For many, dogs are not only gentle, friendly pets and faithful companions, but also members of the family. Nonetheless, millions of people are bitten by dogs each year — half of them children. In addition to scarring and permanent disfigurement, many dog bite victims experience lasting emotional trauma. If you or a loved one has sustained a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Located in Garden City, the Law Offices of Robert Purzak frequently handles dog bite accident cases in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Well-versed in premises liability law and the complicated state law governing dog bites, we have a proven track record of helping dog bite victims obtain meaningful compensation. Although we love dogs as much as anyone else, our personal injury attorneys believe negligent dog owners must be held accountable.
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New York Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite laws are complicated and vary state to state — some rely on the “one-bite” rule and others use the strict liability standard. The dog bite laws in New York are a combination of these two standards. Under the applicable state law (New York Code §121), the owner or custodian of a “dangerous dog” can be held strictly liable for medical costs and personal injuries caused by the dog.
The law defines a dangerous dog as one that (1) attacks and injures or kills a person or domestic animal without justification or (2) displays other threatening behavior that a reasonable person would believe poses an imminent risk of serious injury or death. There are exceptions to the strict liability standard under the following circumstances, however:
- A law enforcement dog that was carrying out its duties
- A dog that was protecting its owner, home or other domestic animals
- A dog that was being tormented, abused, assaulted or threatened
Additionally, a dog owner can be held liable for injury caused by a dog that is not deemed to be dangerous if it can be proven that the owner knew, or should have known, that the dog had an aggressive disposition or vicious propensities. While a previous dog bite incident would demonstrate the owner had such knowledge (i.e. the one bite rule), other ways to show a dog had vicious propensities include:
- A dog that growled or snapped at people
- A dog that bared its teeth
- A dog that displayed other aggressive behavior
Finally, an individual who does not own the dog but harbors it with knowledge of its vicious propensities can also be held liable. In particular, a landlord has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to protect others from being injured by a tenant’s dog. Both the landlord and the dog owner can be held liable for an injury caused by a dog that was not properly restrained.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can vary based on the severity of the attack, the location of the wound, and the breed of dog. Common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Torn tissue or muscle
- Facial disfigurement
- Trauma and emotional duress
At times, dog bite injuries can be fatal, especially when small children are attacked. Other dog bite victims often require psychological counseling to process the trauma of the attack and the related injuries. And anyone can be injured after being knocked down by a dog, sustaining fractures, a head injury or a traumatic brain injury. Regardless of the nature of your dog attack injury, it takes a skilled attorney to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Damages That Can Be Collected
Victim of dog bites typically sustain painful injuries and face significant medical expenses, while severely injured victims often miss work while they recover. By filing a premises liability lawsuit, it may be possible to recover damages, including lost wages and medical expenses. Moreover, a dog bite victim who is permanently disfigured may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering. If the dog’s owner acted recklessly or intentionally, as by failing to restrain a dangerous dog or provoking a dog attack, punitive damages may also be available. Such damages are designed to punish the dog owner and to discourage others from engaging in similar misconduct.
Contact Our Long Island Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one has sustained a dog bite injury, the Law Offices of Robert Purzak can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Knowing that being injured in a dog attack is a painful, traumatic experience, we will make sure you receive the medical, rehabilitation and psychological care that you need. Above all, we will always put your best interests first and work to help you obtain just compensation. Our legal team will offer you knowledge and compassion and endlessly fight to protect your rights. Please contact our office as soon as possible to set up a free consultation. We help the injured throughout Long Island, including the towns of Brentwood, Coram, Deer Park, Hempstead, Islip, Roosevelt, and Wyandanch.