If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you want an experienced Long Island dog bite attorney on your side to help you get full and fair compensation for your injuries. An attack by a vicious dog can leave you with serious injuries, including scarring and disfigurement or loss of a finger or toe. You may need long-term medical care, plastic surgery, or rehabilitation or physical therapy. You may need the painful treatment required for rabies. With small children and even some adults, an animal attack can be fatal.
At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, personal injury is all we do. We have focused our practice exclusively on personal injury claims since 1983. We understand the emotional trauma that can come with a dog bite or other personal injury and use our skill, knowledge, and experience to help you get full and fair compensation for all your losses. We have successfully helped thousands of personal injury victims throughout Suffolk County and Nassau County in our nearly 30 years of practice.
Protecting Long Island Dog Bite Victims for Three Decades
We handle all types of claims involving dog bites or animal attacks, including:
- Injuries sustained on your own property when a dog has escaped or is allowed to run loose and attacks you.
- Injuries sustained from dogs that are either not restrained or not reasonably restrained on public land, including sidewalks, streets, alleys, and parks.
- Injuries suffered on the dog owner’s property when you were on the property reasonably and were not aware of any risk of attack, or the dog was either unrestrained or not properly restrained.
The injuries suffered when you are attacked by a dog can be among the most horrific and painful of all personal injuries. In addition to serious scarring or disfigurement or the loss of a limb, you can also face infection or the painful treatments that are required for rabies.
Our Long Island dog bite lawyers handle all types of injury claims resulting from dog bites, whether you have muscle injuries or you have been mauled and have had to have plastic surgery to rebuild your face or other body parts. We also handle wrongful death claims resulting from animal attacks.
We handle all dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis. We won’t charge attorney fees unless we successfully recover compensation for your injuries.
What to Do After a Dog Attack in Long Island
Your first actions after suffering a dog attack are very important. The severity of your wounds and the adrenaline rush from the incident will likely rattle you, but do your best to remember the following steps if you want to have the best chance of securing compensation for your injuries. If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, call 911 immediately for medical assistance.
Immediately after the incident, identify the dog and its owner. Most Americans carry smartphones, so take a photo if possible. Be sure to record the names, addresses, and contact information of everyone involved in the situation. If any witnesses are nearby, be sure to obtain their information as well. If you are unable to determine the dog’s owner, you’ll more than likely have to undergo a series of rabies shots. The risk of infection is very high after any dog bite, but especially so for incidents with unidentified dogs.
Once you obtain the information of those involved, seek medical assistance immediately. Dogs can cause various injuries in addition to bites, so it’s crucial that you seek professional care to check for multiple injuries. Dogs of any size or breed can cause significant injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds. Dogs’ teeth are generally too blunt to immediately break the skin, but they bite with incredible strength and leave significant puncture wounds on victims. Large dogs may also cause puncture wounds with their claws if they jump or pounce on a victim.
- Some wounds from teeth or claws can rip and cause significant bleeding,
- Broken bones. Large dogs can bite with enough force to break some bones. If a dog attack causes the victim to fall, he or she may suffer a bone fracture upon impact.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Strong bites and strikes to the head or falling to the ground can cause skull fractures as well as traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can range in severity from very mild concussions to significant, life-threatening injuries. Any type of head injury requires immediate medical attention, and it’s crucial to remember that most traumatic brain injuries entail some degree of permanent damage.
- Facial damages. Dogs may attack a victim’s head or face and damage the eyes, nose, ears, or other parts of the face. These injuries may necessitate multiple surgeries and can leave permanent scarring.
After you’ve addressed your immediate medical concerns, be sure to secure a medical report from your attending physician that details the extent of your injuries, possibility for long-term complications, recovery, and treatment plan. This will be invaluable in building a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
Dog Bite Reports
Next, contact the proper city or county authority to file a dog bite report. These reports help create a paper trail in the event a dog attacks multiple people. Whenever you file a lawsuit for a dog bite injury, your state’s dog bite laws concerning owner liability come into play. If a dog has previously recorded incidents of biting people, it greatly increases future victims’ ability to secure compensation for their injuries. Additionally, if you file a report about a dog that has previous incidents, this can strengthen your case. After you’ve positively identified the dog and its owner, you’ll want to gather as much information about the dog as you can. Contact the appropriate authority to obtain the dog license information and any other records the dog may have.
Gather More Evidence
Try to photograph your injuries as soon as possible. If you can do so immediately following an attack, try to take more after you’ve received medical attention. This will help demonstrate the extent of your injuries and help the court see what your recovery entails. Keep any damaged clothing or personal belongings from the incident and document them with photographs as well.
After compiling all of the evidence you can concerning your medical condition, the extent of your damages, and the dog in question, contact a Long Island dog bite attorney as soon as you can. Dog bite laws vary from state to state and a lawyer who specializes in dog bite lawsuits will be invaluable to your case. Even the most seemingly straightforward cases can quickly escalate to complex litigation, so professional representation is typically a wise decision.
