Injuries Commonly Caused by Dog Bites
Many people assume that dog bites are not that serious. Unfortunately, dog bites can cause debilitating, devastating injuries, especially when children are the victims. Every year, over 325,000 people visit emergency rooms across the country after being bitten by dogs. Approximately 10,000 dog bite victims must be hospitalized because their injuries are so severe. Victims of dog bites can suffer all of the following types of injuries:
* Laceration and cuts, especially to the face, neck, and head
* Broken bones
* Soft tissue injuries, including strains, sprains, and bruises
* Head injuries
* Crushing injuries
* Spinal cord injuries
* Wrongful death
Does New York Have a “One Dog Bite” Rule?
No, New York has a mix of the one-bite rule and strict liability. Dog owners are strictly liable for the expenses of medical bills related to their dog’s attack. However, dog owners are only liable for additional damages the victim suffers if the dog owner knew, or should have known, that the dog had a history of viciousness. Last, a dog bite victim can hold the dog owner strictly liable for his or her medical bills, but not any other damages, unless the victim can prove the dog had been vicious in the past.
However, if the dog owner was negligent in caring for the dog, the victim can recover additional damages. Suppose a dog owner failed to fix a fence they knew was broken. The dog got out and bit someone. In that case, the victim may be able to recover additional damages even if the dog had never shown signs of viciousness before.
What Constitutes “Vicious Propensities”
Under New York law, courts will impose strict liability when a dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had “vicious propensities.” Proving that the dog who attacked you had vicious propensities can help your case significantly. You will not have to prove that the owner acted negligently to recover compensation if you can show that the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s viciousness. Instead, the owner will be strictly liable for all of your damages. There are several ways victims can show that the dog had shown evidence of a vicious propensity to bite, including the following:
* The dog fought with other animals
* The dog out regularly bared its teeth or growled
* The owner had to use a dog muzzle when taking the dog outside
* There have been previous complaints about the dog’s viciousness
Leash Laws in New York
The State of New York does not have a leash law, but cities and municipalities have their own lease requirements. Syracuse, for instance, requires owners to keep dogs on a leash in public spaces. When a dog owner violates a leash law and the dog bites someone, the owner’s failure to abide by local laws can help the victim prove their case.
Damages Available Through a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If a dog has bitten you, you are probably wondering how much your case is worth. Under New York law, you can hold a dog owner strictly liable for your medical bills and expenses related to your dog bite. You will be able to hold the dog owner accountable whether or not the dog showed signs of viciousness in the past.
It is important to keep records of your medical expenses to estimate the total value of your medical bills. If the dog who bit you has shown viciousness in the past before biting you, you could be entitled to additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, including money for:
* Lost wages
* Plastic or corrective surgery
* Reduced earning capacity
* Emotional distress
* Pain and suffering
* Loss of enjoyment of life
* Scarring and disfigurement
Maximizing Your Settlement or Verdict
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to file an insurance claim. In other cases, you may need to bring a personal injury lawsuit. If you are filing an insurance claim, it is crucial that you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Stanley Law Offices, our goal is to maximize the settlement amount or verdict for our clients. Our attorneys have spent years establishing relationships with some of the best personal injury experts in New York.
We will investigate your dog bite case, relying on medical and financial experts for their valuable inside information. Once we understand the total value of your claim and how your dog bite injuries will affect you for the rest of your life, we will estimate the value of your case. We will begin the negotiation process with the defendant or the insurance company and advocate for you to receive a full amount of compensation for your past, present, and future damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in New York?
Thinking about filing a lawsuit after being injured by a dog can be overwhelming. It may take you a while to get back on your feet after you have been involved in a vicious dog attack. Even then, you will probably be coming to terms with your new normal and the reality of a permanent disability. However, you cannot wait to assert your right to compensation after a dog bite. If you wait too long to file a personal injury lawsuit, you will risk missing out on the money you deserve.
In New York state, dog bite victims only have three years to bring a lawsuit after being bitten. You may have more or less time to bring a lawsuit, depending on the specific facts of your case. One of the best things you can do is consult with a personal injury lawyer. The sooner you call Stanley Law Offices, the sooner we can get started representing you.