How do I report a dog bite on Long Island? And Other FAQs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by a dog in the United States each year with 17% of those bitten requiring medical care. Of the almost 400,000 people who required treatment, 42% were children under the age of 15. The injury rate was highest for kids aged 5 to 9 years. For dog bite victims over the age of 16, 7.9% of the injuries caused by an animal were work related. These injuries occurred to people who were delivering the mail, food or packages; working at animal clinics or shelters; or doing home repair work.
The most common wounds caused by a dog are to the upper extremities including the arms and hands (45.3%), the lower extremities including the legs and feet (25.8%), and the head and neck (22.8%). The majority (64.9%) of injuries to very small children who are aged four or younger were to the head or neck region. In older children and adults, wounds to the extremities accounted for almost all (86.2%) of the injuries requiring treatment.
Injuries that may be inflicted in a dog attack include:
- puncture wounds
- contusions, abrasions, or hematoma
- cellulitis or infection
- amputation, avulsion or crushing
- fracture or dislocation
Facts aside, being bitten by a dog can be a painful, traumatic event. A simple bite may result in costly medical bills, loss of income, permanent injury or disfigurement, or death.
Helping Victims of Dog Bites on Long Island
The experienced Long Island personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., have built a track record of helping people who have been the victims of bites from a dangerous dog recover compensation for their wounds. The aftermath of a dog attack can be a confusing time, especially if it is your child who has been injured by a canine, that’s why it’s so important to consult with an experienced Long Island dog bite attorney who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve and who has experience handling similar cases.
Call today to speak to a lawyer to find out if you have a case. We represent all kinds of dog bite victims including:
- children bitten in the head or neck
- people bitten while delivering food, mail or packages
- people harmed by a dangerous dog
Contact our team of Long Island dog bite lawyers for a free consultation to determine if you have a case at (631) 451-7900.
Learn more about injuries caused by dogs on Long Island with these FAQs:
- How do I report a dog bite on Long Island?
- What should I do after a dog bite?
- Should I see a doctor for a minor dog bite?
- Can I sue if someone’s dog bites my child?
- What is the NY one bite rule?
- Should I report a minor dog bite?
- Should I see a doctor for a dog bite?
- Is there a dangerous dog registry in Nassau County?
- What is Benny’s Law?
- Does personal liability insurance cover dog bites?
- Which dog breeds are excluded from coverage by personal liability insurance?
- What happens if a dog owner doesn’t have insurance?
- How can I prevent a dog attack?
- What happens if your dog bites someone in NY?
- Can I get compensation for a dog bite?
- Who is liable in a dog bite accident, can a Long Island dog bite lawyer help me?
How do I report a dog bite on Long Island?
Reporting a dog bite is very important. Not only does it help to keep yourself and your community safe, failing to file a complaint might put you on very shaky ground should you try to recover damages from the injury. By reporting your dog bite, you also lay an important foundation for a future court case. Without the report, you have no proof of the incident. Without proof, your chances of receiving damages could be greatly reduced.
By reporting the incident, you also help future dog bite victims. New York is a one-bite rule state. Meaning, unless the dog has a history of being vicious, bite victims will not be able to recover compensation for pain, suffering or mental trauma. By filing a report, you begin the process of documenting this dog as, potentially, a dangerous animal.
- If you are in Suffolk County, report the bite to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 853-0333.
- If you are in Nassau County, file a report with the Nassau County Department of Health at 516-227-9663.
- If you are in NYC, report the bite via the NYC Health website or call 311.
They will need the following information:
- The dog bite victim’s name and address
- The location where the dog attack took place
- The date and time of the dog attack
- The name and any contact information you have about the person responsible for the dog
- The date of the dog’s last rabies vaccination
- Any medical treatment that you received as a result of the bite
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What should I do after a dog bite?
If it’s your dog, you’re more than likely going to know the dog’s medical history, including its inoculation history. If it’s someone else’s dog, or a dog with unknown ownership, things could get a bit more complicated. Regardless of whether you know the dog’s history or not, here are the steps you should take according to NYC Health:
- Get the dog owner’s contact info including name, address and phone number.
