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New York Dog Bite Lawyer

According to data from the New York State Department of Health, there were approximately 17,000 dog bites reported in New York State in 2019 and over 6000 in New York City alone. However, it's important to note that not all dog bites are reported, so the actual number may be higher. Additionally, while most dog bites are minor, some can be severe and even life-threatening, particularly for children and the elderly. Dog bites can result in significant physical and emotional damage, including scarring, infections, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dog owners in New York are responsible for keeping their pets under control and ensuring that they do not pose a danger to others. When a dog owner fails to take these necessary precautions, they may be held liable for any injuries their dog causes. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in New York, it's essential to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable and experienced New York dog bite lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates we have extensive experience representing victims of dog bites in New York and can provide the compassionate and aggressive representation you need to achieve a successful outcome.

Strict Liability for Dog Owners in New York

New York law holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dogs. This means that the owner is responsible for any damages resulting from their dog's actions, regardless of whether the owner knew or should have known of the dog's vicious propensities. See Agriculture & Markets Law Section 121(1).

In other words, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown any signs of aggression, the owner can still be held liable for a dog bite. This is different from some other states, which have a "one-bite rule" or require the victim to prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous tendencies.

However, there are some exceptions to strict liability in New York. For example, if the victim was trespassing or committing a crime at the time of the dog bite, the owner may not be held liable. Additionally, if the dog was provoked, the owner may not be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Common Injuries in a Dog Attack

Dog attacks can cause a range of injuries, some of which can be severe or even life-threatening. Common injuries that can occur in a dog attack include:

  • Puncture wounds and lacerations: Dogs have sharp teeth and strong jaws that can cause deep puncture wounds and lacerations.
  • Broken bones: The force of a dog's attack can cause fractures or breaks in bones, particularly in the hands, wrists, and arms.
  • Infections: Dog bites can cause infections from bacteria in the dog's mouth or on its skin, which can lead to serious health complications.
  • Scarring and disfigurement: Deep wounds or lacerations from a dog bite can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Emotional trauma: A dog attack can also cause emotional trauma, including fear of dogs, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In severe cases, dog attacks can result in life-threatening injuries, such as severe bleeding, nerve damage, and head injuries. It is important to seek medical attention immediately following a dog attack to ensure proper treatment and to document the injuries for legal purposes.

Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims in New York

In New York, the statute of limitations for dog bite claims is generally three years from the date of the incident. This means that a victim has three years from the date they were bitten or attacked by a dog to file a lawsuit against the dog's owner or other responsible parties. If a lawsuit is not filed within this three-year period, the victim may lose their right to pursue compensation for their injuries and other damages resulting from the attack.

It is important for victims of dog bites to seek legal representation as soon as possible after the incident, as building a strong case can take time. Evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and photographs of the injuries and the scene of the attack can be crucial in establishing liability and proving damages.

There are some exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations, such as if the victim was a minor at the time of the attack, in which case the statute of limitations is extended until three years after the victim's 18th birthday. It is important to consult with an experienced New York dog bite lawyer to determine the specific statute of limitations that applies to your case and ensure that you take appropriate legal action before the deadline expires.

What Are Damages in a Dog Bite Case?

Damages in a dog bite case in New York refer to the compensation that a victim may receive for the harm they suffered due to a dog attack. In a dog bite case, damages can be divided into two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.

  • Economic Damages: Economic damages refer to the actual financial losses incurred by the victim as a result of the dog attack. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. For example, economic damages may cover the costs of emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing care for any physical or emotional injuries sustained in the attack.
  • Non-economic Damages: Non-economic damages refer to the harm caused by the dog attack that cannot be measured in financial terms. These damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, and disfigurement. Non-economic damages aim to compensate the victim for the physical and emotional trauma they endured as a result of the dog attack.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the dog owner for their negligent or reckless behavior, and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. If a dog attack results in a wrongful death in New York, the victim's family may be able to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages that can be recovered may include the financial losses they have suffered as a result of the victim's death, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and loss of income. They may also be able to recover emotional losses they have suffered as a result of the victim's death, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of guidance and support.

How Much is My Dog Bite Case Worth?

It is difficult to provide an exact median settlement amount for a dog bite case in New York as each case is unique and the settlement amount can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the severity of the injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and the circumstances of the attack.

Generally, settlements in dog bite cases can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even higher if the injuries are severe or permanent. An experienced dog bite attorney in New York can help you determine an appropriate settlement amount based on the specifics of your case and negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company on your behalf. It is important to note that there is no guarantee of a settlement amount and it ultimately depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Who Pays for a Dog Bite Case Settlement?

In New York, dog bite attack cases are typically paid for through a combination of insurance coverage and legal action. Here are some possible scenarios for how a dog bite attack case might be paid for in New York. If the dog owner has homeowner's insurance, the insurance company may cover the costs associated with the attack, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. New York law requires homeowner's insurance policies to cover dog bites, up to the limits of the policy. If the dog owner is a renter, they may have renters insurance that covers dog bite attacks. The policy would work similarly to homeowner's insurance, covering medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering up to the policy limits. If the dog owner is not insured or the insurance policy limits are not enough to cover the victim's damages, the victim may need to file a lawsuit against the owner to recover damages. New York law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of whether the owner was negligent. This means that the victim does not need to prove that the owner was at fault, only that they were injured by the dog.

It's important to note that the specific circumstances of each case will determine how the case is paid for. A dog bite attorney in New York can provide guidance on the best course of action for a particular case.

Notable New York Dog Bite Cases

Certainly, dog bites are a serious issue in New York, and victims of these attacks often face significant physical and emotional trauma. In order to understand the legal landscape surrounding dog bites in New York, it can be helpful to examine some notable cases that have shaped the law in this area. Here are two notable dog bite cases in New York:

  • Bard v. Jahnke, 6 N.Y.3d 592 (2006): This case involved an exception to strict liability in cases where a dog has no prior history of viciousness.
  • Collier v. Zambito, 1 N.Y.3d 444 (2004): This case clarified the standard for determining whether a dog owner had prior knowledge of their dog's dangerous propensities, which is a key element in many dog bite cases.

By examining these cases and others like them, victims of dog bites can gain a better understanding of their legal rights and options for pursuing compensation.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Dog bites are a serious issue in New York, and victims of these attacks often face significant physical and emotional trauma. Fortunately, New York law provides strong protections for those who have been injured in dog attacks, including the ability to hold dog owners liable for damages resulting from their pet's behavior. By working with an experienced dog bite attorney serving New York, victims can pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the attack. Additionally, these cases can help to hold dog owners accountable and raise awareness of the importance of responsible pet ownership. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
When my mom, who is suffering from dementia, faced a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit, I contacted Stephen Bilkis of the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Not only did he provide a strategy for defending the claim, he also advised me on steps to take to avoid future personal liability. Whether you are the defendant or plaintiff in an injury case, I highly recommend Mr. Bilkis. S.M.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
I had my first encounter with Mr. Stephen Bilkis three years ago over the phone. He and his staff have been nothing but courtesy and professional. Their hard work ended with a large six-figure settlement for my case. I would highly recommend you contact his office. I want to give a special THANK YOU to Ms. Tricia Krapf. She always made me feel like a priority and was always kind and professional over the phone and email. I highly recommend them to anyone in need of legal representation. Celesta