New York City Dog Bite Attorney
Encountering dogs in New York City is a regular, commonplace occurrence. Hundreds of people walk their dogs through Central Park and downtown daily. Four-legged friends usually don’t cause any trouble – but it’s always a possibility. When a negligent owner lets his or her dog run at large or doesn’t prevent a dangerous dog from biting someone, serious injuries can occur. New York’s dog bite laws are unique in that they blend together two different doctrines. Look no further than Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP for help from a reliable New York City dog bite attorney.
New York Dog Bite Laws
New York doesn’t have just one dog bite law. Instead, it combines strict liability and negligence rules for its dog bite doctrine. Strict liability means that the courts will hold the dog’s owner or possessor strictly responsible for the actions of the dog, regardless of whether or not the owner was negligent. According to a negligence-based dog bite statute, the courts must find the owner guilty of some form of negligence to be liable. For example, if the owner let his or her dog off the leash when the owner knew the dog might bite someone.
In NYC, the courts will hold a dog’s owner strictly liable for all medical bills that result from a dog bite injury. It does not matter whether or not the owner was negligent – he or she will have to pay for the victim’s medical costs. These can include hospital visits, rabies vaccines, medications, surgeries, and other treatment expenses. For all other costs of a dog bite injury, the courts will follow negligence laws. The plaintiff will have to prove that the dog’s owner failed to control the dog, failed to protect others from a dog’s dangerous behaviors, or failed to warn people of the possible risks. Because of this, hiring a competent New York City personal injury attorney experienced in dog bites is crucial to maximizing compensation.
Negligence-based dog bite laws are often called “one bite” rules. The owner will be liable for failing to prevent injury if the dog has previously bitten someone or showed aggressive behaviors in the past. Propensity for violence requires the owner to take steps to reasonably prevent harm to others. Failure to do so, resulting in a dog bite or other damage, is negligence. To win compensation under the negligence laws, the plaintiff and his or her New York city dog bite attorney will have to prove that the owner reasonably should have known of the dog’s propensity for violence, yet did nothing to prevent it from biting someone.
How to File a Dog Bite Report
After seeking medical care, the next step you should take after a dog bite attack in New York City is to file a report of the incident. You may be hesitant to do so if you know the owner of the dog, but your action could protect other, more vulnerable victims. If you later decide to file a personal injury claim, it’s a critical step that could help you later. The report will create an additional record of the incident, and it can become evidence during a lawsuit.
Dog bite reports also help with enforcement of New York dog bite laws. Depending on the outcome of animal control’s investigation, the dog’s owner may need to carry additional insurance to help cover damages if any future incidents occur. It also encourages owners to take more caution with their dogs to prevent future attacks.
If you do not know the owner of the dog, it is even more important to file a timely report. Your notice will allow animal control to track down the animal and determine if it has rabies. While the risk of a dog in New York City having with rabies is low, scientists haven’t eradicated the disease. Confirming this fact can help you receive proper treatment for your injuries.
When dog attacks are the result of abuse and neglect, animal control can also protect the animal by removing it from the owner’s custody.
Filing the Report
You should prioritize medical treatment over all else in the aftermath of the attack, but be sure to file your report after your wounds have received treatment and you have all relevant contact information of the owner and other witnesses.
New York City Health Code requires the reporting of all animal attacks and allows you to file dog and other animal bite reports online. To complete this form, you will need:
- The date of the incident
- The type of animal
- The animal’s ownership status
- Breed and any other color descriptions of the animal
- Victim name and contact information
- Details of any injuries
- The location of the incident
- Whether the victim has received medical treatment
- The animal owner’s contact information
- The contact information of the person reporting the incident if not the dog owner or victim
The victim, the dog owner, or a third-party witness may file the initial dog bite report. The report will be complete once you’ve submitted all relevant information. For incidents involving more than one victim, the involved parties may need to file more than one report.
The Aftermath of the Report
Local animal control will investigate the incident once you have filed a dog bite report. You must cooperate with the investigation, which may include subpoenas, witness interviews, and court hearings to determine the details of the attack. Animal control may issue penalties to the dog owner or even remove the animal from the owner’s care, depending on the results of the investigation.
While animal control may extract penalties from the incident, you will still need to complete your own personal injury claim to receive full compensation for your injuries and other financial or emotional damages. The details of the investigation can become further evidence for your case.
Dog owners should also take appropriate steps following a report and during an investigation, including cooperating with animal control officers. An owner may face fines, penalties, loss of pet ownership, increased insurance rates, and even criminal charges for negligent ownership, depending on the severity of the attack.
As victims and dog owners may enter a lawsuit, both parties should take steps to receive proper legal help. The NYC dog bite lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, can help you understand the relevant dog bite laws and how they apply to your case.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in NYC
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, both physical and emotional. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in NYC, it is important to take the proper steps afterward for both your health and any potential lawsuit. Failure to take timely action can result in medical complications and a loss of your right to claim compensation. To discuss your options, talk with one of our New York City dog bite attorneys.