- If the dog is unknown, get information for anyone who may be able to identify the dog.
- Care for the bite wound by washing it with soap and water.
- Contact your doctor for guidance on specific wound care instructions.
- If you are in Suffolk County, report the bite to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 853-0333. If you are in Nassau County, Nassau County Department of Health: 516-227-9663. If you are in NYC, Report the bite via the NYC Health website or call 311.
- If you feel that the dog poses an immediate danger or risk to you or the community, contact the police by calling 911.
If you were bitten by a dog that you do not own, you’ll need to try to determine who owns the dog. The dog’s owner may be able to give you more information on the dog’s medical history. Also, it’s generally a good idea to collect contact information from any eye-witnesses who were present during the incident. Be sure to file a report with your local department of health. Doing so may help your case, as well as track and prevent the spread of rabies. It’s also very important to take photos and document any wound, injury or treatment needed because of a dog bite.
Should I see a doctor for a minor dog bite?
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers uses Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale to determine the severity of a bite. Of the six levels, only one involves injury that might be considered minor enough to not warrant a visit to the doctor:
- Level 1. Aggressive behavior by the dog but no skin-contact by the dog’s teeth. For example, the animal may bite but only make contact with clothing.
- Level 2. Skin-contact by the dog’s teeth but no skin-puncture. This includes nicks and scrapes caused by the teeth when there are no vertical punctures.
- Level 3. One to four punctures from a single bite with no puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. There may be lacerations in one direction caused when the victim or animal pulls away.
- Level 4. One to four punctures from a single bite with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. May also have deep bruising around the wound caused by the animal bearing down or lacerations in both directions from the dog shaking its head from side to side.
- Level 5. Multiple-bite incident with at least two Level 4 wounds or multiple-attack incident with at least one Level 4 bite in each.
- Level 6. Victim killed by dog.
While a doctor’s visit may not be necessary for a Level One incident, anything more severe should probably be looked at by a medical professional. In an instance where there is no puncture visible, a simple scratch may become a serious injury should that dog be a carrier of rabies or other disease.
Can I sue if someone’s dog bites my child?
In New York State, liability from dog bites often hinges on whether or not that dog is found to be a dangerous dog in the eyes of the court. In order to show that a dog who has bitten a child is a dangerous dog, evidence must be given that the animal was unprovoked and attacked without justification.
You might also have a case if the dog is shown to be a dangerous dog, and the owner showed negligence. Anyone who is the victim of a dog attack, or in the case of a minor, witnesses a dog attack, can file a complaint with the local police or animal control agency. To claim damages, however, the injured party must demonstrate that the animal is a danger in conjunction with New York’s “one bite rule.”
In 2006, The New York Court of Appeals ruled that in the case of Bard v. Jahnke, 6 N.Y.3d 592, 815 N.Y.S.2d 16, 848 N.E.2d 463 (2006), “the owner of a domestic animal who either knows or should have known of that animal’s vicious propensities will be held liable for the harm the animal causes as a result of those propensities. Vicious propensities include the propensity to do any act that might endanger the safety of the persons and property of others in a given situation.”
What is the NY one bite rule?
New York follows a “one bite” rule that states that the owner of the dog is responsible for the dog bite if the person making the complaint can demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was vicious and prone to harming others.
Should I report a minor dog bite?
Because the history of a given dog is often unclear, you should always report a dog bite—no matter how minor it may appear at the time. This may not be the first, or the last instance of this dog biting someone. For your protection and the protection of everyone in the community, these injuries need to be documented. One bite might be indicative of a more serious problem.
Should I see a doctor for a dog bite?
You should always err on the side of caution when a dog bite occurs. At first glance, the injury may not appear that severe. The bite may not have appeared to break the skin or cause any real damage. Regardless, you should see a medical professional as soon as it’s safe to do so because injuries caused by a dog can cause several complications. These include infections, rabies, nerve damage, muscle damage, and more.
