In New York, to hold a dog owner liable for a dog bite, you must be able to demonstrate that the dog had "vicious propensities," meaning it had a dangerous tendency to do something that could cause harm to others. This can include a previous instance of biting or growling, lunging or barking, or any other aggressive behavior. As a skilled personal injury attorney, I've seen the devastation caused by dog bites, including severe injuries like puncture wounds, scarring, and nerve damage.
If you've been bitten by a dog, there are several steps you can take to protect your legal rights:
- Seek Medical Attention: The first and most important step is to seek medical attention. Even if the injuries appear minor, it's essential to have them examined by a medical professional. Some dog bites can lead to serious infections or other complications that may not be immediately apparent.
- Report the Incident: You should report the dog bite to the local animal control agency or police department as soon as possible. This creates a record of the incident that can be used as evidence in your case. If the dog has bitten before, there may be a record of prior incidents.
- Document the Incident: It's important to document the incident by taking photographs of your injuries, the location of the incident, and the dog if possible. You should also ask the owner or any witnesses about the dog's behavior and whether there have been any previous incidents of aggression. This information can help establish the dog's vicious propensities and strengthen your case.
- Don't Speak to Insurance Adjusters: Insurance companies may try to minimize your claim and offer a low settlement. It's important to consult with an attorney before speaking to an insurance adjuster or signing any documents.
It's worth noting that in most cases, a personal injury claim arising from a dog bite will be paid by the dog owner's insurance company, not by the owner themselves. Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically provide coverage for dog bite claims, so the dog owner's insurance company will likely be the one responsible for paying any damages that are awarded.
At RGLZ Personal Injury Law, we understand the complexities of New York's dog bite laws and know how to build a strong case to help you get the compensation you deserve. We will gather evidence, identify witnesses, and fight for your rights every step of the way. Our team is dedicated to helping you through this difficult time and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the justice you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Remember, in New York, you must be able to demonstrate the dog's vicious propensities to hold the owner liable, so it's crucial to document the incident and gather as much information as possible. We're here to help you get the compensation you deserve.