Many people have dogs that they cherish and consider part of their families, and most dogs are friendly. Nevertheless, even the most good-natured dog can unexpectedly exhibit aggression and bite an unsuspecting individual. Dog owners should prevent their dogs from attacking others, though, and if they fail to do so and know their dog has vicious propensities, they should be held accountable for any injuries caused by their dogs. If you were harmed in a dog attack, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your potential claims. Valerie Crown of The Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., is a capable Rockland County dog bite lawyer, and if she represents you, she will fight to help you seek the justice you deserve. Ms. Crown regularly represents people harmed by dog bites in lawsuits in Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties, as well as the greater metropolitan area.Harm Caused by Dog Bites
Many dogs are generally good-natured and relatively easy to train. However, there are dogs with vicious propensities, and their attack can cause significant harm such as lacerations, fractures, muscle strain and sprain, and torn ligaments and tendons. After a dog bite, a person may require substantial medical treatment including surgery and physical or occupational therapy. In many instances, the harm sustained is permanent. For example, after a dog attack or bite, a person may suffer from scarring and loss of mobility as well as mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, while recovering from their injuries, dog bite victims may be unable to work.New York Law Regarding Dog Bites
Under New York's Agriculture & Markets Code Section 123, dog owners can be held strictly liable for the harm their dogs cause to other individuals, but only if the injured person can establish that the dog had dangerous or vicious propensities and that the owner knew or should have known about those propensities. In other words, the injured party does not have to show that the attack in question was the result of the dog’s owner's negligence. Instead, they merely must prove the owner was aware of the dog’s dangerous or vicious nature prior to the attack.
The law defines dangerous dogs as those that attack and injure without justification or exhibit behavior that would reasonably lead to the belief of an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. Law enforcement dogs, carrying out their duties, are exempt from being deemed dangerous dogs, however.
Under Section 123, dog owners are strictly liable for medical expenses resulting from injuries caused by their dogs. This means that the owner must cover the injured person's medical bills even if reasonable precautions were taken to control the dog. Under this statute, a party, seeking to recoup medical expenses only, has to demonstrate that a dog had vicious propensities but does not need to prove that the dog previously bit someone. Instead, evidence of prior acts, such as growling, snapping, or lunging, may be used to establish vicious propensities (when limiting damages to medical expenses).
However, in order to obtain compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and in some cases, punitive damages, one must prove that the dog owner knew his or her dog had vicious propensities—usually meaning that the dog had bitten someone previously. Many refer to this as the “one bite” rule.
As you can see, New York Dog Bite Law is complex, and you need an experienced New York attorney to navigate the various statutes and local ordinances.Meet with an Experienced Rockland County Attorney
Many people consider dogs to be loveable family pets, but when they bite people, they can cause considerable harm. If you were hurt in a dog attack, you may be owed compensation, and you should contact an attorney. Valerie Crown of The Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., is an experienced Rockland County dog bite attorney who can inform you of your rights and help you to seek the full amount of damages available under the law. Ms. Crown’s office is located in New York, and she regularly represents injured people in lawsuits arising out of car accidents in Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties, as well as the greater metropolitan area. You can reach Ms. Crown by calling 845-708-5900 (office number) or 845-598-8253 (Valerie’s direct cellphone 24/7) or via the form online.