Dog bite cases can become messy quickly. You may initially decide not to hold the dog’s owner liable for your injuries, especially if they are a friend or neighbor. But as the bills pile up, you may rethink your decision.
You may have a few options for seeking compensation after a dog bite, depending on the circumstances of your case. Learn more about the compensation process, then contact an experienced dog bite lawyer in New York City for assistance.
New York’s Dog Bite Laws
As many as 4.5 million dog bite incidents happen each year, leading to significant injuries and even death. New York’s dog bite laws seek to prevent dog bites and hold dog owners accountable for their pets’ violent behavior.
Under New York Agriculture & Markets Code 69.7.123, a dog’s owner is strictly liable for injuries if the dog is classified as a “dangerous dog.” A “dangerous dog” under this law meets either of the following criteria:
- The dog has attacked, injured, or killed a pet, farm animal, or person without justification.
- The dog has behaved in a way suggesting to any reasonable person that the dog poses an imminent threat of injury or death.
If the dog that bit you meets neither criterion, you may be unable to hold the dog’s owner strictly liable for your injuries. However, your dog bite attorney can help you collect evidence showing the dog had a history of violence or a predisposition to biting.
Methods of Seeking Compensation After a Dog Bite
If the dog that bit you was a “dangerous dog” under New York law, you can seek compensation through two different methods. Speak with a dog bite injury lawyer about which of the following compensation methods may be right for your case.
Liability Insurance Claim
Generally, the first way to seek compensation for a dog bite is through the dog owner’s liability insurance.
You’ll likely file a claim through their homeowner’s insurance regardless of whether the accident took place at the owner’s home, in public, or anywhere else. However, different policies have different requirements for where they will cover dog bites.
Through a liability claim, you can seek compensation up to the dog owner’s coverage limits. However, New York law does not require residents to carry homeowner’s insurance. There’s a chance the dog owner does not have liability insurance, or their policy will not adequately cover all your expenses from the accident.
Premises Liability Lawsuit
Serious dog bite injuries often warrant legal action against the dog’s owner. If the owner’s insurance policy doesn’t sufficiently cover your expenses, or you want to seek non-economic damages, a dog bite lawsuit may become necessary.
Your dog bite attorney will walk you through the entire legal process and handle as many of the steps for you as possible. Through a premises liability lawsuit, you can seek compensation for the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Time off work
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the dog’s owner provoked their dog or otherwise intentionally caused the accident, you may also be eligible for punitive damages. These damages would come directly from the owner’s bank account to punish them for wrongful behavior. They are separate from any criminal charges placed on the owner.
Proving Liability in a Dog Bite Claim
In a dog bite insurance claim or lawsuit, the burden of proof falls on you and your attorney. You must show that the dog’s owner was liable for the accident. This involves proving the following elements:
- The person you are suing is the dog’s owner and was responsible for the dog (i.e., the dog wasn’t stray)
- The dog is a “dangerous dog” under New York law
- You did not provoke the dog or otherwise cause it to bite you
- The dog bite incident directly caused your injuries or other damages
Your attorney can help gather evidence proving all of these points. Compelling evidence may include:
- Adoption records signifying that the defendant is the dog’s legal owner
- Testimonies from witnesses of the dog bite
- Testimonies from neighbors of the dog owner saying that the dog has previously acted dangerously
- Veterinarian evaluations of the dog and its behavior
- Medical records showing that the dog attack caused your injuries
Ross & Hill: Experienced New York Dog Bite Lawyers
Unfortunately, serious dog bites are all too common in NYC. New York City sees as many as 6,000 emergency department visits related to dog bite injuries each year.
Filing a dog bite claim or lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially while dealing with significant injuries. Let our experienced dog bite lawyers at Ross & Hill guide you through the compensation process.
We’ve helped numerous NYC residents navigate dog bite claims and maximize compensation. Contact Ross & Hill today at 718-855-2324 for your free consultation. Then, learn other examples of premises liability cases and how an attorney can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which dogs are at the highest risk for biting humans?
According to a 2019 study, pit bulls and mixed breeds pose the highest risk of biting humans and causing damage. Other breeds with an elevated risk of biting include Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, and malamutes.
Can you sue for a dog bite in NY?
You can sue a dog owner for a dog bite if the owner is strictly liable under New York law and their insurance does not provide adequate compensation for your injuries. Talk to your dog bite attorney about whether a lawsuit makes sense for your case.
How much money can you secure from a dog bite?
The amount of money you are eligible for after a dog bite depends on the dog owner’s liability, the severity of your injuries, and whether you are eligible for punitive damages. If the dog’s owner is strictly liable for your injuries, your dog bite lawyer will help you secure at least an amount equal to the direct expenses resulting from the accident.