Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2022 at 2:00 pm
When Can I Be Compensated for a Dog Bite?
An often-repeated sentiment about why so many people have dogs as pets is that they give unconditional love. And there are statistics that lend credibility to that statement: one-third of U.S. households contain canine buddies, and, for most, this co-habitation has more positives than negatives.
Unfortunately, the number of dog bites that occur annually that are serious enough for a trip to the hospital is in excess of 300,000. Some dog bites can even lead to death. So while dog owners are not about to find Fido another home because the possibility exists that someday their ‘best friend’ may injure someone, it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone who comes near their pet.
If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured due to a dog bite, the animal’s owner can be held responsible for your medical and/or veterinary expenses, and possibly more, if the dog has a history of vicious behavior.
Why Do Some Dogs Bite People?
Most dogs have a natural instinct to run after anything that moves, including people, so owners should take steps to curtail that behavior. The first one is obvious: a dog parent should always keep their dog leashed when he is not in the confines of home or in a secure outdoor dog run. When dog walking, the owner should have a whistle handy to get the dog’s attention if he strains at the leash. This could prevent the animal from going into attack mode if someone makes a quick movement that the dog perceives as a threat.
If You Have Been Bitten by a Dog, First Things First: Attend to Your Injury
With all of the advice out there on how owners should train their dogs, you or someone you love may still end up being the victim of a dog bite. If you, a companion, or your pet is bitten or mauled by a dog, the first thing you must do is to take care of the wound:
- Gently wash the area(s) and use a clean towel or sterile gauze to slow any bleeding.
- Use an anti-bacterial salve on the affected area if available.
- Carefully bandage the wound.
- Get professional medical care as soon as possible.
- Report the incident to the local health department because they may suggest or require a rabies shot for the injured party.
You might not realize how serious the bite is at first. It may look as though you or the injured party has soft tissue damage and nothing more. But if the laceration goes deep enough, it could damage internal organs or result in long-term disability. Once you have treated the wound, contact an experienced personal injury attorney because if the animal’s aggressive behavior was not the result of provocation, its owner could be found negligent for medical as well as other expenses.
Record as Much Information as Possible Relating to the Incident
The dog who bit you may have a history of aggressive behavior, and, if this is the case, any information you can gather and document may help to prove your case if, at some point, you file a personal injury claim.
- Write down the name, address, and contact information of the dog’s owner if possible.
- If someone witnessed the attack or is familiar with the dog, get that individual’s name and contact information.
- Record the time, date, and location where the attack occurred.
- Take photos of the injury, the spot where the accident occurred, and any identifying street signs or landmarks nearby.
If the dog who bit or attacked you belongs to a friend, you may be worried about the relationship you share if you decide to pursue compensation for your injuries. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover this sort of accident. Your attorney can file an insurance claim on your behalf and negotiate with them for the money you need, keeping the tension between you and your friend to a minimum.
What the Law Says About Getting Compensated for Your Dog Bite Injury
In New York, Assembly Bill A2575A states that dog owners are strictly liable for medical expenses that result from an incident where their dog bit and injured another person or animal. (Dogs that participate in law enforcement work and service dogs are exempt from this statute.) You have three years from the date of the incident to file a claim.
If the dog has a history of aggressive behavior, it may be termed vicious or dangerous. In New York State, the following factors help determine whether a dog is a known danger to others:
- A dog who, without provocation, causes injury or death to an individual or to another animal
- A dog that displays threatening behavior such as barking, baring teeth, and/or lunging at people or other animals
- A dog who, without provocation, attacks a service dog of any kind and causes injury or death
The burden of proof that the dog has a history of or the propensity for dangerous behavior rests with the victim. Proving this could be difficult without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Call a Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today
If you, a loved one, or a pet have suffered serious injuries because of a dog bite, call (212) 779-0057 and speak to the highly experienced New York personal injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP. Our firm, established by Gregory Hach and Michael Rose, has won more than $500 million in compensation for our clients who have suffered due to the negligence of others. Contact us today by filling out our online form or chatting with us. Our case review is free and confidential, and there are no up-front fees. We get paid only when you do.