Animal bite injuries are among the most tragic injuries faced by a person. These injuries can cause serious pain, permanent scars, and psychological trauma. Children are the most common victims of animal bites, especially dog bites. Those who are bitten by animals suffer from lacerations, scarring, and bruising. They may need an injection to prevent infection or need continuing medical treatment.
If you are injured by an animal attack, contact a Rochester dog bite lawyer at Cellino Law to help you recover compensation for injuries you may have sustained. Call (800) 555-5555 today to schedule a free consultation for your dog bite claim with our Rochester, NY personal injury lawyers.
Table of Contents
New York Dog Bite Laws
As a dog owner or a dog bite victim, it is important to know what the law in your state says about dog bites and the liability related to the bites. A few states in the US impose strict liability laws that state that a dog owner is liable for any damages or injuries caused by his or her dog. Other states handle dog bite cases as a matter of dog owner negligence. The state of New York combines strict liability laws and owner negligence when it comes to dog bite cases.
The good news is that Cellino Law has dog bite attorneys who can help you with your dog bite case. As a dog owner, you are strictly liable for medical expenses for a dog bite, even if the victim practiced reasonable care when they were handling your dog and he or she practiced reasonable efforts to mitigate the harm of an attack or prevent it.
You should also know that laws of the state of New York state that a dog owner is liable for dog attacks on pets, farm animals, service animals, livestock, and other domestic animals that injure or kill other creatures without any justifiable reason.
When it comes to other damages, the state of New York usually uses the legal concept of negligence to determine a dog owner’s liability. To get compensation for the victim’s past and future medical expenses, the victim’s attorney has to prove the dog owner was sufficiently negligent in handling and caring for their dog. This concept applies especially to “dangerous dogs” and those dogs with a documented pattern of attacks in the past.
A Rochester dog bite attorney will prove negligence by establishing that the dog owner was supposed to handle his or her dog with reasonable but he or she failed to do so and this failure caused the injuries to the plaintiff. Additionally, the plaintiff needs to show that he or she suffered an injury because of the dog owner’s negligence. However, if a dog attacked the plaintiff but the plaintiff did not suffer harm, there is no actual case.
The Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law of the state of New York states that owners and caretakers of ‘dangerous dogs’ should take proper precautions to prevent any further dog attacks. Some of the precautions include leashing and/or muzzle the dog when on public property, and warning others about the nature of their dog.
What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog in Rochester
What you do immediately after being attacked by a dog is very important. You may be rattled due to the severity of your wounds and the adrenaline rush associated with such situations. However, it is a good idea to remember these steps after being attacked by a dog as they will help you increase your chances of receiving compensation for injuries you suffer or sustain from a dog attack. If you realize that you have severe or life-threatening injuries, contact 911 immediately to help you get medical assistance.
Ensure that you identify the dog and its owner after being attacked. If possible, take photos of the dog and its owner with your smartphone. Record the names, addresses, and contact information of those involved with the situation. Get information from witnesses near where you were attacked. If you are unable to identify the dog owner, you will have to undergo a series of rabies shots.
While all dog bites carry a risk of infection, being bitten by an unidentified dog carries a higher risk of infection. After getting information about all those involved, seek medical assistance as soon as possible regardless of whether you need emergency medical assistance or not. Keep in mind that dogs can cause other injuries other than bites and a medical professional knows how to check for these injuries.
Why Should I Get Medical Assistance After a Dog Bite?
This step is very important and skipping it can end up ruining your chances at recovery as the lawyer of the defendant and/or the insurance company can argue that you did not seek medical assistance because you were not hurt. All dogs regardless of their sizes or breeds can cause substantial injuries, not limited to but including the following:
These may rip clothes and skin and result in serious bleeding.
Bigger dogs can break a person’s bones as they may bite with a strong force. Some dogs also make their victims fall down or over and leave them with bone fractures upon impact or when landing.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (also known as TBIs) and skull fractures are caused by strong bites, strikes to the head of the victim, and falling on the ground. Traumatic brain injuries range in severity from mild concussions to life-threatening injuries. Any head injuries can be serious and often require urgent medical attention. Remember that the worst Traumatic Brain Injuries involve some form of permanent damage.
A dog can cause facial damage by attacking its victim’s head or face, hurting their nose, ears, eyes and other parts of the victim’s facial area. These injuries usually require multiple surgeries. They leave permanent scarring.
Just like many other animal species, dogs like attacking their victims with teeth and claws. Even though these injuries may not seem very serious immediately after being attacked by the dog, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately so that they can be treated as soon as possible. Deep punctures can lead to scarring and nerve damage. If the injuries are not treated, an infection may follow. Medical professionals can prevent longer-running injuries by cleaning and dressing the wound.