Seek Medical Care
Be sure to get proper medical care after suffering an injury. Dog bites may seem simple, but they have the potential for infection due to the dog’s saliva and other outside bacteria. You may also face a risk of rabies from a dog bite. Have any other wounds from the attack, such as scratches or fall injuries, checked by medical personnel.
Beyond preventing further additional injuries, seeking immediate medical care will help you in the process of filing your case. Your medical record will show a complete history of the extent of your injuries. If you are able, take pictures of your injuries before receiving treatment because this can help with documentation.
Identify the Owner
New York law dictates dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their pet if the courts consider the dog to be dangerous. Identify the dog’s owner and exchange relevant contact and insurance information. This information will be necessary if you decide to proceed with a personal injury claim. You will need a record of the dog’s vaccinations from the owner for your own care.
Gather Witness Information
Gather the contact information of anyone who witnessed the dog bite attack. Additional witness testimonies can help cement the facts of the incident in the event of a lawsuit.
Report the Attack
Report the incident to your local animal control agency, especially if you are uncertain of the dog’s owner. An animal control investigation helps prevent the dog from injuring others and can contribute to your case. You may also report the incident to your local police department.
Document the Dog Bite
Medical records and photos of your injuries provide evidence for your case, but you can do more to help your case. Write down your account of the events in as much detail as you can, as soon as possible after the incident. You don’t want to confuse any facts as time passes. Keep a written record of how the injury is affecting your life.
Also, document any conversations you have about the dog bite with the dog owner, the witnesses, and even insurance companies. Keep all medical bills and other expenses related to your injuries. The more comprehensive evidence you can provide to the court about your case, the better position you will be in to receive the proper amount of compensation.
Contact an Attorney
Since you will likely be dealing with the dog owner’s insurance company after an attack, it helps to have a lawyer on your side. An experienced New York City dog bite lawyer will know how to negotiate with the other party, conduct a proper investigation, will have a comprehensive understanding of how to calculate your appropriate amount of compensation, and understand how to handle New York’s dog bite laws.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in New York is three years from the date of injury, including dog bite injuries, but you do not want to wait to start your claim. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, don’t wait. Contact a skilled New York City dog bite attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, today to schedule your free consultation and start the path to your rightful compensation.
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims in NYC
Dog bites can cause a variety of damages for victims, both economic and noneconomic. Through the evaluation of the case and injuries, the court determines the proper compensation amount to award the injured party. Since New York works on a strict liability basis, owners are responsible for any attacks by a dangerous dog, meaning victims are likely to recover compensation for their injuries.
When your dog bite injury results in medical bills, you have the right to compensation for those bills. Any treatments for your bite wounds or conditions brought about by the attack count as part of the damages you can recover. This includes injuries that aggravate pre-existing conditions. If you already had an injury that the attack worsened, those medical bills would also be part of your compensation.
Most dog bites require only a set amount of treatment, but some wounds are so severe that they can cause permanent medical problems that require ongoing treatment, such as nerve damage. When these types of damages occur, future medical expenses are also a part of your compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Beyond the concrete amounts of economic damages that come from medical bills, injuries can also cause pain and emotional suffering. Some treatment procedures are painful, and dog attacks can become a source of psychological suffering, leading to conditions of anxiety, shock, depression, PTSD and other conditions.
While it is difficult to determine an exact numerical amount to provide fair compensation for pain and suffering, the court will still issue an award that is reasonable to the circumstances of the injury. NYC dog bite attorneys may base pain and suffering amounts on multiplying medical bills, effects of permanent disabilities, the age of the victim, and possible future suffering due to further medical treatments, depending on the case.
If your injury is severe enough to require time off work for recovery and results in lost income, you may be eligible to recover part of or all your missed income for the time taken off due to your wounds. You may also receive this form of compensation if you can still attend work, but only under limited circumstances, as long as you have lost income as a result.
Loss of Consortium or Services
When dog bite attacks create enough of a psychological effect to impact relationships between victims and spouses, they may receive loss of consortium or services. This type of damage may also occur when the attack affects relationships between parents and children.
If an owner already has knowledge that his or her dog is dangerous and does not take proper steps to prevent an attack, the owner may pay increased amounts of damages to the victim. These damages can also occur when the dog has previously bitten another victim.
In some cases, excessively negligent or reckless behavior on the part of the dog owner may result in punitive damages. These damages are not to cover financial or emotional hardship on the part of the victim, but instead to discourage further reckless and negligent action on the part of the owner. The courts may award punitive damages if the dog owner knew his or her pet had vicious tendencies and yet repeatedly allowed the animal to roam free without any supervision.
With so many types of potential damages in a dog bite case, it can be hard for victims to understand the full scope of what they can recover. With our qualified New York City dog bite attorneys on your side, you can rest easy knowing we’ll fight to earn you every applicable damage reward to help you on the path to recovery from your injuries.
Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP | Your New York City Dog Bite Lawyers
The dog’s owner may be willing to pay for your medical costs, but only an official claim can result in compensation for your other losses. The team of attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP has helped dog bite victims in New York recover for their pain and suffering, missed time at work, and other harms on top of medical bills. Contact us for more information and to schedule your free legal consultation.