It is not difficult to imagine a scenario common place in many streets in urban parts of town: You are sitting at a table idly reading something on your phone when suddenly you are the victim of a surprise and unprovoked dog bite by a pit bull.
It is a crisis that involves a trip to a hospital, bandaging and medications to be able for a person to brave the pain and torment caused.
Afterward, you are left with a stance of zero accountability by the dog owner, and medical bills that can be staggeringly high and impossible to ever afford combined with other life expenses.
Understanding New York’s approach to resolving dog-bite incidents puts one in a better position to know the tell-tale signs of owner liability, and patterns that lead to place the blame on the injured party who caused the dog to react in the manner it did.
Below, you can discover New York’s dog-bite claims from beginning to end under New York law.
I. What Are the Most Common Dog-Bite Scenarios in New York?
According to New York common law principles on the blog of Greenstein & Millbauer, L.L.P., there are two established principles for determining who is at fault when a person is bitten by a dog.
According to Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P.’s blog, the first system is known as “strict liability,” which means that no matter how much care the dog owner exercised (or did not exercise) the court will hold the owner liable for the injury caused to the victim. New York does not follow this rule, as a skilled and competent New York dog-bite personal injury will inform you, as it combines the other common law approach known as the “one-bite” rule.
One-bite rule: Unless the owner knew that his or her dog has had dangerous propensities of threatening or biting others, then the owner will not be liable.
If the owner knows about the dog’s past violence toward others, then negligence by the owner demonstrated by the victim can place the owner on the hook for battery and emotional distress tort claims by the victim.
hen the second time it occurs, the owner will be liable and well-established New York common law, dog bites create a limited-version of strict liability for dog owners provided that these conditions are satisfied:
- The dog injured the passerby by biting him or her.
- The passerby was lawfully in a private place of the dog owner, or in a public place. Restatement (Second) of Torts §402A (American Law Institute 1965)
It does not matter if the owner knew that the dog could bite the victim. New York protects the victim against nonpayment for injuries by not requiring, in other words, the victim to establish that either:
- Negligence: The owner failed to provide a level of care similar to how a reasonable dog owner would have acted in the encounter with the victim of the dog bite.
- Negligence per se: The owner violated a safety ordinance or regulation.
- Scienter: Also known as the one-bite rule, the owner must be aware of the dog’s previous biting of another.
- Intentional Tort: The owner instructed the dog to bite or attack the victim giving rise to a criminal or civil claim for battery and/or assault.
An ordinary personal injury lawyer may not have the familiarity with the nuances in dog-bite law to bring the most successful theory of recovery. This makes it imperative to hire and consult a skilled New York dog-bite law firm with the resources to pursue a case zealously toward trial for maximum recovery for the victim’s injuries.
II. How to Present a Fool-Proof Case for a Dog-Bite Incident Under New York Law, Or How To Defend Against a Trespasser’s Claim for Injuries
According to NYC Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.A., common defenses permitted by a dog-owner in defending against a claim for injuries caused by the owner’s biting the victim are:
- If the victim was trespassing on the dog-owner’s property.
- Regardless of the dog’s vicious propensities, if the victim caused the animal to behave violently toward him or her.
- If dog was defending its owner from a perceived threat or dog attack close by to the owner.
- If the dog owner had warning signs to prevent trespassing, or warned of a guard dog on the premises with vicious propensities.
In these cases, a dog-bite lawsuit will fail, and the victim will not be able to recover payment of medical bills for the medical attention they sought, or the pain and suffering of experiencing a dog bite, no matter how severe and outrageous.
Under the doctrine of comparative fault, even if the dog-bite victim was responsible, in part, for causing the dog to bite him or her, this will not prevent recovery. Instead, the victim’s recovery will be reduced by a percentage as determined by the court that accounts for the victim’s blameworthiness of provoking the dog.
Whichever side of a dog-bite dispute you find yourself on—as the owner or victim—a well-trained and experienced NY dog-bite super lawyer can determine whether you case is valuable through usually a free case evaluation and initial free consultation.
III. Getting Legal Help with NYC Dog-Bite Incident and Dog-Bite Legal Issues
According to dog-bite specialist firm Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, L.L.P. based in New York City, time considerations determine what is the latest possible date for filing a dog-bite claim in court.
According to Friedman & Simon Injury Lawyers’ blog, New York City personal injury law, the time-limit is three years. After that time period, unless your New York dog-bite lawyer discovers that an exception applies—it is simply too late to file and you will not be able to recover any amount, regardless of whether disfigurement or death occurs, or how young the victim is. New York State Statutes Section 214.
According to Finkelstein & Partners, L.L.P., common-sense advice applies to pedestrians who have encountered a dog that could bite and would like to reduce the occurrence of a lawsuit:
- Not assuming every dog is gentle and benign by staying back from the unfamiliar animal.
