It’s difficult to walk anyplace in New York without seeing a bevy of dogs with their owners. In the city, around the state, and in America in general – we’re just dog lovers! Most of the time, these pets make great companions who are loved family members – but sometimes dog ownership can go wrong, too.
Dog bites happen. The state of New York has laws against dog bites as well, making it possible for many people who are injured via dog bite to seek compensation through a personal injury case. Here is what you need to know about dog bites in New York and what you can do if you’re the victim of one.
Dog Bite Laws in New York
So, what does the law in New York have to say about dog bites? A lot, it turns out.
When it comes to dog bites in New York, dog owners can be held liable if their dog attacks another person, regardless of what their history of aggressive behavior or attacks may be. The law also allows the circumstances under which the bite took place to be considered in the case.
The One Bite Rule and Strict Liability
In the state of New York, cases involving dog bites are handled under a combination of negligence and strict liability. The person who owns or has custody of the dog is strictly liable for any medical costs associated with the injury caused by the dog, even if they used reasonable care to ensure the dog bite did not occur.
If a person wants compensation beyond the payment of medical bills, then they have to show that negligence was involved on the part of the owner in order to be successful in their pursuit of damages.
When a Dog Owner Can Be Sued
If you want to sue a dog owner for a bite, you have to show that the owner knew their pet’s behavior was dangerous and that they were a risk for attacking someone. This can often be established by showing one of these circumstances:
- The dog was trained to attack – The owner of the dog can be held responsible if the animal was trained to attack, and this was known by the owner. In this case, the owner should have taken precautions, knowing that their dog was capable of vicious behavior or was dangerous to others.
- There were previous complaints – If others had made previous complaints about the behavior of the dog, especially if they have bitten someone before, then a dog owner can be held liable.
- The dog attacked someone previously – Any dog that has attacked someone before will be subject to the one-bite rule, because it shows that the owner understood their dog was dangerous and capable of biting someone.
- The dog has displayed scary, violent behavior before – If a dog has chased another person to the point that they are scared, or if a dog has barked viciously enough to put a person in fear of an attack, then that may be enough to demonstrate that the dog was dangerous.
There are also some situations under which a dog owner may not be found liable. Some situations like this include:
- The attack was provoked – A victim may have provoked the attack by trying to assault the owner or demonstrating other threatening behavior.
- The dog has never bitten another – If the owner has no knowledge of the dog biting or attacking anyone else in the past, then they may not be held liable in court.
- The victim trespassed – When someone is trespassing on another’s property, they cannot hold the owner of the property liable for injuries that occur.