Each year, about 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dog attacks can require extensive medical treatment, in addition to the possibility of painful and expensive vaccinations to protect the victim from rabies. Some dog attacks even lead to death, especially when the victim is a small child.
Dog bite laws in New York are complex, given that there are dog bite provisions in state, county and city laws. The legal responsibility of the pet owner is primarily determined by whether the dog was considered “dangerous” prior to the attack. Even if the dog was not yet considered dangerous, the pet owner may still be held accountable for medical costs or veterinary bills.
New York laws state that owners have strict liability for the damage or injuries caused by their pets, if previous vicious disposition can be established. This means that, if the dog has been previously declared dangerous or had clearly shown signs of being dangerous, the dog owner is responsible for any injuries the dog may cause, regardless of most circumstances. If this is the case, a dog bite victim may be able to sue to recover medical costs, lost income due to treatment and future lost income if return to work is not possible, property damage, other expenses and punitive damages. Punitive awards may be given to the dog bite victim to punish the dog owner for his/her negligence with a dangerous animal. Additionally, the dog owner may be subject to fines and may even be charged with a misdemeanor if the dog was previously considered dangerous and then the attack causes serious injury. New York state dog bite laws do not address provocation, meaning the dog owner may still be held responsible for the injuries caused by a dog previously declared dangerous, even if the victim provoked the dog.
New York Leash Laws
New York State leash laws require that a dog be “adequately restrained” on a leash no more than 6 feet in length when off its owner’s property. In New York, the state laws give localities the power to make leash laws, so they vary from city to city. Leash laws may not apply in certain designated off-leash recreation areas (commonly called “dog parks”).
Resources to Investigate Your Case
Proving a dog was known to be dangerous before it attacked is difficult and complicated. You need an attorney who is well versed in all of the dog bite laws for your area. Your lawyer must have the resources to rigorously investigate all aspects of the attack on you or your loved one, to collect evidence related to the claim, and to obtain expert testimony on your behalf. Presence of a “Beware of Dog” sign or the fact that the dog was chained up are not enough to imply the dog owner new of the dog’s viciousness.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or if you have lost a loved one in a dog bite incident, you deserve compensation. You need to hire an expert lawyer from a law firm with a stellar reputation for commitment to client satisfaction and maximum compensation. Contact the law offices of Oshman & Mirisola, LLP today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim.