Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury in NYC?

A dog is one of the most popular pets in New York City and likely lives on every street. Dogs are still animals, and animals can be dangerous. If a dog bit you, the dog’s owner can be held liable. However, holding someone liable for a dog bite is tricky.

The laws surrounding dog bite cases in NYC are surprisingly complex. How you pursue your claim depends on what kind of damages you need covered, how the dog bite happened, and whether the dog is considered “dangerous.” In the end, you can typically hold the dog’s owner liable for your injuries and get your medical expenses paid for.

If another person’s dog recently bit you, you might be recovering from serious injuries. Our New York City dog bite injury attorneys can help you hold the dog’s owner liable for your damages. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.

Dog Bite Laws in New York City

Dog bite incidents follow a somewhat complex bundle of laws. The legal procedures involved in your case depend on how the bite incident occurred and who you believe is responsible. Our New York City personal injury attorneys can help you file your claim and navigate the complicated process of getting compensation.

Many dog bite cases fall under laws of strict liability. Under a theory of strict liability, a defendant might be liable for dog bite injuries from a “dangerous dog,” whether or not they were negligent, and even if the dog had no previous instances of biting. However, this kind of recovery only pays for medical bills.

A “one-bite” law permits dog bite victims to sue a dog owner if the dog had previously bitten someone else or otherwise has a history to show it to have a “vicious propensity.” In these cases, the defendant should have known about the dog’s propensity to bite because it had happened before. This can help you recover damages beyond medical expenses.

You should also be mindful of possible defenses the dog’s owner might assert in your case. Generally, dog owners might not be liable when victims provoke the animal to bite, the dog is in pain, or the dog is protecting someone.

Dog Bites and Liability for a Dangerous Dog in New York City

According to AGM Law § 123(10), dog owners can be held strictly liable for medical costs that result from the dog bite injury. However, the dog in question must be evaluated and deemed a “dangerous dog,” as the next section explains.

If an Injured plaintiff suffered any other damages, they must sue separately for those other damages. This claim must also satisfy the one-bite rule. For example, suppose that your injuries were so severe when the dog bit you that you lost an entire month of work and income. Also, suppose that the dog had bitten someone in the past, showing it had a vicious propensity. You can claim the value of your lost earnings as part of your damages, alongside other damages. Our Brooklyn personal injury lawyers can help you cover all costs related to your dog bite injuries in cases like these.

Dog bite cases are notoriously complex. There are rules regarding strict liability, but these rules only kick in after a dog is determined to be dangerous.

What Do I Have to Prove in a Dog Bite Injury Case in New York City?

Before you can hold a dog owner strictly liable for a bite-related injury, you must prove the dog is a “dangerous dog.” According to AGM Law § 123 (2), you must file a complaint with a municipal judge about the dog bite incident. If the judge finds enough probable cause to believe the dog may be a dangerous dog, they can hold a hearing on the matter, where you must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the dog is a dangerous dog.

Clear and convincing evidence is an evidentiary standard of proof. This standard requires proving that your evidence that the dog is a dangerous dog is substantially more likely to be true than untrue. You must convince the judge that it is highly probable the dog in question attacked without provocation or justification. This does not mean there can be no room for doubt. As such, this is a somewhat lower burden to overcome. Our Long Island personal injury attorneys can help you prove the dog in your case was indeed dangerous.

Once a dog is deemed dangerous, the owner is strictly liable for your medical bills from the injury. The court might also impose penalties against the dog’s owner or require the dog to be put down.

Using the Details of Your Dog Bite Incident to Support Your Claims in New York City

In your dog bite case, it is important to consider the situation from all possible angles, including the possible defenses the dog’s owner will assert. While a dog may be deemed a dangerous dog for biting people, not every instance of a bite means a dog is dangerous. You can use the details of your case to negate the defenses and counterarguments asserted by the defendant.

There are several circumstances under which a dog bite might not be the dog owner’s fault. For example, if a bite victim allegedly provoked the dog to bite, the owner might not be liable. However, the owner is liable if the bite happened without justification.

It is usually okay to jokingly tease a dog while playing or showing affection. A dangerous dog might bite as a reaction to playful teasing, which we can argue is a bite without justification. The act of playing with a dog should not be construed as provoking it, and safe dogs should not be provoked by this kind of behavior.

A bite that involves some justification may involve a dog protecting its puppies or protecting its owner. If a dog were to attack under these circumstances, a defendant might argue the attack was justified and the dog does not qualify as a dangerous dog. We can argue that your behavior toward the dog, its owner, or its puppies was not enough to provoke an attack, and the bite was without justification.

There is also a special exception carved out for police dogs who are trained to bite and attack wrongdoers.

Contact Our New York City Dog Bite Injury Attorneys

If a dog recently bit you, the dog’s owner should be held liable for your painful injuries. Call our Queens personal injury attorney for advice on how to get compensation. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.