Who Pays for a Dog Bite in New York?
If you’re bitten by a dog in New York, you could be owed compensation from the dog’s owner. Liability for the bite will depend on the answers to specific questions, including: Where were you when the bite occurred? Did the owner take precautions to restrain or control their dog? Did the circumstances of the bite or did past behaviors of the dog indicate that it was a “dangerous dog?”
Dog Bite Injury Laws in New York
A pet owner could be held liable for your dog bite injury if the dog is considered a “dangerous dog” under state law. That means their dog:
- Behaved in a manner to cause a reasonable person to believe the dog posed an unjustified and serious imminent threat of death or serious physical injury
- Attacked and injured or killed a person, pet, or farm animal without justification
However, the definition of a “dangerous dog” does not apply to a law enforcement dog performing its official duties.
No state-wide law requires owners to restrain their dogs while in public. However, localities can issue ordinances regarding whether a dog owner must keep their dog on a leash or restrain it somehow.
According to Article 161 of the New York City Health Code, anyone who possesses, owns, or controls a dog is not allowed to be in a public place or an unfenced or open area on a public place unless they restrain their dog with a chain or leash six feet long or shorter.
The only exception to this law is if the dog is in a dog run or at a participating park during off-leash hours.
How to Hold a Dog’s Owner Liable for an Injury
Based on the one-bite and strict liability law, a person with a dog bite injury can hold the dog’s owner liable if the dog is considered a “dangerous dog.” However, the owner only has to pay for medical bills resulting from the attack. They’re not on the hook for other costs you incur due to your injury.
The one-bite rule applies to situations involving the dog owner’s negligence. You could pursue compensation for medical bills and additional expenses if you prove the owner’s negligence contributed to the attack. In other words, there must be evidence that the owner didn’t use reasonable care to prevent their dog from harming others or warn people of their dog’s dangerous behavior.
Depending on where the bite happened, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover fair compensation from the owner. For example, if you were at someone’s home when you sustained the dog bite injury, you might be eligible to file an injury claim with their homeowners’ insurance carrier. Similarly, you could file a claim with a business owner’s liability insurer if you were at a restaurant when a dog attacked you.
Scenarios Preventing an Owner from Assuming Liability
Even if a dog is considered a “dangerous dog” by law and the owner’s negligence caused the attack, the owner may not be liable for an injury in certain scenarios, such as:
- Provocation – If someone provokes a dog and it attacks, the owner might not be at fault.
- Trespassing – Anyone trespassing on someone else’s property when a dog bite injury occurs cannot pursue compensation from the owner.
- Prior knowledge – A dog’s owner might not be liable for an injury if they didn’t know their dog bit someone before.
At The Mandel Law Firm, we understand the physical and emotional scars a traumatic dog attack can leave behind. We’ll be ready to help you seek the full and fair compensation you need to pay your medical bills and move on with your life.
If a dog bit you in New York, call us today at (646) 779-1441 for a confidential consultation with an experienced New York City dog bite injury attorney.