Animal bite injuries can be some of the most tragic injuries a person ever faces. They commonly leave victims with serious pain, psychological trauma, and even permanent scars. More tragically, kids are often the victims of attacks by animals, in particular, dog bites specifically. Victims of animal bite injuries routinely suffer from scarring, lacerations, and bruising. They might have to get shots in order to ward off infection, and continuing medical treatment might also be necessary.
Injured victims in upstate New York might need a Buffalo dog bite lawyer to help them recover compensation for their dog bite injuries or even injuries sustained in their efforts trying to avoid an attack. Cases involving dog bite injuries typically fall under the purview of premises liability. If you have been injured by a dog attack contact a Buffalo personal injury lawyer today.
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New York State Laws Regarding Dog Bites
It’s crucial that every dog owner and dog bite victims comprehend the laws of their state as they pertain to dog bites and the liability related to them. Quite a few states enforce strict liability laws stating that dog owners are the ones liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dogs. In other states, dog bite cases get handled as a matter of owner negligence. The state of New York is rather strange in how it employs a combination of both negligence and strict liability laws when handling cases about dog bites. Fortunately, the attorneys of Cellino Law are here to help you with this.
Dog owners are strictly liable in regards to all medical expenses that a victim incurs, even if that victim practiced reasonable care at the time they were handling the dog and they practiced reasonable efforts aimed at mitigating the harm of an attack or even preventing it. It’s crucial to know that the laws of the state of New York also state that owners of dogs are also liable for dog attacks on farm animals, pets, livestock, service animals, and other domestic animals that injure or kill the other creatures and happened without any justification.
For all other kinds of various damages, the state of New York employs the legal concept of negligence in determining the amount of liability of a dog’s owner. In order to collect any damages past compensation intended for medical expenses, the attorney of the victim has to establish that the owner of the dog was sufficiently negligent in their care and handling of the dog. This concept certainly applies even more to ‘dangerous dogs’ and those who have a documented pattern of attacks in the past.
Proving negligence means that a Buffalo dog bite lawyer has to establish that the owner of the dog had an individual duty to handle the dog with reasonable care, then failed to accomplish this, and that failure consequently resulted in the injuries to the plaintiff. Also, the plaintiff in question has to have actually suffered harm. If you were attacked by a dog but suffered no actual injury or damage, then you don’t have an actual case.
Per the Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law of the state of New York, caretakers and owners of ‘dangerous dogs’ have to take proper precautions against any future attacks. This includes muzzling and/or leashing the dog when on public property, properly enclosing the dog on owner property, and warning others around about the nature of the dog.
What Should You Do Following A Buffalo Dog Attack?
Your initial actions after you suffer any dog attack prove very crucial. You’re probably going to be rattled because of how severe your wounds are, as well as the adrenaline rush that can happen in moments such as these. However, do what you can to keep in mind these steps if you’d like to have the greatest possibility of receiving compensation for any injuries you sustain or suffer. If you have life-threatening or severe injuries, immediately contact 911 to get medical assistance.
As soon as you can, identify both the dog and its owner. If you’re like most Americans, you carry a smartphone. If possible, use it to get photos. Make sure you record the specific names, addresses, and individual contact information of all those involved with the situation. Make sure to get information from any nearby witnesses. If you can’t determine the owner of the dog, then you’re probably going to have to go through a sequence of rabies shots. All dog bites carry a high risk of infection, but it’s even higher for any incidents involving unidentified dogs.
Once you get the various information of anyone involved, seek prompt medical assistance. Even if you don’t need emergency medical assistance, you need professional care in checking for injuries dogs can cause other than bites. Skipping this step can also ruin your chances at recovery since the defendant’s and/or insurance lawyer could argue that it means you weren’t really hurt.
What Injuries Do Dog Attacks Cause?
Dog bites, as well as other different animal attacks, can result in severe injuries that are sometimes even life-threatening. The most frequent ones among dog bites and attack include but are not limited to the following:
Dogs are like many other animals that prefer attacking with claws and teeth. Such injuries might not appear too serious at the time they happen, but it’s still crucial that they get treated promptly. Deep punctures might result in nerve damage and scarring. When left untreated, an infection might also follow. Medical professionals can thoroughly clean and dress a wound to prevent longer-running injuries.
These might rip skin and clothes, resulting in serious bleeding.
Bigger dogs might actually bite with force strong enough to break certain bones. Also, some dog attacks cause victims to fall over or down, leaving them with bone fractures when landing or upon impact.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Strikes to a person’s head, strong bites, and falling down on the ground can result in traumatic brain injuries and even skull fractures. Also known as TBIs, traumatic brain injuries can be anything from mild concussions to substantial threats to someone’s life. Any sort of head injury needs immediate professional medical attention, and it’s essential you remember that the worst TBIs involve some sort of permanent damage.