There are also a variety of medical conditions that could arise from even a minor dog bite. For example, harmful bacteria can live in any dog’s mouth, including:
A deep bite can also cause damage to nerves, muscles, and blood vessels under the skin. This can occur even if the wound appears to be small, like from puncture marks.
A dog bite from a large, powerful dog can easily result in broken, chipped, or splintered bones beneath the skin. If you suspect this has happened, don’t waste any time in seeing a medical professional. And to make matters worse, any type of dog bite can also result in scarring.
Apart from the obvious wounds that can be caused by an attacking dog, there are other harms that can come from an aggressive dog. If a dog attacks someone, that person may flee and injure themselves in the process. In order to get away from an aggressive dog, an individual may run into traffic or another obstacle that results in an injury.
Apart from the medical reasons to see a doctor after a dog bite, there’s another good reason. In Long Island, dog bite victims may be able to pursue a civil action to recover compensation from the person responsible for the dog and their insurance company. In order for this type of compensation to be recovered, though, you may have to prove that your injuries directly resulted from the dog bite. Without a proper medical exam, your attorney may have a difficult time proving that they were the result of the dog attack. Creating this paper-trail with your doctor will help your lawyer argue that your injuries were directly linked to the dog bite.
Is there a dangerous dog registry in Nassau County?
Benny’s Law was passed through the Nassau County Legislative Committees on February 4th, 2021, by unanimous vote. The law is currently working its way through the full legislature and will establish a dangerous dog registry in Nassau County.
If you are bitten by a dog, or have witnessed a dog attack, contact the police immediately, as this law (once passed) will be enforced by the police services on Long Island.
What is Benny’s Law?
A Tibetan Terrier named Benny nearly lost his life in a dog attack close to his home in Levittown in 2019. Because of that incident, new legislation was written to help other dogs from experiencing the same fate.
This law states that if a judge determines that a dog meets the "high threshold" of being considered a dangerous dog, then its owners must mail a copy of the judicial order, as well as notification to neighbors within an 1,000-foot or roughly 6-block radius placing them on notice.
The notification must also include the dangerous dog’s identifying traits and address, and an affidavit of mailing must be filled out afterwards.
It also requires dogs deemed dangerous to be placed on a registry compiled by the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The registry includes a description of the dog, including its breed, weight, age and color, as well as the address where it is housed, the date of the incident, and the duration of its designation as a dangerous dog.
Owners who do not comply with this law face a $500 fine, and an additional $100 for every day that they do not comply with the judge’s order.
Does personal liability insurance cover dog bites?
Some insurance companies will not cover homeowners who own certain breeds of dogs that are categorized as “dangerous,” such as pit bulls. Other companies decide on a case-by-case basis.
Homeowners and renters insurance policies can typically cover liability and legal expenses in dog bite claims, up to the limits of the policy. This is typically $100,000 to $300,000 depending on the company. Anything over that is the responsibility of the dog owner.
More and more, insurance companies are trying to lessen their exposure to these types of cases. Whatever the insurance company’s policies are; however, are superseded by the Long Island dog laws. For this reason it’s important to get the council of an attorney who is knowledgeable about Benny’s Law, as well as other legislation that covers Long Island’s dangerous dogs.
Which dog breeds are excluded from coverage by personal liability insurance?
Personal liability coverage varies quite a bit between insurance companies. It seems, though, that insurance providers are less and less likely to issue a policy where what is deemed a “dangerous dog” resides. In some cases, the insurance company may spell out the breeds that it will not issue homeowners’ or renters’ insurance for. Breeds like Rottweilers and Pit Bulls often constitute the usual suspects. But other insurance companies take the issue of “dangerous dogs” on more of a case-by-case basis. In addition to the two breeds listed above, many of the other dog breeds that are commonly excluded are:
- German Shepherds
- Staffordshire Terriers
- Doberman Pinschers
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
- Great Danes
- Presa Canarios
- Certain Wolf Breeds
- And other Molassers (i.e., thick chested, muscular dogs)
What happens if a dog owner doesn’t have insurance?
