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Dog Bites

Dog Bites

Dogs are beloved pets to millions of New Yorkers. Regardless, dog bites are incredibly common, with the Center for Disease Control reporting over 4.5 million bites per year. Further, children are at an especially high risk of injury from dog bites, as shown by the high percentage of dog bite related injuries involving children each year. If you have been injured by a dog, its’ owner may very well be liable for your injuries. However, it can often be difficult to prove that a dog owner is liable for injuries in New York, due to stringent laws.

New York is among the minority of states that requires a showing of a “vicious propensity” before allowing recovery for a dog bite. To prove vicious propensity, two elements must be satisfied, which are that:
  1. the dog had a tendency to be vicious; and
  2. the dog’s owner was aware (or should have been aware) of the dog’s tendency to be vicious.

It is not necessary to show prior history of a dog bite to prove viciousness. Acts of aggression, such as warnings given to or by a veterinarian can suffice. Nor is it necessary for you to actually be bitten by the dog to recover (for example if you were caused to fall due to the acts of an attacking or overly aggressive dog, you can recover if the dog had a history of acting in such a way). Signs of viciousness/aggression may include a dog lunging from its leash, growling or snapping at people, or jumping on people. A “Beware of Dog” sign may indicate that the dog’s owner was aware that it posed a danger. Landlords can also be held liable for attacks by their tenant’s dog, if the landlord was aware of the dog’s vicious propensity. If you are able to prove vicious propensity and have suffered injuries, the dog owner will be held strictly liable and will be required to pay compensation for both your pain and suffering and economic losses.

If you have been bitten or injured by a dog, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time is often of the essence in these cases. The firm of Zalman Schnurman & Miner P.C. has recovered millions in damages for victims of dog bites. If you are interested in commencing a lawsuit, please reach out to us for a free consultation.

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