Dogs might attack the face or head of a victim, hurting their ears, nose, eyes, and other parts of the facial area of their body. Such injuries often require multiple surgeries, leaving permanent scarring.
Once you address any immediate medical concerns, make sure you get a medical report from your primary care physician or just the doctor attending to you detailing how extensive your injuries are, the potential for long-running complications, what’s involved in your likely recovery, and the treatment plan prescribed. All this is invaluable to a dog bite attorney in Buffalo, NY, coming up with your personal injury lawsuit to file against the owner of the dog that attacked you.
Wounds left untreated can get infected. The claws and mouths of animals carry soil, bacteria, waste, and plenty of other substances or materials you don’t want in your open wound but can transfer there easily. Infected wounds might appear warm, tender, swollen, or red, and they can also develop excretions or pus. These need to be treated as quickly as possible and any medications or treatment regimen your doctor prescribes needs to be adhered to rigidly.
Based on where specifically on your body you get attacked, serious nerve damage might happen as a result of a deep wound. Damage like this can result in issues like mobility impairment and chronic pain even after wounds heal. There are even higher risks of this for bites to the neck, head, and face.
This is potentially permanent disfigurement resulting from animal attacks and infections. A victim’s quality of life can be seriously impaired, particularly for facial scars. In some instances, costly and painful facial reconstruction surgery proves necessary.
Animal attacks do far more than physical damage, particularly for kids. Professional therapy might be necessary for those suffering fears of dogs, nightmares, and other symptoms of emotional trauma.
Dog Bite Treatment
Get to a doctor as soon as you can. That doctor is likely to ask you who the owner of the dog is, if that dog is current on vaccines, health issues you have, and other questions to determine your best course of treatment. Your physician will look into damage to deep tissues, bones, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Always let medical professionals assess your level of injury, particularly given the high risk of disease and bacterial infection.
Dog Bite Injuries Have Severe Repercussions
Nearly 885,000 citizens every year wind up seeking medical attention for their injuries relating to dog bites, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same CDC data highlights how children account for half of that total. Also, over 27,000 individuals wind up going through reconstructive surgery from dog bites in an average year.
Additional research from the Insurance Information Institute highlights the fact that the industry pays out 16,500 annual dog bite claims just through homeowner’s insurance alone. Those claims average $30,000, which is usually much less than the actual cost of most serious injuries.
If you’ve been bitten by any dog in your state and needed medical treatment for the injury, then you can trust the attorneys of Cellino Law to help you get compensation in most cases from the dog owner. The owners of dogs are typically liable for any harm caused by the animal, except for cases of provoking the dog or just trespassing on private property.
New York state law stipulates that dog owners are held liable for any medical costs incurred by those bitten by one of their dogs. This same law also stipulates that veterinary costs are covered for other animals possibly attacked.
In order to get more compensation, for things like lost wages or pain and suffering, then the victim has to establish the dog demonstrated a dangerous tendency or proclivity for biting people. Also, it must be proven that the owner of the dog either did know about it or at least should have. Accomplishing this typically requires investigative work by attorneys experienced in dog bite claims, like those at Cellino Law.
Evidence that a Cellino attorney might look for include testimony from neighbors and/or eyewitnesses, local violations of leash laws, citations of prior attacks, and anything else that might help prove that the dog was already known as a potential or existing danger. For instance, some dogs might have been known to previously bare their teeth, snap, growl, or even need restraint by their owner in a way that suggested the animal was difficult to manage.
What Compensation Can Dog Bite Victims Receive?
If a court determines that a specific dog owner is both negligent and liable for any dog bite injury, then the plaintiff who was injured can get compensation. Other potential damages include but are not limited to:
These will cover any period of a time where a victim needed to remain home from work because of the attack. If an injury is serious enough to keep a victim from ever going back to work, then the victim might be able to warrant compensation for any wages they would have probably earned going into the future.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering in cases of especially brutal attacks or attacks that impact sensitive spots on the body, then a Buffalo dog bite lawyer can typically call witnesses in for testimony. It might be hard to put a specific dollar figure on things like pain and suffering, although judges can consider how severe injuries are for a victim, as well as witness testimony, before ascertaining an amount they consider proper.
Permanent damages, as a dog owner might be held liable for costs associated with restorative surgeries and procedures, rehabilitation, long-term care, and continuing care when a victim’s injuries happen to be permanently disfiguring and/or disabling.
