Dog Bite Lawyer

There are over 600,000 dogs in New York City, one for almost every six households.  When a dog bites someone, whether it be a child, neighbor or worker, it can cause significant injury.

Canine behaviors can be unpredictable. It is up to a dog’s owner to prevent dog bites, especially if the owner has reason to know of the animal’s vicious propensities. As a victim of a dog bite attack in New York City, you need a team of professional lawyers on your side. You need Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C.

New York’s Dog Bite Laws

New York is unique from most other states in that it does not follow one dog bite statute, but instead it follows two statues. New York is a “mixed” state in terms of dog bite laws. It will follow strict liability rules in some situations, and the one-bite rule (scienter) in others. If a dog is “dangerous,” the owner or possessor will be strictly liable for medical costs. A “dangerous” dog is one that attacks, injures, or kills a person, domestic animal, farm animal, or companion animal.

A dog may also be dangerous if it behaves in ways that would make a reasonable person believe there is a foreseeable risk of an attack. There are several breed-specific laws in the State of New York that deem certain types of dogs dangerous. If an owner harbors a dog on this list and it bites someone, he or she may be strictly liable for medical costs based on New York’s negligence per se laws.

The one-bite rule comes into play for damages other than medical expenses. The plaintiff will need to prove the dog’s owner knew or reasonably should have known that the pet was dangerous at the time of the attack to receive compensation for related medical bills. These costs may include medications, surgeries, and shots to prevent disease and infection. The one-bite rule centers on the legal doctrine of negligence.

Possible Defenses in a Dog Bite Case

You might think that if someone’s dog bites you, the owner is automatically liable to pay for at least your medical bills. Yet, in some cases, your own actions might bar you from recovery. There are several possible defenses the New York courts allow in dog bite claims. One such defense is that the plaintiff was trespassing at the time of the attack or trying to commit a crime. If the dog attacked as a means of protecting its home, puppies, owner, or itself, the courts may not hold the owner liable.

Another defense is that the dog was reacting to pain or suffering and did not bite out of viciousness. If the defendant can prove the plaintiff provoked the attack by tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog, the courts will rule in the defendant’s favor. Finally, if a dog was carrying out its duties as a law enforcement animal when it bit the plaintiff, the law does not deem this dog “dangerous.” To maximize your odds of compensation after a dog bite in NYC, retain an attorney. Submit our contact form and we’ll get back to you right away.