Can I Sue if I am bit by someone’s dog?

Most people love dogs. However, there are times when we forget that dogs are animals and they act on instinct. Even if we think we understand our dog, we cannot predict the behavior at times. If you have been bitten by a dog and want to know how to file a lawsuit, contact Great Neck NY personal injury attorney. 

New York Dog Bite Rules

New York has its own set of dog bite rules when it comes to a dog owner’s liability after an injury caused by their pet. The statute covers dog bites and non-bite injuries caused by the dog. The statute also states that the owner of a “dangerous dog” is liable if another person was injured, livestock was damaged, or if another person’s companion animal was injured due to the actions of this “dangerous dog.” 

However, what exactly makes a dog dangerous? The statute defines a dog as dangerous if it attacks, injures, or kills a person, another animal, or pet with no justification. It is also considered dangerous if it behaves in a way that causes a reasonable person to think that the dog is a threat of physical injury. Get in touch with our Great Neck NY personal injury attorney if you need a consultation after an injury. 

Strict Liability Dog-Bite Laws

From state to state, the dog-bite laws differ. In New York, a dog owner is strictly liable for all medical bills and damages that are associated with the injury caused by the dog. Under strict liability, the owner is liable even if they did not necessarily do anything wrong. It is important to note that you can only sue in some states if the dog bit you. But in most cases, you can even file a lawsuit for other injuries caused by the dog, such as when a dog knows you over or if the dog is chasing you on a bicycle and you get into an accident. 

How to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in New York 

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After determining that the dog owner is liable, you then need to demonstrate that your injuries were directly related to the dog bite. This is where the photos you took at the scene will come in handy. Your documentation should contain a complete list of costs, including any lost wages and time off due to doctor’s appointments, medical expenses, physical therapy costs, repairs to damaged property, etc.

Steps To Take If You Have Been Seriously Injured

After a serious injury, the most important thing to do is to seek medical attention. You want to also make sure to get the name and contact information of the owner. Next, you should take photos of the dog, any bites or other injuries sustained, and any property that has been damaged. Documenting the scene and getting any witnesses’ contact information will help your claim. You then will want to file a police report with the police or the local animal control. 

Now, it is time to contact the dog owner by writing them a letter including important information in regards to the accident. This includes a list of expenses, the state or local dog bite laws, a deadline for the payment, and mention that the homeowner’s insurance may cover the costs. Once you have gathered this information from them, you should speak to neighbors who have had interactions with this dog and find out if they have seen this dog bite or attack someone else. After all the steps mentioned above, you should consider filing a lawsuit. 

Defenses to Dog Bite Claims 

If you were bit or attacked by a dog and are looking to file a lawsuit, it is also important that you are aware of the possible defenses that a dog’s owner might raise. This includes:

  • The dog was a law enforcement dog carrying out duties, so it was not considered to be “dangerous.”
  • The dog was protecting its home against a trespasser or someone committing a crime on the property.
  • The dog was protecting its owner or itself.
  • The dog was reacting to suffering or pain. 
  • The dog was being tormented, abused, or assaulted by the person it bit. 

Contact Our Great Neck NY Personal Injury Attorney

If a dog has bitten you, contact our team at Tannenbaum, Bellantone & Silver, P.C. Our Great Neck NY personal injury attorney can review your case and explore your options. Schedule an appointment today!