Dog Bite

Dog bite injuries can be very serious, and interestingly, these injuries are quite common. In fact, 4.7 million dog bite attacks happen every year. The severity of the injury depends on the type of dog involved, as well as the size and age of the victim. Injuries sustained can be anything including a moderate puncture wound, a spinal cord injury, broken bones, a neck injury, or a brain injury. Sadly, there are many cases where the victim of a dog attacked did not survive. In the same way that a victim of a car accident may seek damages from the negligent person through a personal injury claim, the law allows victims of dog bites to seek damages as well. If you need a New York Lawyer because you have been seriously injured after a dog attacked you, it is important that you contact an experienced Bronx Dog Bite Injury Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and help you hold the dog's owner responsible for biting you. In addition, if during the course of the treatment for your injuries the medical staff commits medical malpractice, the party responsible for your dog bite injury may be required to compensate you for the medical malpractice injury as well.

New York Dog Bite Law

Under New York, Agriculture & Markets Law §121(10), an owner of a dangerous dog is strictly liable for medical costs from an injury caused by the dog. In addition to being held liable for medical costs, the owner could be required to pay a fine if it is determined that the owner’s negligence results in a dog bite to either a person, a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog. The amount of the fine will depend on the seriousness of the injury, whether the dog has already been classified as a “dangerous dog,” and whether the victim was a person or another dog. In New York it is not enough to show that the dog was a vicious breed. What is important is that the dog had a history of aggressive behavior and attacks. It must be shown that the owner had prior notice that the dog had a violent disposition, or that the owner was negligent in their training, control or care for the animal.

In Van Auken v. Bory, 2013 NY Slip Op 31661 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 2013), the court described strict liability theory for a dog bite or attack. The court noted that the victim of a dog attack must prove that the dog had vicious propensities that the owner of the dog knew about or should have known about. One way to prove a vicious propensity is evidence of prior attacks.

Dog Bite Injuries

Depending on the severity of the attack, wounds from a dog attack could require medications, stitches and even skin grafts. In addition dog bites can lead to serious infections such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Pasteurella. Treatment for dog bite can involve sutures and sometimes plastic surgery. Antibiotics may be necessary if an infection develops. While rabies in dogs is rare in the United States, if the dog has not been immunized for rabies or the rabies status of the dog is unknown the victim may have to immediately get the rabies vaccine as a precaution. Rabies is an acute viral infection that is often fatal.

Even if well trained, dogs can be unpredictable. Injuries can result from not only being bitten, but also from the dog knocking you down. You can also be injured attempting to flee an attack. Injuries can include not only lacerations and puncture wounds, but also a broken bone, head injury or back injury could result. In some instances, psychological counseling may be necessary to deal with the trauma of the attack itself.

Example

In the case of Herbin v. Henrich, 2009 NY Slip Op 51531(U) (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 2009), plaintiff Barbara Herbin sued Jesse Hocker after she was bitten by Hocker's Akita dog. As a result of the bite, Herbin claimed that she suffered puncture wounds on her face requiring stitches.

Damages

Victims of dog bites are often left with painful injuries and medical bills. In many cases victims must miss work while they recover, particularly where the dog bite results in a broken bone or a head or back injury. Through a personal injury lawsuit the victim can hold the owner responsible for his or her injury. The victim can sue to recover medical expenses as well as lost wages and other out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, because being attacked by a dog, being bitten, and being permanently disfigured with a scar are all physically and emotionally painful experiences, the victim may be awarded compensation for pain and suffering. If the dog's owner acted recklessly or willfully, resulting in the dog biting the victim, the court may also award the victim punitive damages.

Bronx Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog and suffered a dog bite, you should contact an experienced attorney who understands both the legal issues associated with dog bite cases as well as the medical implications. Stephen Bilkis and Associates, PLLC is experienced in handling personal injury cases stemming from dog bites as well as other types of personal injury cases. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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