An often-repeated sentiment about why so many people have dogs as pets is that they give unconditional love. And some statistics lend credibility to that statement. One-third of U.S. households contain canine buddies, and, for most, this cohabitation 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 more than 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. Possibly more if the dog has a history of vicious behavior.
If you need immediate answers right now, contact Hach & Rose, LLP today.
Why Do Some Dogs Bite People?
Most dogs naturally instinctually 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 the home or 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 entering attack mode if someone quickly moves that the dog perceives as a threat.
If A Dog has bitten you, First Things First: Attend to Your Injury
With all the advice on how owners should train their dogs, you or someone you love may still be 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 take care of the wound:
- Wash the area(s) and use a clean towel or sterile gauze to slow 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. If the animal’s aggressive behavior did not result from provocation, its owner could be found negligent for medical and 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 dog’s owner’s name, address, and contact information 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 bites or attacks 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 and negotiate with them for your compensation. That keeps 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 participating 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 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 a 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 Attorney for Help Today
If you, a loved one, or a pet have suffered serious injuries from 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, with no up-front fees. We get paid only when you do.