Did you know dogs are the most popular pet in the world? In just a short stroll through New York City, you will likely encounter numerous dogs out for a walk. These incredible animals also work for the NYPD, DEA, and even provide service to those with disabilities.
Unfortunately, accidents involving dog bites can and often do happen. A dog can lash out with powerful bites that lead to gashes, broken bones, and even permanent damage or death. Although many are quick to blame the animal, a negligent owner can be the root of these problems too.
How Common Are Dog Bites in New York City?
Given that New York is the largest city in the nation, dog bites are quite prevalent. It is predicted that more than 500,000 dogs live in New York City. To put that in perspective, there are more dogs in New York City than there are inhabitants of many other cities in the United States. As a result, 6,373 emergency room visits occurred due to dog bites in 2014 alone. In worst-case scenarios, the dog bite injuries were even fatal.
Of the patients visiting emergency rooms because of dog bites, children under 17 were most at risk. Even beyond New York City, dog bites are among the biggest non-fatal injuries to children every year.
Common Injuries In Dog Bite Cases
In the aftermath of a dog bite accident, one may sustain a variety of injuries. If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you may suffer injuries like:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones and compound fractures
- High incidence of scarring and disfigurement
- Spinal damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Psychological damage in both a short-term and long-term capacity
- Bruises, scrapes, and abrasions
These injuries have recovery times that can vary tremendously. While slight scrapes and bruises may heal quickly, broken bones and lacerations could require extended recovery time and even physical therapy.
Who Is Responsible For Injuries From Dog Bites in New York?
Unlike other personal injury claims, it is a bit easier to identify accountability in the event of a dog bite. Most often, dog owners are responsible for these accidents. However, dog walkers, landlords, pet sitters, and property owners can also be held responsible for any injuries from a dog bite.
When identifying fault for personal injury cases, New York operates on a contributory negligence model. This essentially means that if both parties were at fault, the value of a settlement may be reduced.
For example, maybe you made the decision to pet a service dog without consent from the owner and the animal bit you as a defense mechanism. The owner is responsible for the actions of the dog, but you could also be to blame for provoking the animal.
If contributory negligence comes into play, it is important to keep in mind that a plaintiff could lose out on a settlement altogether. If the plaintiff is more than 51% responsible, the case could be thrown out. Reaching out to a New York City dog bite injury attorney can help you navigate contributory negligence if needed.
What To Know About New York Dog Bite Laws
Just like any other area of law, New York dog bite laws can be a bit confusing. It is important to truly understand New York City’s laws if you wish to seek compensation. The first thing to consider is liability and negligence.
Liability vs. Negligence in New York
In New York, a dog’s owner can often be liable for any medical bills. In other words, you do not have to show that the owner was careless.
However, if you want to cover any additional damages beyond the medical bills, you must be able to prove negligence. To establish negligence, New York courts often consider the following evidence:
- Fights with other dogs and animals
- Past occurrences of growling or baring teeth
- Previous complaints
- Muzzle wearing
“One Bite” Rule in New York
Many states have a “one bite” rule. This rule gives every dog one free bite before it is considered dangerous by law. New York City does not have an outright “one bite” rule. Instead, any previous bites or attacks prove that the owner knew of the dog’s dangerous behavior.
New York Dog Bite Claims: What to Know About
All types of personal injury cases come with their requirements and potential benefits. Here are some quick tips on what to consider when filing a dog bite claim:
Determining The Value of Your Claim
A dog bite claim’s value is often based on a variety of factors. Most often, medical expenses for treating the dog bite are a standard basis for pursuing a claim. You may be able to seek compensation for these expenses.
If the owner is negligent, your dog bite claim may be worth more. Claims in these circumstances may entitle you to compensation for the following:
- Emotional distress
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages or earning capacity
- Nursing care
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Plastic surgery
- Property damage
- Wrongful death
Dog Bites Law Time Constraints
Under New York law, you only have three years after the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. Sadly, you lose all rights to compensation once that time has passed. As a result, you may want to work with a personal injury attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible.
Why Choose Shulman & Hill?
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, contact a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced dog bites lawyer can help you navigate the difficult legal terrain to pursue compensation.
Shulman & Hill is an NYC law firm that specializes in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. We know just how damaging dog bites can be and work tirelessly to help our clients. Our team of attorneys operate on a contingency-based model and can review your case for free. Contact Shulman & Hill for a free case consultation so that we help to protect your rights.