Roughly 900,000 people across the United States receive medical treatment related to dog bites each year. Statistics abound about dangerous breeds, but the reality is that any dog can bite. Nature and nurture both factor into whether or not an animal is dangerous. Most of the victims in dog bites are children, and dog bite cases can be difficult and complex. If you’ve been bitten, a Nassau County dog bite lawyer at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP has the skill and experience needed to recover damages.
No one likes to think of dogs as the bad guys, and the majority of the time they are not. The onus and burden of responsibility lie with owners. Being bitten by an animal can leave a lasting impression, both physically and emotionally. Even small dogs can rip flesh and leave lasting scars. When owners know about their dogs’ behavior and do not take the necessary precautions to protect those around them, they are being negligent and may be liable for any injuries incurred.
Dog Bite Laws in New York
Every state has different laws governing dogs. Owners of dangerous dogs are liable for medical and veterinary costs associated with the injury. However, a claim that proves that a dog is dangerous and that the owner negligently allowed the dog in certain circumstances may garner additional damages. In New York, a dangerous dog is defined as any animal who has a history of injuring people, companion animals, or other domesticated animals, or that otherwise behaves in an aggressive manner without justification.
Cases in New York also take into consideration the behavior of the victim prior to the attack. Cases in which children are bitten and injured without witnesses present can pose unique difficulties. Provoked aggressive behavior may not indicate the presence of “dangerousness” in a dog.
Dog bite cases are incredibly complex and can be emotional for all parties involved. It is imperative that you seek the assistance of a compassionate Nassau County personal injury lawyer who understands the nuances of New York state law. The dog bite attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP can help you determine the best course of action in any dog bite case.
Dog Bite Injuries
Whether you are at someone’s house or walking down the street in Nassau County, an unprovoked dog bite can hold serious consequences for the victim and the dog’s owner. Injuries associated with dog bites include deep tissue damage and lacerations, facial disfiguration, infection, and more. Dog bites can also cause emotional damage and make it difficult for victims to be around animals in the future.
Our firm has experience handling claims that involve unrestrained and improperly restrained dogs in a variety of settings. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, please let us know. You will need a knowledgeable and experienced Nassau County dog bite lawyer and we can help you develop a sensitive course of action to protect your rights to compensation and seek justice.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Nassau County
Dog attacks can often be horrific; scarring victims both physically and emotionally for years to come. In the aftermath of a dog bite, you may not be in the best state to figure out what are the best steps to take to protect your rights, but the actions you take immediately after your attack can help bolster your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Seek Medical Help Immediately
Dog attacks can range in severity from one small bite to terrible mauling injuries. Even if you have suffered only a minor injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not all dogs have had a rabies vaccination, and your bite could turn into a life-threatening problem if not treated properly. Wounds from a dog bite are also prone to infection. A little medical care now can save you a great deal of trouble later.
Call the Authorities
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to get the police involved in your attack. If someone is seriously hurt, if the animal is still roaming free, or if the owner is not present, you might need the local police to come and document your attack. You may also contact your town’s animal control to follow up on the attack and help prevent future dog bites.
If the dog’s owner is present, exchange contact information. You will want to learn about the dog’s vaccination record and will need to reach the owner later to pursue compensation.
Do the same for any witnesses to your attack. Tracking down witnesses later can be difficult, even impossible. By getting their information right away, you can help ensure the facts of your case are well documented.
For both the owner of the animal and any witnesses, you will want to get each person’s name, address, and telephone number, at a minimum.
Document the Incident
If you are able, take pictures of your wounds before receiving medical treatment. This will help establish the exact damage done by the dog. Photos of the scene of the attack may also be helpful in establishing facts about the case, including whether the dog was off a leash, where you were when the attack took place, and anything in the environment that might be relevant to your case.
As soon as possible, write down your recollection of the events leading up to and following your attack. This will help preserve your memories for later. Describe anything that may have triggered the attack, what you were doing when the dog attacked you, whether the dog was on a leash or outside a fenced yard, how you defended yourself, and anything else you can remember about the incident.
