Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Helping Residents in New York City
Every year millions of Americans, half of them children, are victims of dog bites and, in too many cases, suffer a serious dog bite injury. In spite of that fact, most people find dogs appealing and dogs remain a favorite pet, even in the heart of New York City. The vast majority of dogs are non-aggressive and affectionate, but if you have had the unfortunate experience of being bitten by a dog in New York City or the surrounding areas, Scaffidi & Associates has a tough team of personal injury attorneys ready to litigate on your behalf
Dog Bites Laws in New York
The dog bite laws in New York are complicated since the state uses both strict liability and the “one-bite” rule. On the one hand, the owner or custodian of a dangerous dog can be held strictly liable for the medical costs of personal injuries caused by the dog. A dangerous dog is legally defined as one that attacks and injures or kills a person or domestic animal without justification, or that displays other behavior that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious risk of severe injury or death.
In addition, an owner can also be found negligent for an injury caused by a dog that is not deemed to be dangerous. In this situation, it is necessary to show that the owner was aware of the dog’s propensity for violence. In short, an owner who knew, or should have known, that the dog had an aggressive disposition or vicious propensities can be held liable.
The confusing nature of New York’s dog bite laws makes it all the more imperative that you engage the services of a highly competent personal injury attorney who understands the intricacies of all pertinent statutes. In order for one of our first-rate dog bite attorneys at Scaffidi & Associates to prove that you deserve more comprehensive compensation (beyond medical costs) we must prove that the dog’s owner failed to take reasonable steps to control the animal in question by, for example, keeping it tied up or within an enclosed area. We must also prove that you incurred serious injuries due to the dog bite.
Serious Dog Bite Injuries
While almost everyone who owns or interacts with dogs has been occasionally nipped or accidentally bruised by a dog, serious dog bites are a different matter altogether. Serious injuries include ones that cause disfigurement, prolonged impairment, or loss of an organ or body part. and may result in:
- Excessive bleeding
- Stitching or surgery
- Eventual scarring
- Puncture wounds that penetrate flesh, muscle, ligament, and even bone
- Infectious diseases such as MRSA or even rabies
- Wrongful death
Rabies in dogs is almost nonexistent in the U.S., but since there is an increase in rabid bats and coyotes, there is always the possibility that the dog who bites you may have been bitten by a wild animal and infected. This is why pet owners are still required to get their dogs vaccinated against rabies and why it is potentially more dangerous to be bitten by a stray dog with no apparent owner than by someone’s pet. Serious dog bites open the body to infection and should always be treated by a physician.
What Compensation Are You Entitled to if We Win Your Dog Bite Case?
Scaffidi & Associates has an extremely strong track record of winning personal injury cases and dog bite cases are no exception. If you have suffered serious injuries as a result of a dog bite by a pet whose owner has been negligent, we will fight to obtain damages for you to cover:
- Medical, surgical and rehabilitative expenses
- Lost wages, present and future
- Healthcare for permanent disability
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death, where applicable
In rare cases in which the dog owner facilitated the dog’s attack on you or deliberately bred the dog to be vicious, you may be entitled to punitive damages as well.
If you work as a veterinarian or a dog groomer or if you care for dogs in a shelter, the law usually won’t allow you to sue for a dog bite since it is understood that your chosen occupation puts you at “assumed risk” of such an injury. Nonetheless, if the dog’s owner has withheld information from you about the dog’s aggressive history, our dog bite attorneys may be able to win your case.
Scaffidi Attorneys Are Entirely Familiar with Dog Bite Defenses
At Scaffidi & Associates, our personal attorneys have a tremendous amount of experience, individually and cumulatively, in both sides of personal injury law and are aware of common defenses against such charges. For this reason, we are fully prepared to argue successfully against them. Some common defenses against dog bite claims in New York are:
- The dog was a law enforcement dog on active duty
- The dog was protecting its property against a trespasser or possible criminal
- The dog was protecting its puppies, its owner, or itself when it became aggressive
- The person bitten provoked the attack by taunting, assaulting, or abusing the animal
Even within New York State, some laws regarding dogs vary. It is legal, for example, for dogs in other parts of the state to be unleashed, but not “at large” (without their owners), but in New York City, dogs are required to be leashed by a leash that is 6 feet long or shorter. It should also be noted that The New York City Housing Authority bans pit bulls, dobermans, and rottweilers in any housing under its control.
Contact Our NYC Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Scaffidi & Associates’ dog bite attorneys have the necessary skills and resources to gather physical evidence, medical data, and police records indicating previous complaints, and to interview witnesses to the incident. If necessary, we can bring in expert witnesses, such as veterinarians, physicians, dog trainers, or neighbors who can testify on your behalf. Our attorneys are highly skilled negotiators as well as litigators, and may very well be able to settle your case without ever going to court. Get in touch with us by phone or by filling out one of the contact forms on our website.