You might not think your dog would ever bite somebody, and you could very well be right. When a dog is trained and restrained properly, there is little chance that it will harm a human or animal victim. But there is never a guarantee that your dog will not bite somebody if provoked, cornered, or suffering from a neurological condition. If your dog bites somebody, you could find yourself facing a dog bite claim.
It is important that you are mindful of your dog at all times. When in public, your dog should always be on a leash unless you are at a designated dog park. At home, keep your dog on your property with a sturdy fence.
Your Liability as an Owner
In New York, whether you are liable for a bite victim’s damages depends on whether your dog has previously been deemed a “dangerous dog,” meaning that there is a record showing that your dog has aggressive tendencies. Owners of dangerous dogs are strictly liable for their dogs’ victims’ medical bills, including veterinary bills if the victim is also a dog. If the dog is not considered to be dangerous or if the victim is seeking compensation for damages other than medical or veterinary bills, the victim must prove that your negligence caused the bite to happen.
If your Dog is Labeled a Dangerous Dog
Your dog may be labeled a dangerous dog if it meets the following requirements:
- It has, without justification, attacked or killed a person, companion animal, or other domestic animals; or
- It behaves in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to believe that it is capable of harming or killing a person or domestic animal.
If your dangerous dog harms a victim because of your negligence, you may be required to pay a fine. If the injury was serious, meaning that it caused significant bodily harm to the victim, you can also face jail time if the court proves that your negligence was responsible for the bite.
Depending on the extent of the damage caused by the bite, the court may also impose any of the following requirements on your dog:
- Leashing and muzzling in public at all times;
- Confinement to your property;
- Requiring you to take out an insurance policy to cover damages in future attacks;
- Training for the dog; and
- In very serious cases, euthanasia.
Work with an Experienced New York Dog Bite Lawyer
If your dog bites a victim, you can find yourself facing legal action from the victim or his or her family. Defend your rights by working with an attorney who understands all aspects of New York’s dog bite law. To learn more, set up a consultation with our team of New York dog bite lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. Our office is located on Court Street in Brooklyn.
Learn more about dog bite statistics here.