Animal bites can be quite dangerous. They often have tragic consequences and deliver injuries that threaten a victims well-being. They can cause scars, disfigurement, extraordinary pain, and mental anguish in severe cases. The most common victims of dog bites are children, and they often suffer bruises, scars, and cuts. Because animal bites are subject to infection, it is vital that medical care including injections or medications to fight infection is sought out immediately.
Contact a New York dog bite lawyer at Cellino Law Firm when you or a loved one are a victim of a dog attack. Our lawyers will work with you to get the compensation required after any injuries developed from a bite or from escaping an attacking dog. Premises liability law covers the types of claims made when these attacks occur. In order to discuss the options available to you after a dog bite injury, a personal injury lawyer in New York will help you with your legal options.
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If You Are a Victim of a Dog Bite in New York, What Should You do?
The steps taken immediately after a dog bite are vital. As you deal with the aftermath, it is likely that you will feel overwhelmed and shaken. The adrenaline coursing through the body will make it difficult to think reasonably. However, after being bitten by a dog, there are a few steps that must be taken to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of damages for your care and pain. Of course, when the situation threatens your life, the first step is to head to the emergency room or call an ambulance to get there.
In order to build a case, you must be able to provide identification for the dog that did the attack as well as its owner. Using your smartphone, take a picture of the animal as well as the owner to accurately identify both in the future. If you can, get contact information. Start by gathering the owner’s name and address and ask witnesses for their information as well. If you cannot identify the dog’s owner, you may be forced to have a painful series of rabies shots.
Dog bites often cause infections. However, when people are bitten by a stray dog, the risk of future infection is higher than when a household dog bites a resident. For this reason, even if you think the bite isn’t too bad, it is important to seek out medical care. Dog bites can also cause other types of injury in addition to infection. Even if it doesn’t seem like an emergency, treat it as one.
Seeking medical attention immediately is vital if you wish to seek compensation in the future. Without this information in your file, a case may be thrown out. The argument that your complications occurred because of your failure to seek out proper medical care can be laid out by the insurance company and your defendant’s attorney.
Even if the dog is small or is a generally friendly breed, significant injuries can result after a dog bite. These include:
Dog teeth won’t instantly tear the skin. The teeth simply aren’t sharp enough to do that. However, once the jaw sets, long term pressure can do the job. When jaws remain clamped shut long enough, the teeth can penetrate the skin and cause a deep and open wound. In addition to teeth, dog claws can also cause wounds if the animal pounces.
Even when people have protective clothing on, the claws and teeth of a dog can tear the skin. Serious bleeding can result from these wounds, especially if they hit a large artery.
When a dog with large and powerful jaws bites down on an arm or leg, they can actually break the bone and cause a serious fracture. Victims may also break bones if they fall while trying to escape from the attack.
Injuries to the Head and Brain
Skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries are a real threat when someone falls trying to escape a dog, is hit on the head, or suffers the powerful closure of a dog bite. Injuries range in severity from life-threatening to mild concussions, but all must be taken seriously. Medical attention should be rapidly secured to prevent problems in the future. Keep in mind that traumatic brain injuries can result in damage that lasts a lifetime.
Dog attacks frequently feature damage to the face including potentially blinding injury to the eyes. The ears and nose are also frequent targets. The bad news is that when facial damage is extensive, years of expensive reconstructive surgery may be required. Unfortunately, damage of this kind is not always completely repaired and extensive scarring lasts for a lifetime.
After the initial emergency room visit is over, make sure that a copy of the medical report is requested. This report should include a description of the damage sustained as well as the recommended treatment. The report should also indicate whether or not complications may occur and what the patient should do in that case. This report is required to establish the fact that the injuries were sustained in the dog attack and can be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
Do Dog Attacks Have Long Term Effects?
The Centers for Disease Control reports that almost 900,000 US residents need medical care after being bitten by a dog on an annual basis. Of these, half are still children. The report goes on to state that reconstructive surgery is required in 27,000 of these dog bite cases each year.
The insurance payouts are high. The Insurance Information Institute found that more than 16,000 cases of claims for dog bites are paid out by the policies homeowners carry. The average cost of these claims is $30,000.
Our Cellino Law lawyers will work with you to help you get the necessary money to pay for medical care after a dog bite. Dog owners are liable for the actions of their pets. However, if the property where the dog was kept was illegally entered by the victim or if the victim provoked the attack, the property owner may not be liable for damages.
In New York, the law states that any medical costs arising from a dog bite must be paid for by the dog’s owner. If the dog attacked other dogs and caused injury to them, the owner is also liable for any veterinarian bills that result.
