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A dog bite may lead to injuries, trauma, significant medical costs, as well as the possibility of permanent scarring/disfigurement. What you should know is that in case you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you might be eligible to seek compensation.

Best Dog Bite Injury Attorneys in Long Island, New York - RRS Lawyers

Whose Liability is it Anyways?

Determining liability in dog bite cases varies based on different factors. The most common ones fall under three basic categories.

  • Trespassing. If a dog bites an individual who is trespassing on a property, it might not be possible to hold its owner liable. However, trespassers may still seek compensation by showing that the owner behaved negligently.
  • Provocation. If someone provokes a dog before being attacked or bitten, holding its owner liable can be challenging.
  • Negligence. If a dog bites someone because of its owner’s negligence or recklessness, the owner can be held liable. However, the victim should be able to prove the same in court, if required.

What You Should and Should Not Do After a Dog Bite

Following a few simple guidelines and seeking legal advice will hold you in good stead if you or someone you know is ever bitten by a dog.

  • Get contact details of the dog owner and witnesses
  • Ask for a copy of the dog's rabies vaccination record
  • Take photographs of the wound
  • Take photographs of the location
  • Seek medical attention
  • File a report with animal control
  • Don’t accept compensation
  • Don’t discuss liability with the dog owner

When Can Dogs Be Considered Dangerous?

As per the laws of New York State, a dog can be considered dangerous in various circumstances.

  • Has injured or killed domestic animals without being provoked
  • Has bitten someone without provocation
  • Has badly injured or killed someone without provocation
  • Behaves in a way that poses a serious and unjustified threat of injury or death of humans or other animals
  • Has attacked a service dog, hearing dog, or guide dog without justification and caused injury or death
What Does New York Legislation Say About Dog Bites?

New York follows a “one-bite” rule that offers a limited degree of strict liability. Section 123 of the New York Agriculture & Markets Code covers injuries that take place owing to bites and non-bite-related injuries. As per this statute, the owner of a dangerous dog is strictly liable to cover only a victim’s medical costs. To recover additional damages, it is upon the victim to prove that the dog’s owner knew of its propensity to bite people.
Further, you cannot hold a government agency liable if a dog it uses for police or military work bites you when defending itself from provocation or harassment, or in its line of duty.

What Comes Next?

One option you have is to seek compensation from the dog owner’s insurance company. This might be possible if the dog owner’s homeowners insurance covers dog bite claims that occur on or off the insured property. Filing a lawsuit against the owner of the dog or its caretaker to seek damages is also possible.
In both scenarios, an attorney who specializes in dog bite cases can help you navigate through the intricacies of your case and present evidence in the most effective manner so you may get the compensation you deserve.