Wounds that are not treated can become infected. The mouths and claws of animals carry bacteria, soil, waste and other materials or substances that you do not want in your open wound but can be transferred easily to the wound. Infected wounds may appear tender, warm, red or swollen and can develop us or excretion. Such wounds should be treated as soon as possible. You should also adhere to any treatment regiment or medications your doctor prescribes to your rigidly.
A deep wound can lead to serious nerve damage depending on the part of your body the dog attacked. Nerve damage can cause problems such as mobility impairment and chronic pain even after your wounds have healed. Bites to the head, neck, and face are riskier.
This may be a permanent disfigurement caused by animal attacks and infections. Scarring can seriously impair the victim’s quality of life especially facial scars. Sometimes, expensive and painful facial reconstruction surgery is needed to reverse the damage.
Apart from physical damage, animal attacks can lead to emotional trauma especially in children. Those suffering symptoms of emotional trauma such as nightmares and fears of dogs need professional therapy.
Dog Bite Treatment
It is important to seek medical assistance immediately after being bitten by a dog. The doctor will most likely ask you who the dog owner is, whether the dog that attacked you is on vaccines, health problems you have, and any other questions to help them determine the treatment that works best for you. The physician will look into damage to your bones, deep tissues, muscles, tendons, and nerves. Let the medical professional do an assessment of your level of injury mainly because of the high risk of bacterial infection and disease.
After addressing any immediate medical concerns, ensure that the doctor attending to you or your primary care physician gives you a medical report giving full information about the extensiveness of your injuries, what is involved in your likely recovery, the potential for long-running complications and the treatment plan. A medical report plays a key role in your case as it enables an attorney near Rochester to prove that you were hurt by the dog.
Dog Bite Injuries Have Serious Consequences
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 885,000 citizens seek medical assistance for dog bite injuries every year. This same CDC data also shows that children account for 50% of the 885,000 citizens who seek medical assistance for dog bites. In addition, the CDC data shows that more than 27,000 people end up going through reconstructive surgery in an average year.
Research done by the Insurance Information Institute has shown that the industry pays out 16,500 annual dog bite claims through homeowner insurance only. The average of these claims is $30,000 which is often much less than the actual cost of most serious injuries.
If you need medical treatment for dog bite injuries, Cellino Law can help you get the compensation you deserve mostly from the owner of the dog that attacked you. Dog owners are liable for any harm caused by the animal. The only time when dog owners are not liable in cases where the victim provoked the dog or trespassed on private property.
If you are a resident of Rochester, NY, then the state law states that the dog owner is liable for any medical costs that result from a dog bite by one of his or her dogs. This law also states that veterinary costs are covered for other animals that may have been attacked.
Apart from potentially serious lacerations or cuts and bruises or contusions caused by clawing and biting, those who are attacked by dogs may suffer from the following:
Deep bites often leave victims of dog attacks with unsightly discolored and raised keloid scars. Children are vulnerable to facial and neck bites. Such scars can lead to disfiguring marks that last for the rest of a child’s life.
Some of the victims of dog attacks end up developing extreme fear of dogs (Cynophobia). Such people need treatment for their anxiety and in some instances full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Victims of dog attacks may end up losing out on income as they may not go to work during their recovery. They may also suffer a reduced earning capacity if the mauling disables them.
How Can a Rochester Dog Bite Lawyer Help an Injury Claim?
For a victim to receive more compensation for things such as pain and suffering or lost wages, he or she has to prove that the dog showed a dangerous tendency or proclivity for biting people. In addition, it should be proven that the dog owner knew about the attack or should have known about it. Proving these things requires investigative work which can be done by experienced attorneys in dog bite claims such as those at Cellino Law.
A Cellino attorney may look for the following evidence:
- Citations of previous attacks
- Local violations of leash laws
- Testimony from eyewitnesses and/or neighbors
The attorney will look for something that may help prove that the dog was known as a potential or existing danger. For example, some dogs may have been known to snap, bare their teeth growl, or even need restraint by their owner in a way that suggests it was difficult to manage.
What Compensation Can Dog Bite Victims Receive?
If a court determines that the owner of the dog was negligent and is liable for dog bite injury, you will receive your compensation. Other potential damages include but are not limited to:
Lost wages cover the period the victim could not go to work during recovery. On the other hand, if the victim is unable to return to work because of the injuries sustained, he or she may warrant compensation for any wages he or she could have earned in the future.
Pain and suffering particularly if the victim was brutally attacked or the dog’s attacks impacted sensitive spots on the body. A Rochester dog bite lawyer will call witnesses to testify. While it is hard to determine the exact amount to compensate a victim for pain and suffering, judges can consider the severity of the victim’s injuries and the witness testimony to help them ascertain an amount he or she considers proper.