There is the potential for more injuries than just the cuts, lacerations, and bruises that are initially documented. Over time, dog bite victims may have to deal with more:
When bites go deep into the skin, discolorations and keloid scars may linger for years. Since young children are more likely to be bitten on the face and neck, these scars are more likely to be in those highly visible locations. Since they are often disfiguring, this can seriously impact a child for the remainder of their life.
Psychological and Mental Effects
After being bitten by a dog, many people develop debilitating fear of dogs called cynophobia. In order to get this fear under control, many victims require years of therapy to learn how to cope with the anxiety that the attack caused. It is not uncommon for people to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
During recovery, a dog bite victim may not be able to go about their normal daily routine. For workers, that means that they are not able to earn their income. Over the long term, if the incident leaves them disabled, they may have to work a limited amount of hours due to the disability.
The victim must prove that the dog was aggressive and likely to bite people prior to the incident in such a way that the owner should have been well aware of the problem. This must be proven for the victim to receive compensation for lost income or pain and suffering. An extensive investigation is often undertaken to determine the facts in the case. A premises liability lawyer in New York is trained to conduct this type of research.
The types and amounts of evidence to be collected vary. An investigator spends time in the area talking to people who may have seen the attack or known the dog in the past. These are the most common types of evidence that an investigator looks for:
- Violations of leash laws
- Neighbor and eyewitness statements
- Prior attack evidence such as owner citations
Other evidence to support the idea that the dog had the potential to be dangerous or has been dangerous in the past will be looked for. Interviews of neighbors may find that the dog was known for snapping or growling at people from the yard or while on the leash with its owner. Statements such as this make the case that the owner did not have the dog well under control.
How Can a New York Dog Bite Lawyer Help Me Pursue Damages?
After the case is presented, the court will determine whether or not the owner of the dog is liable for the damages you have sustained. Compensation will be ordered. The court may decide to add additional compensation depending upon the situation. These additional damages may include:
Pain and Suffering
The amount depends on the location of the injury as well as the cruelty of the case. The more sensitive the area, the higher the reward. In order to testify against the defendant, eyewitnesses may be called. The judge will take the facts of the case under consideration to determine the amount to be rewarded. Keep in mind that compensation for pain and suffering is not easy to obtain.
Lost Income From Time Off Work
If a person loses money because they were unable to work after the dog bite, the judge may rule that compensation should be awarded. If part-time work is required, then the full salary may be considered and compensation adjusted.
Compensation for a Permanent Injury
When a person is permanently disfigured and requires long-term care or rehabilitation is required, the dog owner may be held liable for those expenses if the injury is determined to be caused by the dog attack. When disfigurement of sensitive areas such as the face occurs, the compensation is likely to be higher.
Dog owners must be aware of the potential liability they face when they own a dog that bites someone. These laws vary by locality and the dog bite attorneys chosen should be familiar with the local ordinances covering this in New York. Keep in mind that there are websites with this information as well as local attorneys who know how to handle these types of liability cases.
The best approach to dog bites is to prevent them in the first place. The American Academy of Physicians has a guide online that details prevention as well as the best way to treat dog bites after they happen. There are different liabilities for various dog breeds and scientific research is available online.
How Many Dog Bites Happen Annually in the United States?
More than 5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every single year, according to the CDC. Of these, 20% are considered mild to serious.
Are Some Dog Breeds More Likely to Bite Than Others?
The CDC released a report in 2000 in conjunction with the Humane Society of the US. This report tracked dog bites from 1979 to 1998. It listed the number of deaths from dog bites by mixed-breed, crossbred, and purebred dogs.
This report found 10 breeds were the most dangerous. These are:
- Pit Bulls
- German Shepherds
- Wolf/dog hybrids
- St. Bernards
- Mixed breeds
- Siberian huskies
- Chow Chows
Am I Eligible for Worker’s Compensation if I am Bitten by a Dog at Work?
You can file a worker’s compensation claim if you are bitten by a dog while working. Keep in mind that you can also file a claim that is separate against the dog’s owner if that owner is not the employer.
Can I File a Claim if I am Bitten by a Police Dog?
This question is very dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the bite. The police must prove that they have acted using force that is reasonable, especially during an arrest. If unreasonable force is found, then compensation for the dog bite may be obtainable.
An attorney at Cellino Law will meet with you to help determine if you have a case. The dog bite compensation may be possible if unreasonable force can be proven.
Can I File a Legal Claim for a Pet Injury?
If someone else’s pet attacks your pet and your pet dies or is injured seriously, a claim can legally be filed. A variety of expenses can be covered including shots, training, the cost of purchasing another pet, and licensing it, as well as registration costs for a purebred. Compensation for additional costs may also be covered.
It is possible to have the veterinary charges paid for and even the pain and suffering experienced by the owner after losing a beloved dog or cat. Since each locale has its own laws, it is important to find out if punitive damages are possible.