Dog owners need to keep current with the ordinances and laws of their area regarding dogs, their bites, and the liability surrounding it. Consulting a Buffalo dog bite lawyer from Cellino Law is a great way to get answers to many questions, although there are many online resources covering a lot of useful topics for both dog owners and victims of dog bites.
For instance, there is a guide for the prevention and treatment of dog bites, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians. In the case of a sudden dog attack, this might be very useful for anyone to have or know. There is also potential research you can access regarding breed-specific legislation for your state, medical and scientific findings, and even where you can find liability insurance.
How Many Total Dog Bites Happen Each Year In America?
Per CDC figures, there are roughly 5 million dog bites across the country every 12 months. Almost 20% of these result in injuries, ranging from minor severe.
Can Unneutered Dog Be More Dangerous?
Studies indicate this to be true. Per statistics, non-neutered or non-spayed dogs are three times as likely to bite, compared to neutered animals or spades.
Are There Certain Dogs Who Are Outlawed Because Of Aggressive Behavior?
Yes, this is also true, though not throughout all of New York. Given their relatively aggressive tendencies, breeds like pit bulls, rottweilers, and others are totally banned by some communities. Dog owners that insist on keeping dogs that are banned can be subjected to fines.
Are Specific Dog Breeds More Dangerous Than Others?
The Humane Society of the United States partnered up with the Center for Disease Control to jointly release a 2000 report. In this report, dog bite fatalities were tracked over two decades, starting in 1979 and concluding in 1998.
That report listed out how many fatalities were caused by purebreds, mixed breeds, and crossbreeds, determining that the following were the top 10 deadliest breeds of dog:
- German Shepards
- Huskies, such as Siberians
- Wolf/dog hybrids
- Dogs of mixed breeds
- Chow Chows
- Saint Bernards
If A Neighbor’s Dog Bites Me While On My Property, Do I Have A Legal Claim?
It really depends on the particular situation. For instance, you need to ascertain whether or not your state is one that imposes a ‘strict liability’ on residential dog owners. If that’s the case, then you only have to prove that the specific dog actually injured you. If, however, your state doesn’t have this strict liability law, then you might need to demonstrate that your neighbor either was aware or should have been aware of the vicious tendencies of their dog prior to the attack. The attorneys working at Cellino Law can help establish either case and figure out which one applies to your state.
Can Someone File A Legal Claim If Bitten By Stray Dogs?
Most of the time, someone who is bitten by any stray dog isn’t going to have any legal claims. Generally speaking, municipalities aren’t responsible for any stray dogs around the area. On the other hand, any dog kept in a local pound who escapes before biting you might result in a claim specifically against the pound. If you are able to argue successfully that the negligence of the pound resulted in your injury, then recovering damages might become possible.
Do I Have A Claim If Bitten By A Dog Belonging To The Owner Of A Property I Am Working At?
In the majority of cases like these, when you’re asked into a home or onto someone’s property do so some work for somebody, then the property owner has a specific legal responsibility to undertake any reasonable efforts to keep you protected from being injured. As such, should a person have a pet, then that person needs to minimally warn you about the presence of an animal, if not actually keeping that pet physically away from you.
Take note of the fact that in cases such as these, you might also be able to make a workers’ compensation claim directly against your employer as well. Still, every case is distinct, so consult one of the Buffalo premises liability lawyers at Cellino Law to get a better idea.
Can You File Workers’ Compensation If Bitten By A Dog At Work?
If your injury happens while doing your routine working duties, then you are very likely free to file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. On top of a claim for workers’ compensation, if the dog’s owner isn’t your actual employer, then you might be able to add a legal claim specifically against that person too.
Can I File An Injury Claim For A Police Dog Biting Me?
This really depends on the specific situation. Law enforcement personnel aren’t allowed to utilize unreasonable levels of force in the performance of any duty, including making arrests. Inappropriate use of police dogs sometimes equates to unreasonable force. If this happens in your own circumstance, which you honestly need a lawyer’s assistance with establishing, then the police force in question might be mandated to compensate you for any injuries suffered or inflicted.
If My Pet Is Killed By Somebody Else’s Animal Can I File A Legal Claim?
If another animal injures or kills your pet, then you might have the right to get ‘compensatory’ damages. That amount might include the retail price for a similar pet, the registration for a purebred animal, shots, licensing, and various training costs. Also, if you were to spend any extra money on your pet, aside from routine veterinary bills, then you deserve compensation for those sums.
In certain circumstances, you might even be capable of getting compensation for the lost companionship of your beloved pet and any associated mental anguish. Punitive damages might even be a possibility. Since every state has its own laws, it’s best to consult with an attorney for more information. The Buffalo personal injury firm of Cellino Law is ready to help you.