Every year, 4.5 million people suffer injuries from dog bites in the United States. 800,000 of these victims require short-term medical treatment. Some of these injuries are serious enough that the victim can require hospitalization, surgery, and long-term care.
While some of these injuries are due to pets attacking their owners, many are innocent people who were attacked by someone else’s animal, often for no reason. While people have a right to own pets, they do not have an unlimited right for their pets to injure and harm others.
Dog attacks have become a more frequent problem in recent years as dog ownership has become more popular than ever. In addition, there are more opportunities for interactions between dogs and humans. The classic example of an attack in the past was the dog biting the mail carrier. Now, with online shopping, more delivery people come onto the property of others with permission.
If you suffered injuries due to a dog attack, you need legal representation to ensure you receive the compensation you need. A Long Island dog bite attorney at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, are ready to assess your legal options. We obtain results for clients injured in many different ways, and we can help you.
Reach out today for a free case evaluation and discussion of a possible injury claim.
- Long-Term Effects of Dog Bite Injuries
- Can You Get Payment for Your Medical Bills After a Dog Bite?
- Examples of a Dog’s Vicious Propensities
- Focus on Your Own Damages as Opposed to an Average Settlement
- Why Do You Need a Dog Bite Attorney?
Long-Term Effects of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can be much more severe than just a tooth mark. First, whenever something sharp, such as teeth, breaks the skin, there is always a risk of infection. Second, severe bite wounds can cause even more significant injuries.
Dog bite victims may deal with the following injuries:
- Nerve damage
- Loss of sensation
- Emotional trauma and PTSD
These injuries can impose high physical and emotional costs on the victims. In many cases, injuries will not simply go away without treatment.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bites lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-451-7900
Get Medical Help After a Dog Bite Injury
If someone else’s dog bit you, the first thing that you should do is seek medical treatment. At the outset, you stand a much better chance of making a permanent recovery when you see a doctor right away. The hours and days after a dog bite are the most critical time in your treatment. If you wait too long to see a doctor, your injuries can worsen.
The other thing that delaying treatment will do is make your legal case harder. You have a legal duty to mitigate your damages by getting treatment when necessary. If your injuries have become worse because you did not see a doctor, the insurance company will use it as an excuse to try to pay less in damages.
Long Island Dog Bites Lawyer Near Me 516-451-7900
You Need a Lawyer to Navigate New York’s Complicated Dog Bite Laws
New York has a maze of complex rules for dog bite cases that combine several laws that other states use. While you can get some payment for your injuries based on the mere fact that the dog bite happened, you will need to show the dog owner knew the dog had vicious propensity prior to your bite.
The dog owner’s insurance company may deny your claim or only pay part of it if they do not believe that you have presented enough evidence or that you are at fault for what happened. Making things even more challenging is that New York courts are backing away from cases that they have relied on for years to determine liability in dog bite cases. The one certain thing is that you need an experienced dog bite lawyer to handle your claim.
Can You Get Payment for Your Medical Bills After a Dog Bite?
Some states use a strict liability rule for dog bites, meaning that the owner must pay for dog bite injuries regardless of whether they used reasonable care to restrain and control the dog. New York uses strict liability, but only to an extent. You can recover costs of your medical care for dog bites for a dangerous dog. The law defines a dangerous dog as one who attacks and injures or kills a person without justification.
Medical costs are the bills you face to receive treatment and recover from your dog bite injuries, including:
- Doctor’s office visit charges
- Surgical procedures, such as reconstructive plastic surgery
These costs can be high in a severe dog bite injury. Some victims have multiple surgeries to even partially recover from the severe damage that a dog bite can leave.
The exception to strict liability is when the dog owner can prove that the victim provoked the dog. However, provocation is a high standard. In a typical dog attack, the owner must verify that the victim did something relatively extreme to provoke the dog, such as intentionally stepping on its tail or repeatedly hurting it. The owner may have an even higher standard when trying to blame an injured child.
