Dogs make wonderful companion animals, but their behavior can be unpredictable when they are not controlled by their owner. Dog bite injuries are common. Statistics show hundreds of thousands of victims end up in the emergency room on an annual basis. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicates the majority (80%) of dog bites are incurred by people under the age of 18 years.

What Should You Do If You are Attacked or Bitten by a Dog?

The best way to protect yourself from a dog bite is to avoid aggressive dogs. This is especially true if a dog appears to be confused or “wild-eyed” as it might be rabid.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to predict whether a dog is dangerous or to avoid a situation that results in a dog bite. If you are unlucky enough to be bitten, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries. If possible, gather contact information from the dog’s owner, but do not engage in a verbal argument about the dog bite. If the dog is loose and no owner can be identified, contact people in the area for details about the owner or ongoing issues with the dog.

And contact a lawyer quickly.

New York Dog Bite Injury Laws

In New York, dog bite laws are a mix of the one-bit rule and a limited degree of strict liability. This means owners are strictly liable for medical and/or veterinary costs if their “dangerous dog” bit a person or animal. The state requires victims to prove a dog has a dangerous tendency to bite and that its owner was aware of this tendency. Victims are not entitled to compensation due to negligence.

According to McKinney’s Agriculture and Markets Law 123 provides statutory penalties for dog bites and the process for declaring a dog “dangerous.” Dangerous dogs are defined as follows:

(a) the dog, without justification, attacked a person causing serious physical injury or death; or

(b) the dog has a known vicious propensity as evidenced by a previous unjustified attack on a person, which caused serious physical injury or death; or

(c) the dog, without justification, caused serious physical injury or death to a companion animal, farm animal or domestic animal, and has, in the past two years, caused unjustified physical injury or death to a companion or farm animal as evidenced by a “dangerous dog” finding pursuant to the provisions of this section. An order of humane euthanasia shall not be carried out until expiration of the thirty day period provided for in subdivision five of this section for filing a notice of appeal, unless the owner of the dog has indicated to the judge in writing, his or her intention to waive his or her right to appeal. Upon filing of a notice of appeal, the order shall be automatically stayed pending the outcome of the appeal.

Owners of a dangerous dog might also be required to pay a fine based on whether or not his or her dog was adjudicated as dangerous. If a dog owner were to negligently permit a dangerous dog to bite a person and the bite results in serious injury, the owner could be convicted of a misdemeanor.

Working with an experienced New York dog bite attorney is the best way to ensure your rights are protected and you are properly compensated. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Law Offices of ELAN WURTZEL, P.C.