Are Lawsuits Worth It After A Dog Bite In Manhattan?

The compensation you may receive after a dog bite could depend on your injuries. The Insurance Information Institute noted that dog bite claims filed by New York residents during 2021 resulted in a combined amount exceeding $61 million. New York also accounted for the highest average settlement amount. You are not, however, limited to dealing with insurance carriers after a dog bite; filing a lawsuit could prove the animal’s owner liable for your damages.

Injuries Caused by All Breeds Could Qualify for Compensation

Any dog breed could bite, and your lawsuit does not need to show that an animal had a natural tendency to attack. Under New York State law, insurance carriers cannot restrict or limit a homeowner policy’s coverage because of a canine’s breed. Breeds such as pit bulls, for example, have developed their reputation for aggression due to extensive media coverage of their attacks. Severe pit bull attacks, however, often result in a need for emergency surgery, and some injuries may require several years of reconstructive procedures.

While some pit bull owners train their pets to fight, other breeds such as Golden Retrievers have established a reputation for friendliness. Insurance carriers, however, reportedly paid out more than $850 million in dog bite claims during 2021 for injuries from attacks by breeds other than pit bulls. Regardless of the breed, dog owners or their insurance carriers may need to provide compensation for damages even if their “friendly” animals were suddenly provoked or became frightened.

Dog Bite Reports Could Help Win Lawsuits in Manhattan

If you suffer a dog bite attack in Manhattan, New York City requires you to report the event no more than 24 hours after it occurs. You will need to submit a confidential report of the event online and include the date the bite occurred; you could also note the dog’s breed or colors to help officials identify it. You may keep a copy of the report with your medical bills as evidence of the attack.

A dog bite report could help to discover information about the canine that attacked you. New York City health officials may have records of an animal’s previous bites or recognize that the dog poses a threat to public safety. Through the city’s database of reported injuries, you may learn about an animal, its owner or its recorded history of attacks. Owners have a duty of care to prevent their dogs from biting, and a repeat incident could make a difference in how the court approaches your lawsuit.

New York’s Strict Liability Rule for Dog Owners

A legal action could help you hold a canine’s owner responsible for your injuries. As detailed by New York State Senate Assembly Bill A2575A, dog owners have strict liability to pay for medical expenses resulting from their animals’ bites. The dog’s owner could pay for health care costs such as hospitalization, reconstructive surgery and prescriptions.

You may, for example, need to visit an emergency room and receive treatment immediately after a dog attacked you. The Cleveland Clinic recommends treating wounds no later than eight hours after the bite occurs. Canine saliva contains strains of bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus or pasteurella. When a dog bite breaks the skin, harmful bacteria could enter your system. Regardless of a puncture’s size or depth, canine bites could lead to infections requiring powerful antibiotics. Your doctor may also test you for the rabies virus or administer a tetanus shot.

Dog Owners May Need To Pay for Harm Inflicted on Other Animals

As described by Michigan State University’s Animal Legal and Historical Center, U.S. law generally considers domestic pets as property. Similar to other types of property, you may receive compensation if a dog attacked your pet or service animal; you may then file a lawsuit to hold a dog’s owner liable for the cost of “repairing” or “replacing” your property.

The bills for taking your pet to a veterinarian after a dog attack, for example, may qualify for reimbursement of the expenses needed to “repair” personal property. When a canine kills an animal, however, its owner may have liability to pay for the cost to replace it, which could equal a deceased pet’s fair market value. The court may consider compensation for trained companion, support or “show” animals by their commercial worth.

Compensation May Cover More Than the Physical Damages

When a canine has a known history of aggressive behavior, you may file a legal action against its owner for breaching a duty of care. A reasonably foreseeable injury that a careless dog owner or handler could have prevented may result in additional compensation. In this case, the court may award financial relief in an amount that exceeds your medical expenses. Your complaint, however, may need to demonstrate that the owner knew – or should have known – that the dog could attack.

Evidence that an owner knew of a dog’s tendency to bite could include warning signs or a locked gate. If an attack occurred outside, the canine’s owner or handler may have lost control by letting go of its leash. Construction or other visible blockages on a sidewalk, for instance, should alert dog handlers of the need to exert greater control over an animal to avoid mishaps. You may take pictures of the scene of a dog bite event to provide evidence of how a dog owner lost control over the animal that attacked you.