Permanent damages. A dog owner may be liable for costs associated with restorative surgeries and procedures, long-term care, rehabilitation, and continuing care when a victim’s injuries are disabling and/or permanently disfiguring.
If you are a dog owner, ensure that you know the laws and ordinances about dogs, dog bites, and liability for dog attacks. To know more about laws about dogs, consult a Rochester premises liability lawyer from Cellino Law as they fully understand these things. You can also find useful resources for dog owners and victims of dog bites online.
The American Academy of Family Physicians, for instance, has a guide for the prevention and treatment of dog bites online. There is also potential research you can get online about breed-specific legislation for your state, scientific and medical findings, and where you can get liability insurance.
How Many People Are Bitten by Dogs in America Every Year?
According to the CDC, 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Only 1 out of 5 lead to injuries ranging from minor to worse.
Is It True That Dogs That Are Not Neutered are More Aggressive?
Yes. According to statistics, those dogs that have not been neutered or spayed are three times more likely to bite compared to those who have been neutered or spayed.
Are There Dogs Who Have Been Outlawed due to Their Aggressive Behavior?
Yes. Dogs such as Rottweilers and Pitbulls have been banned in certain communities because of their relatively aggressive behavior. Those owners who keep breeds that have been outlawed in a certain community are fined.
Are There Any Dog Breeds That Are More Dangerous Than Others?
A 2000 report released jointly by the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Disease Control tracked dog bite fatalities over two decades starting from 1979 to 1998. The report listed the number of fatalities caused by purebreds, mixed breeds, and crossbreeds.
Here are the top 10 deadliest dog breeds according to the report:
- German Shepherds
- Huskies like Siberians
- Wolf/dog hybrids
- Dogs of mixed breeds
- Chow Chows
- Saint Bernards
Can I Receive Compensation If a Neighbor’s Dog Bites Me on My Own Property?
This depends on the situation. For example, you need to find out whether or not your state imposes a ‘strict liability’ on residential dog owners. If it does, you should prove that the neighbor’s dog hurt you. However, if your state does not have a strict liability law, you should prove that your neighbor knew or should have known that their dog can attack people. Cellino Law attorneys can help you establish either case and help you know the one that applies to your specific state.
Can You File A Legal Claim If You’re Bitten by Stray Dogs?
In most cases, a person bitten by a stray dog is not going to have any legal claims. Generally speaking, municipalities are not responsible for stray dogs around the area. On the other hand, if a dog kept in a local pound escapes before biting you, you may get a claim specifically against the pound. If you are able to prove that the negligence of the pound led to your injury or injuries, it may be possible for you to get a legal claim.
Do I Get a Legal Claim If I Go to a Home to Do Work and a Dog Belonging to the Property Owner Bites Me?
In most cases, when you are asked into someone’s property or a home to do some work for someone, the property owner has a legal responsibility to ensure that you are protected from an unreasonable risk of harm while you are on his or her property. So, if the property owner has a pet, he or she should warn you about the presence of the pet. The owner of the property can also keep the pet physically away from you. In such a case, you can also make a workers’ compensation claim against your employer. However, remember that every case is unique. So, consult a lawyer at Cellino Law to know what to do.
Can I File for Workers’ Compensation If I Am Bitten by a Dog at Work?
If you are bitten while doing your job, then you may file for a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. Apart from a claim for workers’ compensation, you may add a legal claim against the owner of the dog (if your employer is not the dog owner).
Can I File a Claim If I Am Bitten by a Police Dog?
This will depend on the situation. Law enforcement personnel are expected to use reasonable levels of force when performing all their duties including making arrests. Using police dogs inappropriately sometimes equates to unreasonable force. If this happens to you, contact a lawyer to help you determine whether or not the police in question has used excessive force. If the police used unreasonable force, the police in question will have to compensate you for the injuries you sustained.
Do I Have a Legal Claim If Another Person’s Animal Kills My Pet?
If your pet is injured or killed by another person’s animal, you have the right to a legal claim. Your compensatory damages may include the registration for a purebred animal, the retail price for a similar pet licensing, shots, and various training costs. In addition, if you were planning to spend more money on your pet excluding routine veterinary bills, you need to be compensated for these sums.
In some cases, you may get compensation for the lost companionship of your pet and any mental anguish associated with the death of your beloved pet. Punitive damage may even be a possibility. Since every state in the US has its own laws, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to know more about the dog bite laws in your state. If you are looking for injury law firms in Rochester, NY, then look no further than Cellino Law. The attorneys at Cellino Law are always ready to help their clients.