You Must Prove More to Get Damages Beyond Medical Expenses
Medical costs are only part of what a dog bite victim will need to receive to pay for their injuries. Numerous other costs go along with a dog bite. To obtain damages for pain and suffering, you will have to show that the dog had prior vicious propensity that the owner was aware of. The mere fact that the attack happened is not enough to prove liability.
The rule in New York comes from a controversial case called Bard v. Jahnke, in which the Court of Appeals reaffirmed the use of the “one free bite” rule for everything other than medical costs.
Examples of a Dog’s Vicious Propensities
One free bite does not exactly mean that the owner is liable for all damages caused by the dog after it has bitten once. It means that the owner is responsible for all damages caused by their dog after the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious propensities. Biting is just one vicious propensity.
These behaviors can also include:
- Baring the teeth
- Acting in a way that puts others at risk of harm
- Charging people
If the owner is taking significant precautions to protect against the dog’s attack, it may be evidence that they knew the dog was vicious.
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You Must Learn and Prove the Dog’s Prior Conduct
In other words, you will need to prove what the dog owner knew or what they should have known. It is not always easy to go back in time and prove something about a dog you never encountered before it attacked you. A dog bite attorney knows how to gather the relevant information on the dog that you can use to prove liability.
Our lawyers will investigate your incident and the particular dog involved. It will be challenging to investigate this on your own because you may not know what you need to do and how to do it. The owner’s “beware of the dog” sign does not automatically mean they knew the dog was dangerous.
If you are hoping to use a violation of leash laws as evidence of negligence, everything depends on precisely what law the owner violated. In New York, a violation of state law will be considered negligence per se. Even so, in order to recover for pain and suffering damages, a showing of prior vicious propensity is required.
Other Damages in a Dog Bite Case
Once you can prove that the dog had vicious propensities, it opens up additional possibilities for financial compensation. Then, you can get damages that go beyond medical costs.
Dog bite attacks have a number of consequences beyond the immediate medical danger and the necessary treatment. Since dog attacks occur most often to children, there is a significant risk of emotional trauma that can haunt the child for many years to come.
In addition, the law may entitle you to the following elements of damages:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and permanent disfigurement
- Lost wages if you are unable to work
Focus on Your Own Damages as Opposed to an Average Settlement
State Farm releases its average settlement amounts for dog bite cases annually. While this figure may be moderately helpful for informational purposes, it should not guide your own case or your legal decisions. You should not feel happy about an average amount in a settlement because others received it. Instead, you should fight for every dollar that you deserve. If you are filing a claim or lawsuit on behalf of an injured child, they will need that money to treat them in the future.
Your damages depend on your own specific and unique situation. There is no such thing as an average dog bite injury as far as you are concerned.
Insurance Companies Try to Complicate Matters
You do not want to be in a position where your settlement money goes to pay your medical bills, and you have nothing left. There is a reason why you can receive compensation for pain and suffering, and that is because you continue to experience damages in both the present and the future. If you settle your claim for too little, you will not receive compensation for your challenging experience.
Homeowners’ insurance companies treat dog bites the same way:
- If they feel they have any type of justification, they will try to deny your claim.
- Even if the insurance company admits liability, they will try to underpay your claim and make you negotiate for every dollar that you get.
Dealing with an insurance company is a time-honored process, and everyone knows what they are on for when they file a claim.
Why Do You Need a Dog Bite Attorney?
An experienced and knowledgeable attorney knows how and when to push back against insurance companies to maximize your compensation. If the insurance company is not reasonable, your lawyer can take your case to court. Juries may show sympathy to seriously injured victims, especially children.
Since you can lose evidence in a hurry and also be vulnerable to an unscrupulous insurance company, you should not waste any time in getting legal help. If you try to begin the legal process months after the attack occurs, it can be much more challenging.
Contact a Long Island Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to an attack by a dog, the injury attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck can help. We work hard to get results for our clients, and we do not simply accept the standard runaround from insurance companies.
Hiring an experienced attorney can help increase the amount of your financial recovery. Right now, call us for your free initial consultation. You can message us online or call us at (631) 451-7900 to discuss your case. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you.