New York’s Statutes Define Dogs With Attack Histories As Dangerous

New York State law defines a dangerous dog as one that attacks an individual or a companion animal without justification. If the canine causes serious injuries or death, it may classify as dangerous. The law also considers dogs “dangerous” when they attack farm animals or livestock for no reason. If a dog’s behavior causes a reasonable person to believe that it poses an unjustified and imminent threat to humans or other animals, the law may regard it as dangerous. When a canine kills or injures a guide, hearing or service dog trained to assist a person with a disability, it also falls into the dangerous category.

As noted by the New York State Bar, reporting a dangerous dog attack may require attending a court hearing. A judge may review your evidence and hear your testimony to determine if enough probable cause exists to classify a dog as dangerous. In some cases, an official may remove a dog from its owner to prevent further injuries after a judge deems it dangerous.

Filing a Legal Action After a Dog Bite Incident

New York law provides up to three years from the date of a dog bite to file a legal action. A dog’s owner, however, may defend the animal’s actions and attempt to avoid liability. Canines trained to assist law enforcement officials, for example, have lawful exemptions from events causing injuries. Dogs acting to protect their owners, home or pups may also avoid culpability for an attack. If a dog experienced abuse or acted in self-defense, its actions may not result in its owner incurring liability for injuries.

After filing a lawsuit, the court may review your medical records to determine the amount of compensation to award. The court may also award additional compensation for lost wages or pain and suffering. Find out what you deserve as compensation for your injuries. You can contact an experienced dog bite attorney on the Cellino Law team to schedule a no-fee consultation.

INJURED?
WE CAN HELP

CALL US NOW

Free Case Review

FREE CASE REVIEW

Testimonials

  • I can only say great things about my attorney Allan Silverstein. He is professional, he calls back right away, he keeps me informed, and makes me feel comfortable as this entire ordeal is stressful. I have total confidence in his ability to handle whatever comes his way. He is no nonsense and very good at his job. Thank you Allan... he is a true asset to the team!

    Mrs Steward

  • This letter is to thank Ms. Diane D’Andrea, assistant to Mr. George Gridelli, Attny for all the hard work, dedication, and attentiveness she showed during the representation of my case. She was always cheerful and ready to help in whatever way she could. All messages left for Mr. Gridelli were always relayed and Mr. Gridelli always promptly returned our calls. She was a very competent assistant. Cellino Law has proven to be a model of what legal representation should be. Throughout the 6 ½ years of this case, I have heard many horror stories from people with “bad lawyer stories.” We consider ourselves to be very lucky to have chosen Cellino Law and will always recommend you to those looking for good, honest representation with a personal touch.

    Joseph

  • Joe and I just wanted to send you this note thanking you for the professional way you handled our lawsuit. Your kindness was extremely appreciated in a very difficult time. When we found out the people that caused the accident had no insurance, we thought our chances of receiving any settlement was nonexistent. Once we met with you and released you were able to help us our minds were put at ease. Your aggressive manner of handling the case exceeded our expectations. Please feel free to use us as a reference. Thank you so much and best wishes,

    Danielle and Joe

  • Now that reality has set in, I want to thank you for all your work and assistance in obtaining my settlement for the pelvic mesh. This money will make my life so much easier in the future. Medicare just isn't sufficient. I know that I will have enough to live on. I truly appreciate of your efforts. Thank you!

    Loraine

  • Thank you for your efforts on my behalf. I am very pleased (and surprised) at the amount of the settlement. We will use the funds to help pay down the debt on the truck we had to purchase after ours was totaled. Thank you again.

    Linda

  • This is to express our gratitude to you and your team in helping us and Stephanie navigate through the legal process following her car accident. We are very satisfied with the outcome and grateful for your hard work and attention to details. We fell confident that with this compensation, Stephanie will be able to move forward with her studies and her life with the ability to care for some of her health needs resulting from the injuries sustained following her car accident. Thank you very much and may God continue to bless your efforts.

    Jose & Rose