Dogs may be man’s best friend, but even our closest friends can turn on us. When a dog bites a person or another animal, the injury can lead to bleeding, infection, disease, and more. In some cases, a dog attack can lead to death.
Dog owners can be held financially responsible for damages their pet causes (New York Agriculture & Markets Code §123). Damages can include compensation for medical expenses and non-economic awards. However, the state laws surrounding dog and domesticated animal bites are complex, and there are several factors that can affect a settlement or judgment.
You will need to present the details of the injury you suffered. You may also need to illustrate that the owner is liable. You will need evidence to prove liability.
Often, the defendant’s lawyer and insurance company will contest claims in an attempt to pay the minimum legal requirement, or avoid paying altogether. An attorney can help strengthen your case. If you are looking for a New York dog bite lawyer, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 816-0755.
What are the dog bite laws in New York?
The state has both “one bite” and strict liability laws. The strict liability laws make the owner responsible for medical bills unless the victim instigated the attack. To recover other damages, the victim must prove the dog was dangerous and the owner was aware.
Who is liable for a dog bite?
In many cases, owners are accountable for their dogs’ actions and must compensate for damages. However, there are some exceptions, such as if the dog was:
- Provoked, abused, or assaulted.
- Protecting itself, its puppies, or its owner.
- Defending its home from trespassers.
- Suffering or reacting to pain.
Compensation in dog bite cases may come from the owner directly or from their homeowners’ insurance.
What a New York Dog Bite Lawyer Can Do to Help
It is important to learn about your legal options. For example, you may have considered suing the dog owner for medical bill expenses, but a dog bite lawyer may advise that you are also eligible to seek compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Settlements from personal injury cases, like dog bites, are for treatment and to account for other damages.
Defendants and their legal counsel may argue that you provoked the dog or otherwise triggered the bite. If the dog does not have a record of previous attacks, owners may claim it was a one-time event. You may want legal representation to reinforce your case.
The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only receive payment from the compensation they get you. You will not need to pay anything up front.
Types of Injuries from Dog Bites
A dog bite can be minor to very severe. A minor injury can require minimum medical attention, such as a bandage. A severe bog bite could require surgery
Damage to Muscles, Tendons, Nerves, and Bones
Medical professionals will inspect and address a dog bite to determine the severity of the damage. Your dog bite might require several doctor visits and treatments.
Canine teeth can puncture skin and muscles as well as cause harm to your nerves and blood vessels. Following a dog bite, you may have nerve damage and scars.
For deep wounds, medical professionals will suture or stitch the wound. If a dog bite is severe enough, plastic surgery may be necessary.
Many dogs have strong jaws, and their bite can damage your bones, especially in vulnerable places like your hands and feet. Bones can break, fracture, and splinter.
Infections and Rabies
Wounds, in general, are susceptible to infection. Bites increase the infection risk since the attack can introduce foreign bacteria to your system. Some bacteria types from canine bites include:
- Capnocytophaga, which can cause a blood infection and inflammation of your eyes, face, heart’s lining, and more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Staphylococcus, which can cause a bad infection if it enters your bloodstream, bones, heart, joints, and lungs, according to Mayo Clinic.
- Pasteurella, which can cause an infection in your soft tissue. If the bite victim is very young, elderly, or immunocompromised, the germ can cause serious infections.
In fact, one of the downfalls of sutured wounds is that they are more likely to become infected. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for one to two weeks. Likewise, he or she may recommend a tetanus booster following an animal bite.
If you or the dog tested positive for rabies, you would need to receive shots of the vaccine. The preventative treatment takes place over a two-week period.
Small children bitten by dogs have a higher risk of injuries in the head and neck area than other age groups, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
The medical costs for animal-related injuries annually are more than a billion dollars in the United States, and dog bites make up a quarter of these injuries (Science Daily). You should not be financially responsible for dog bite injuries that are not your fault. If you or your loved one suffered injuries from a dog bite and need legal help from a New York dog bite lawyer, contact the team of representatives at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm by calling (800) 816-0755.