- Due to the unpredictability of dogs’ primal nature to mark and defend a territory, try not to pet the dog
- Defensively, dog attacks may occur to persons who pet the dog while eating or sleeping.
- Not making eye-contact with a dog that could be perceived by a threat to the dog’s safety.
- Avoiding stray dogs.
- Not running from an aggressive dog tricking the dog into thinking a person is prey.
- After a dog bite, cleaning the puncture wound and reporting it to the local animal care and control agency, and/or Center for Disease Control (CDC).
- After falling, failing to curl into a ball and stay still.
There are factors experienced New York City dog-bite lawyers instruct their clients to be aware of to avoid a dog bite. But if you do become the unfortunate victim of a dog-bite, you should take the above common sense precautions and consult with a New York expert in dog-bite law immediately.
IV. Legal Advice and Legal Options: How A Brooklyn, New York Dog-Bite Lawyer’s Case Review Holds Wrongdoer Responsible
As many law offices in the state of New York have valuable legal aid and legal services to offer at high prices, there are some concerns likely how much a dog-bite super lawyer, trained at the best law school, is worth as your personal advocate.
Based on the wrinkles in the area of dog-bite law in New York, involving nuance and pitfalls for relatively new and inexperienced law firms, hiring an experienced NY dog-bite law firm, notably Jacoby & Myers, L.L.P., and Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., to create liability using all of the established pathways under New York law, and keeps informed of changes in case law allowing for greater damages—is invaluable relative to the fees dog-bite personal injury lawyers in New York charge, from between $199 to $420 per hour, per Clio.com’s 2021 statistics.
As a victim, most, if not all New York City dog-bite lawyers will be compensated on a contingency-fee basis. This means the lawyer takes a percentage as a legal commission, so to speak, allowing the client to bring a case without having to pay an advance or hourly rate that only more well-to-do clients have at their disposal.
Based on the skill and years of experience of the New York insurance lawyer responsible for handling claims against the real estate owned by the organization or other involved party, a client can recover greater amounts if the lawyer based his or her legal advice on the everchanging landscape of New York state law, including premise liability, contract law, tort law and familiarity with local ordinances and criminal regulations to successfully pursues a negligence per se case against a dog-owner’s whose dog has injured someone.
V. Why Should I Hire a Skilled New York Dog-Bite Personal Injury Super Lawyer?
In New York’s fast-changing city landscape pitting dog-owners amid innocent victims not being able to escape a dangerous dog-bite attack until it is too late, is important to have a law office that distinguishes itself from the competition.
Beyond general familiarity with dog-bite injuries and personal injury matters arising in civil litigation, a particularly skilled, seasoned, and accomplished NYC dog-bite lawyer will be intimately familiar with the most recent changes in New York dog-bite law to use in your favor—whether defending the dog-owner against unworthy claims, or the innocent victim for severe dog bite injuries.
Many top-rated law firms and super lawyers specialize in this niche practice area, including NYC dog-bite specialist Greenstein & Millbauer, L.L.P., New York metropolitan firms E. Stewart Jones, Hacker, Murphy, L.L.P., among others in New York City and New York State, offer legal aid and legal services that include an initial free consultation, typically including an initial disclaimer, helping you pursues the best course of action during a time of panic and despair.
In any case, you should be prepared to create a narrative of facts detailing everything that you remembered before, during and after the dog-bite incident leading up to the personal injury claim, including keeping meticulous records of expenses made during the litigation. As a dog-owner, the same rules apply to make sure you pay no more than you legally owe the victim for hyped up lawsuits not based on the facts.
VI. Forming an Attorney-Client Relationship: Get Free Case Review and Case Evaluation From Queens, Broadway, Or New York State Dog-Bite Injury Specialist Today
To avoid the tragedy of an innocent victim not being compensated for their serious bodily injuries suffered by being bitten by a vicious dog, or the unfair punishment to a dog-owner that involves an insurance or legal claim for a case when the bitten person clearly provoked the owner, it is necessary to retain a lawyer.
The attorney-client relationship forms upon consultation when you consider hiring the attorney. Once formed, this relationship helps prepare the client to bring a winning case to receive compensation where there is liability is clearly established in strict liability and avoid liability for claims that have no support in fact or law and are mere conjecture and conspiracy.
With directories spanning New York State dog-bite accident lawyers and dog-bite law firms, Lawsuit.org, beyond your local bar association, or public law school library, or state bar office, offers premier legal advertising helping you pinpoint the right firm.
Your newly hired advocate will likely be versed with other areas of law than landlord tenant law, including probate, estate planning and business law. Don’t hesitate to ask for a free consultation and case valuations so regardless of your status as landlord or tenant, you receive the justice you need.