Because some dog breeds are excluded from traditional homeowners’ or renters’ policies, some insurance companies have taken to offering supplemental liability insurance for all dog breeds and types of damage. If the person who owns the dog is without insurance, this in no way lessens the burden of liability if their dog hurts someone. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are three kinds of laws that impose liability on the dog owner:
1) A dog-bite statute: where the dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes without provocation.
2) The one-bite rule: where the dog owner is responsible for an injury caused by a dog if the owner knew the dog was likely to cause that type of injury—in this case, the victim must prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous.
3) Negligence laws: where the dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because they were unreasonably careless (negligent) in controlling the dog.
On Long Island, the one-bite rule is in effect, so dog owners are liable if they knew or should have known that their dog is dangerous. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., to discuss whether your injury is from a dangerous dog that satisfies this rule.
How can I prevent a dog attack?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has extensive guides for dog owners, families, and people without dogs alike to help prevent dog attacks and dog bites.
For dog parents, they recommend these steps:
- Socializing your pet — By introducing your dog early and often to other people, your dog will be more comfortable, and not see others as a threat. You should also always use a leash in public and make sure that you’re exercising control over your pet.
- Being a responsible pet parent — Carefully select a dog breed that’s right for you, your family, and your life. If you live in a small, downtown apartment, a Siberian Husky might not be the right pet for your situation. Also, invest your time in proper dog training and make sure your pet has regular exercise. Get your dog spayed or neutered.
- Educate yourself and your family about how — or whether — to approach a dog.
To help keep yourself or a loved one from being bitten, the AVMA suggests avoiding approaching or petting a dog in these scenarios.
Do not approach a dog if:
- the dog is not with its owner
- the dog is with its owner, but they do not give permission to pet the dog
- a dog is sleeping or eating
- a dog is sick or injured
- a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence
- a dog is playing with a toy
- a dog is growling or barking
- a dog appears to be hiding or seeking alone time
Lastly, one should pay attention to the dog’s body language. Watching a dog’s posture and behavior can oftentimes give you an indication if the dog is stressed or uncomfortable with your presence.
What happens if your dog bites someone in NY?
In NY, the owner of the dog could be found liable and receive a criminal penalty. According to the laws in New York State, if a dog previously deemed dangerous is permitted to bite someone through the owner’s negligence, and that injury is deemed by the court to be serious, then the person responsible for the dog could be convicted of a misdemeanor and receive up to a $3,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
If a dog that’s previously been determined to be dangerous gets out and kills someone, the owner then can be convicted of class A misdemeanor in addition to other penalties and civil liabilities.
Can I get compensation for a dog bite?
Under the state’s laws, a victim of a dog bite may be entitled to compensation. Because New York State follows, “strict liability,” the victim of a dog bite does not need to prove negligence in order to recover medical costs, provided that the dog’s owner knew that their dog was dangerous, and could cause injury to others.
Some of the reasons for the attack that the dog owner can assert in their defense are:
- The dog was acting to protect them or their property from trespassers or individuals committing a crime.
- The dog was being tormented by the person they bit.
- The dog bite was a reaction to pain or its instinct to protect their person, their family, or property.
Incidentally, police dogs are exempt from liability if they were engaged in their official duties.
Who is liable in a dog bite accident, can a Long Island dog bite lawyer help me?
According to New York law, if the owner of a dog, through negligence, allows their dog to bite a person or other animal, and that bite results in injury, the owner of the dog is subject to civil penalty, not to exceed four hundred dollars in addition to any other applicable penalties.
In many cases, four hundred dollars doesn’t begin to cover the expenses that a victim hurt by a dog may incur. The attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., understand that the Long Island one bite rule only goes so far. To help you navigate past the limitations of New York’s laws you need to enlist the services of a firm that genuinely understands the laws that cover Long Island’s dangerous dogs.
A dog bite is no small thing. An aggressive dog can be a danger to you, your family and your community. Long Island dog laws are complicated, and it takes an experienced legal team to help make sure that you can receive the maximum amount of compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck L.L.P. at (631) 994-1910, today to receive your free consultation. Get the help you need to receive the compensation you deserve.