Contact an Attorney
Dog bites are common occurrences but getting fair compensation after your dog bite can be complex. Your Nassau County dog bite lawyer will be familiar with what is necessary to prove you deserve compensation, as well as experience in negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement. A free consultation can help you understand the merits of your case and what you might expect to gain by pursuing a claim.
Children and Dogs
Teaching your children to behave properly around dogs can minimize the risk of attack. Even toddlers need to be taught boundaries when it comes to playing with pets. Docile pets can potentially bite if provoked, and your child should have a healthy respect for a dog’s strength.
Encourage children to approach new dogs only after an owner has given consent. Tell them to let the dog come to them and never encroach on the dog’s space. Prevent them from teasing or surprising the dog by playing with him during feeding times, hugging or pulling on his ears, or otherwise engaging with the dog in a way that could be perceived as threatening.
Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Claim in New York
New York state law sets a hard deadline for filing a claim to pursue compensation in dog bite cases. This time limit, known under the law as the statute of limitations, sets the maximum amount of time you must begin your claim.
State law limits civil lawsuits for compensation for injuries to three years from the date of the injury. For example, if a dog attacked you on May 1, 2018, you would have until April 30, 2021 to file your claim. This may seem like plenty of time, but recovering from an injury, gathering the evidence of the case, finding the owner of the dog, and attempting to negotiate a settlement can take plenty of time. Before you know it, your window of opportunity for seeking compensation can quickly close. There is an exception for those under 18 years of age; they have until they turn 21 to start a lawsuit.
If you fail to file your claim before the deadline, the defense may ask the courts to dismiss your case. Except for very rare circumstances, the courts will almost always dismiss a claim filed after the deadline. Even if your claim would otherwise merit compensation, the court can throw it out for missing this key deadline. Once the court has dismissed your claim, you cannot bring it again later. In these circumstances, it is unlikely the insurance company or the dog’s owner will be willing to negotiate any compensation for your injuries.
Acting promptly helps ensure you do not miss this hard deadline. In addition, by acting quickly, you have the best chance of preserving all the evidence in your case. Witness recollections will be fresh, as will your own memories of exactly what took place. Insurance companies are less likely to negotiate in cases where you delay seeking compensation. Some attorneys may even hesitate to take a case if they do not think they will have adequate time to assemble the evidence of the case. In almost every case, the best practice is to begin your claim as soon as possible.
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims in Nassau County
State law mandates the types of compensation victims may seek after a dog bite. The purpose is to restore what a victim loses after their injury, as much as possible after the attack. There are two main types of compensation you may seek after a dog bite – economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are compensation for expenses you can measure objectively. These damages usually come in the form of bills or other evidence demonstrating the exact cost of the damage.
Medical expenses are a common item sought in almost all dog bite claims. This would include the hospital expenses, doctor bills, cost of prescription medication, and any other costs for medical treatment you incurred because of your dog bite.
Lost wages due to missed time at work are a compensable expense after your injury. This includes not only time missed up to this point, but wages you expect to lose due to missed time in the future. If your injury leaves you restricted from the work you would ordinarily do, you may also seek compensation for diminished earning capacity.
You may seek compensation for any personal property damaged in the attack as well. Broken eyeglasses, damage to a bicycle, torn clothes or shoes, or a cell phone damaged in the attack are all items that require money to repair or replace after your dog bite. You may seek compensation for their repair or their fair market value at the time they were destroyed.
Non-economic damages are compensation for damages you cannot measure in strictly financial terms. There are no bills or evidence for their cost, and you must negotiate the value of these damages during a settlement or at the discretion of the court.
Pain and suffering is a significant factor after a dog bite. Bite wounds can take time to heal, and in the meantime, the victim suffers the pain of the attack. Permanent scarring is a frequent consequence of a dog attach and monetary damages for disfigurement are allowed under the law.
Mental and emotional suffering common after an animal attack. The victim can experience nightmares relating to the attack or suffer anxiety or fear of animals because of a dog bite.
You can also seek punitive damages. These are to punish those whose conduct was willfully or egregiously negligent and to punish the dog owner and deter others from similar behavior in the future.
Contact a Local Dog Bite Attorney in Nassau County
The dog bite lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP believe that every animal bite victim deserves compassionate representation focused on securing fair compensation for injury. Contact us today for a free consultation or with any dog bite questions you have.