Dogs have earned the title of “man’s best friend,” as they are often affectionate, social creatures. In most cases, encounters with other peoples’ dogs are pleasant, or at least unremarkable. However, that is not always the case. Canines of any breed can viciously bite or otherwise attack children and adults. When dog bites occur, they can lead to costly, serious, and long-lasting physical injuries or even death. Being attacked by a dog can also result in severe emotional trauma. These injuries may make it difficult, or even impossible, to for a temporary period or to ever work again.
Dog bite victims in New York have rights. The experienced dog bite injury lawyers at Halperin & Halperin, P.C. are committed to helping New York dog bite victims and their loved ones pursue those rights and recover the compensation they deserve.
Risk of Common Dog Bite Injuries
Just as any breed of dog can bite a human, anyone can be bitten by a dog. Unfortunately, injuries sustained from dog bites occur all too frequently. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 893 dog bite claims filed in the state of New York in 2019, out of 17,802 dog bite claims nationwide. Nationally, this represents a 2.9 percent increase over 2018 claims and a 5.2 percent increase since 2003. Keep in mind that these statistics only represent those dog bites which resulted in claims against homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies; the actual number of dog bite attacks is significantly higher than these numbers would suggest. In fact, the CDC estimates that millions of people suffer dog bites each year in the U.S.
Types of Compensable Injuries from Dog Bites
The severity of dog bites can range from mild to severe. The dog bite attorneys at Halperin & Halperin, P.C. work with victims who sustain a variety of injuries, including the following:
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
- Torn tendons, ligaments, or muscles
- Emotional trauma
Understanding New York’s Liability and Compensation Laws
Attorneys who work with dog bite victims seek to help their clients obtain the best possible outcomes for their cases. Dog bite compensation amounts vary, depending on facts and circumstances specific to a case.
In New York, dog bite victims who are able to prove the elements of their cases are generally entitled to obtain compensation for their medical expenses related to the dog bites. Victims may also be able to recover additional damages from responsible parties. However, such compensation is not automatic or guaranteed. The state’s “one-bite rule” limits the ability of victims to recover damages in situations where the offending dog has never previously bitten anyone else and has not shown aggression toward anyone.
But, if a dog’s owner knew or should have known about the animal’s propensity toward violence, someone who was injured by the dog may have a valid claim for damages. Dog owners who faced previous complaints about their dogs’ behavior, owners who muzzle their dogs, and owners of dogs that are known to fight with other animals, bare their teeth, or growl, are typically deemed to have knowledge that their animals could be violent. Similarly, dog owners who previously escaped liability under the “one-bite rule” are potentially liable for injuries sustained in subsequent dog bites.
It can be difficult to determine the potential value of a dog bite claim on your own. An experienced New York dog bite injury attorney will work closely with you to evaluate the available evidence and provide guidance on your case.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
What you do after a dog attack can help, or hurt, your claim for damages. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a dog bite, take the following steps:
- Seek medical care. It is important to seek medical attention after a dog bite. The full extent of your injuries may not be immediately obvious without evaluation by a medical professional. Follow all after-care instructions your provider gives you and keep any follow-up appointments.
- Document your injuries. As soon as practical, document your injuries as thoroughly as possible. This includes making note of the date, time, and location of the attack, including documenting your right to be at that location when the dog bite occurred. If there were witnesses to the dog bite, make notes of their contact information and ask them to provide statements of what they witnessed.
- Identify the dog’s owner. If you are able, identify the owner of the dog that bit you and document their name and contact information. Sometimes this information is not readily available; in that case, your attorney can help uncover the dog owner’s identity.
- Report the bite. New York City victims can call ‘311’ to report that they were bitten. The NYC Health website also includes online form victims can use to report dog bites within 24 hours of the attack.
- Contact a Dog Bite Attorney. Consulting a lawyer who works with dog bite victims can help you evaluate your options and determine appropriate next steps. Don’t wait too long to take this step; dog bite victims in New York have three years from the date of the attack to file lawsuits.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite can be stressful. Knowledgeable dog bite attorneys work hard to make the process as smooth as possible for their clients. Your lawyer will handle case details, communications, and negotiations, working directly with the dog owner, the owner’s attorney, and their insurance company.
If you or your child was bitten by a dog, you have recourse. The experienced, skilled dog bite lawyers at Halperin & Halperin, P.C. are dedicated to fighting for victims’ rights, holding dog owners responsible for their animals’ behavior, and helping the injured recover the compensation they are owed. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation with a New York dog bite lawyer today.