Every state in America takes a different approach to injury claims on dog bites. A legal claim for a dog bite is a form of negligence on the part of the owner, who allowed his/her pet to viciously attack someone else. There are policies in New York that provide a certain amount of protection to the dog’s owner; these can make a lawsuit less effective if there isn’t a history of attacks from the dog that bit you.
In New York, as well as many other states, dogs are given one “free” bite. This means that a dog that has never bitten someone will most likely not be held accountable for its actions. If this is the first time a formal complaint against the dog is made, then it is usually not blamed. Unless the owner’s neighbors or other witnesses can testify that the dog has bitten someone in the past. Proof is usually needed for this. Remember that these are animals. They may not have the wherewithal to know not to attack if they see someone as a threat.
Growling, barking, snarling, and the baring of teeth at people can make a dog be considered legally dangerous. These behaviors, however, are not always enough to prove that the dog is dangerous. In some cases, multiple eyewitness testimonies can override this.
New York does not alter their “One-Bite” policy for the more inherently dangerous breeds. Even dog breeds created for fighting, like pitbulls and dobermans, are still afforded this protection. The exception to this would be possible eyewitness testimony of it being violent prior to your claim.
To make your case against the dog and it’s owner you must be able to prove two things. First, that you were not trespassing. A dog defending its home territory against an intruder often a valid excuse in court that will favor the owner. You must be able to prove that you did not provoke the dog to attack you, either. Provoking the dog to bite you will not often hold up in court.
Taking Legal Action
Dogs can be dangerous. A violent dog can be a big problem for a neighborhood. If you are bitten by a dog, be sure to file an official report to your local precinct or to animal control. When you decide to take legal action against the owner, use a trusted law team that has experience dealing with Dog Bite lawsuits.
For over 25 years,we have been assisting people in the New York/New Jersey area with injury cases of all shapes and sizes; from Dog Bites to Auto Accidents. Bite Back with D’Agostino & Associates, P.C. Call us at 1-888-245-2924 for a free consultation, or click here to contact us.