Succeeding in a personal injury case also hinges on meeting strict deadlines and filing the appropriate motions with the right divisions of the court system. Failing to do so can result in a judge throwing your case out before it even has a chance to reach trial. An attorney will help navigate your case and handle all the appropriate filings with the court. In the state of New York, you have three years from the date of a dog bite injury to file a personal injury lawsuit for your damages.
New York Dog Bite Laws
It’s important for victims of dog bite attacks and all dog owners to understand their states’ laws concerning dog bite liability. Many states enforce a strict liability law that states dog owners are liable for all damages and injuries their dogs cause. Other states handle dog bite cases based on owner negligence. New York is a bit unusual in that it uses a combination of both strict liability and negligence laws for handling dog bite cases.
A dog owner is strictly liable for all of the medical expenses incurred by the victim, even if he or she used reasonable care when handling the dog and made a reasonable effort to prevent the attack or mitigate harm to the victim. It’s important to note that New York law states that dog owners are also liable for attacks that injure or kill livestock, farm animals, pets, service animals, or other domestic animals without justification.
For all other types of damages, New York follows the concept of negligence to determine the dog owner’s level of liability. To collect damages beyond compensation for medical expenses, the victim’s attorney must prove the dog’s owner was negligent in his or her handling and care of the dog. This concept applies especially to “dangerous dogs,” or those with a documented history of past attacks.
Proving negligence hinges on the plaintiff’s ability to prove the dog owner had a duty to act with reasonable care while handling the dog, failed to do so, and this failure directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. Additionally, the plaintiff must have suffered actual harm. If a dog attacked you but no actual damage or injury occurred, then you have no case.
According to New York Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law, owners or caretakers of “dangerous dogs” must take appropriate precautions against future attacks. This can include warning others of the dog’s nature, muzzling and leashing the dog on public property, and keeping the dog properly enclosed while on the owner’s property.
Compensation and Resources for Dog Bite Victims
If the court finds a dog owner negligent and liable for a dog bite injury, the injured plaintiff will receive compensation for his or her medical expenses and any other compensation deemed appropriate by the court. Other possible damages include:
- Lost wages, for any time the victim had to stay home from work due to the attack. If the injury was severe enough to prevent the victim from ever returning to his or her job, the victim can sometimes secure compensation for the wages he or she would have likely earned in the future.
- Pain and suffering. If an attack was particularly brutal or affected a sensitive area of the body, the victim’s Long Island dog bite attorney will usually call in witnesses to testify. It may sound difficult to assign a dollar figure to something like pain and suffering, but a judge will consider the severity of the victim’s injuries and witness testimony to determine an appropriate amount.
- Permanent damages. The dog’s owner may be liable for the costs of long-term care, rehabilitation, restorative surgeries, and continuing care in the event the victim’s injuries are permanently disabling or disfiguring.
Dog owners should stay up to date with their areas’ laws and ordinances concerning dogs, dog bites, and liability. After dog bite incidents, both victims and dog owners can find online resources that cover a range of helpful topics. For example, the American Academy of Family Physicians offers a guide for preventing and treating dog bites. This can be incredibly useful for anyone to know in the event of an unexpected dog attack. You can also research various breed-specific laws in your area, research findings, where to find liability insurance, and more information from various organizations.
Defenses for Long Island Dog Owners
Dog owners have a responsibility to handle their dogs with care and exercise caution when handling their dogs around others. It’s vital for dog owners to understand their potential liability for their dog’s actions, especially if the dog has a history of aggression. However, even the most well-trained and consistently well-behaved dogs can act unpredictably. Taking the proper precautions is the best way to defend from future lawsuits, but there may be other factors at play that can aid in your defense should your dog attack someone else.
First, it’s important to remember that if your dog attacks another person on your own property, you are only liable if the victim was legally present on your property. The law does not allow trespassers on private property to collect compensation from dog owners. The dogs in these situations are acting instinctively to protect their homes and owners. Most local laws require dog owners to post warning signs about their dogs on the exterior of their properties, so check with the appropriate authority in your area to see if this applies to you.
Your next possible defense is provocation. If the wounded plaintiff did anything to provoke the dog, he or she will more than likely lose the lawsuit. If someone torments, assaults, physically threatens, or directly abuses a dog and the dog retaliates, or the dog acts to protect its owner, home, or related dogs nearby, the dog owner will more than likely avoid liability for the attack. Additionally, New York law allows dogs who act in this manner to avoid the label of being “dangerous dogs.” One consistent exception to the dangerous dog label applies to trained law enforcement K9 unit dogs that injure suspects while carrying out official duties.
Free Consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer in Long Island
Dog bites can be serious or even life-threatening, and most dog attacks are completely unpredictable. If you suffer injury from a dog or another animal, it’s important to understand your rights as a victim. We offer free initial consultations in all personal injury claims, including cases involving dog bites or animal attacks. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at (631) 451-7900 to set up an appointment. A Long Island personal injury lawyer from our firm will meet with you at a location that is convenient for you, including your home or the hospital if necessary.