by your attorney. What I mean by that is when that offer is first made, you must feel comfortable and understand what your injuries are going to be like in the future.

Often, with dog bite cases, we’re talking about scarring. A few months after an accident, a scar could look a certain way, whether it may get better or whether it may stay the same; it may take some time to see how that develops. When you get those initial offers, it’s important not necessarily to jump at whatever is being offered, but to really think about it carefully and make sure that you don’t regret, later on, taking that. This is something that you’ll work through with your attorney, to make sure you have the proper understanding of all the information, and to make a smart decision about whether or not to take that offer.

Do Beware of Dog Signs Hurt My Case?

Dog bites often happen when you are walking by someone’s house or you’re at someone’s house. When you are bitten by a dog and you see a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign, clients sometimes think, well, it’s my fault; there was a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign. This is something that is a common misconception. Just because an owner puts out a sign that says, ‘Beware of Dog,’ that doesn’t absolve them of liability, especially if you can show that there was past knowledge that violent tendencies is an issue with their dog, whether it’s through vicious propensities in the past, or a prior bite. If you are bitten by a dog, don’t think you don’t have a right to recovery just because the owner told you through a sign to beware of a dog because the dog could act in such a manner.

How Much is My Case Worth?

When you’re bitten by a dog in New York and you’re trying to figure out what your case is worth, it depends on a lot of different factors. First and foremost, the type of injury that you have, the past pain and suffering up to this point, and understanding what can be expected in the future. Either through your own doctors or experts that we select, we determine what kind of pain and suffering there is, what kind of scarring there will be, what is going to be left moving forward from this case in 10 years from now, how you’re going to feel, and how you’re going to be doing. These are very important things to look at in determining the compensation, and it is something that may not be known clearly right away.

You may have a general idea, when you first hire your attorney and you had your bite, of the value of the case. It’s the type of thing you really need to make sure it’s flushed out properly, as well as any lost wages, and medical bills that can be reasonably expected, not just in the past but into the future. It’s important to have an attorney who understands all this, who cares about all this, who’s going to fight for you, and who’s experienced in understanding the value of these types of cases. If someone tells you a number right away, unless it’s very clear, that might not always be the best number to take.

Does Insurance Cover the Attack?

Does Insurance Cover the AttackThe answer is yes. Often, homeowner’s insurance policies will cover not just the home, but will also cover liability. One of those liability things is if you, the person who owns the home, cause injury to someone else or perhaps their dog, it is covered. It’s important to understand that, even if you’re bit by a dog owned by someone who may not have any ways to compensate you, he or she will often have insurance, and through an insurance company, you will be able to get covered as a result of this dog bite incident.

What If the Dog Owner is Uninsured?

When someone is bitten by a dog in the state of New York and the owner of the dog doesn’t have insurance, it’s important to seek out counsel to make sure that there aren’t other avenues of insurance. Just because an owner of a dog may say they don’t have insurance, or just because they didn’t have homeowner’s insurance, you can protect yourself in certain situations with insurance. While there may be an issue there, it’s something you really want to look into to make sure you go through every outlet and every available means of insurance. Often, just because the homeowner doesn’t have insurance doesn’t mean you can’t go after the person themselves. This is important to understand, and it’s important to seek out counsel who can look into all these avenues.

What Are My Rights to Compensation?

If someone is bitten by a dog in New York, it’s important to understand that you have certain rights that are available to you to seek compensation from the owner of the dog based on how this dog has acted in the past. There are different laws that depend on how the dog acted, whether it bit someone in the past, or whether it showed vicious propensities in the past. That does not necessarily mean a bite, but that it did something that would have alerted the owner to give them some knowledge that there could be an issue here. Did that owner take precautions in preventing this bite? It’s important to understand that there are certain situations and circumstances, and all these things depend on the specific case. It’s important to seek out counsel who can help and assist you in trying to figure out whether you have a claim.

Call Our Dog Bite Attorneys Today

Getting bit can leave permanent scarring both physical and emotional. You want an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation that you deserve following this vicious attack. If you’ve been seriously injured by a dog bite, please call our New York dog bite attorneys today and we can answer any of your questions.
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