Few things are as frightening as being attacked by a dog. Whether it was a strange dog that bit you or a trusted pet, you are likely suffering serious injuries as a result of the incident. Dog bite injuries can be incredibly painful and often leave lasting physical and emotional scars, especially when the victim is a child.
If you or someone you love was attacked or bitten by a dog, you do not have to face the consequences on your own. At the Law Office of Joseph J. Perrini, III, our Long Island dog bite attorney fights to hold negligent pet owners accountable. With nearly 30 years of experience, Attorney Joseph J. Perrini, III brings an in-depth understanding of the law to every case. He has successfully secured tens of millions of dollars on behalf of the catastrophically injured, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed, throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, New York City, and the surrounding areas. We encourage you to reach out to our firm today to learn how we can aggressively advocate for the justice and fair compensation you are owed.
Is New York a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?
When it comes to dog bite cases, states typically follow one of two approaches: strict liability or the one-bite rule. Under strict liability, dog owners and handlers are always liable when their dogs bite another person, regardless of whether or not the owner or handler was negligent. In states that follow the one-bite rule, dog owners and handlers have a bit more leeway. An injured individual can generally hold the dog owner or handler accountable if they can prove that there was reason to know or believe the dog might be aggressive (i.e., if the dog bit or attacked someone in the past).
New York is considered a “mixed” state when it comes to dog bite cases. A dog need not bit somebody prior to your accident in order to hold the owner liable. However, in the event that a prior attack occurred, the owner will be held strictly liable for the incident. Furthermore, if the dog in question is considered a “dangerous dog,” the owner or handler is strictly liable.
The state of New York defines a “dangerous dog” as one that has:
- Attacked, injured, or killed another person without provocation
- Attacked, injured, or killed a farm animal or pet without provocation
- Behaved in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog poses a significant threat to their immediate safety
Note that law enforcement and military dogs who are active in the line of duty cannot be classified as “dangerous dogs.”
Dog owners in New York are strictly liable for medical expenses related to injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of whether or not the dog is considered “dangerous” or whether the owner took active measures to try to restrain the dog. This applies whether the victim is a human being, a pet, or a livestock animal. For all other expenses related to dog bites, the rule of negligence applies.
What to Do After a Dog Attack
- Identify the dog & their owner
- Take photos and record any information possible (addresses, names & contact info)
- Get contact info from any witnesses
- Seek medical attention if necessary
Do Dog Owners Have Any Defenses to Dog Bite Claims?
There are several instances in which a dog owner or handler may successfully defend against a dog bite claim or lawsuit.
Some common defenses to dog bite claims include:
- Trespassing: If the person who was injured was trespassing when the bite occurred, the dog owner or handler may successfully argue that the dog was protecting property from the trespasser. As in other premises liability cases, dog owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers other than to refrain from causing intentional injury.
- Provocation: Dog owners may successfully defend against a dog bite claim on the basis of provocation. In other words, if the person who was bit was found to have provoked the dog—by abusing, threatening, or tormenting it—they may not have a case. A dog acting in response to injury or fear, or a dog that was protecting its home or owner, may be considered innocent.
- On-Duty: Another common defense to dog bite and dog attack claims in cases involving working dogs, such as police dogs or military dogs, who are active in the line of duty when the bite or attack occurs. People who are bit by on-duty law enforcement or military dogs typically do not have valid cases.
At the Law Office of Joseph J. Perrini, III, our Long Island dog bite attorney can review the specific details of your situation and help you determine if you have a case. We invite you to contact us for a free, confidential consultation today.
Long Island Dog Bite Lawyer Seeking Maximum Compensation for Injured Victims
Dog bites often lead to serious injuries, such as puncture wounds, broken bones, infections, scarring, disfigurement, and traumatic brain injuries. Victims also frequently experience a range of emotional injuries as well, from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder and a new fear of dogs. Combined, these injuries can make it extremely difficult to get back on your feet after a dog bite or attack.
At the Law Office of Joseph J. Perrini, III, we recognize the challenges you are facing—and we want to help you overcome them. Our compassionate team offers personalized support and attentive care, along with aggressive advocacy in and out of the courtroom. We know that these cases can be highly sensitive, particularly when the dog owner is someone you know. But remember that you should not have to face the immense physical, emotional, and financial consequences of someone else’s dog attacking you or your loved one all on your own.