Brooklyn Dog Bite Lawyer
Representing Dog Bite Victims in Brooklyn
Animal attacks often happen out of the blue. Many people have no warning that a dog is aggressive until it clamps onto their arm or leg or jumps on them, knocking them over. Dog attacks are terrifying experiences that leave victims in considerable pain, but the legal route to compensation only adds to confusion and fear.
New York Law makes dog owners liable for attacks in certain situations. To check if you have a claim, contact The O’Connor Law Firm today. We can meet in a free consultation to answer any questions you have and review your legal rights. New York does not have the most “victim-friendly” dog bite law on the books, but we will do everything possible to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Dog Bite Injuries
Many dog breeds have powerful jaws which make it difficult to getaway. There is always the risk a dog will “crush” a limb or permanently damage nerves if it locks its jaws. Sharp teeth can slice through soft tissue and nerves, leaving behind scars.
Our clients have suffered horrific injuries in dog attacks, including:
- Nerve damage
- Soft-tissue injury
- Facial injuries
Many victims suffer from emotional distress or possibly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as they relive the accident, often at night. They might need counseling and prescription drugs to even leave their homes again.
New York’s Dog Bite Law
New York has a dog bite law that clearly favors dog owners. An owner is only liable for a dog attack in a few situations. Even worse, the state’s courts will shield dog owners in certain cases even when the dog mauls a person.
New York’s dog bite statute imposes strict liability for medical bills on dangerous dogs. Unfortunately, the dog owner isn’t liable for other compensation, such as pain and suffering, unless the animal had a vicious disposition which the owner knew about or should have known about.
“Dangerous Dogs” and Medical Bills
A dog is “dangerous” under New York law only if a court holds a hearing and finds the dog killed or injured a person or animal, or the court finds the dog behaved in such a dangerous way that it posed an imminent threat of harm. The court won’t declare the dog dangerous if someone was threatening the dog or committing a crime against its owner when it attacked.
If you are attacked or bitten, you can seek relief by filing a petition requesting that the court find the dog dangerous. If successful, the dog owner should pay your medical bills to treat your injuries.
“Viciousness” and Full Damages
To receive full compensation for your injuries, however, you’ll also need to establish the dog had “vicious propensities,” which the owner knew about or should have known about before you were attacked. This is colloquially called the “one bite” rule—meaning the dog gets a free bite before the owner is legally liable to victims of an attack.
Technically, a dog doesn’t have to bite someone to be vicious. Any aggressive behavior, like lunging or snapping, could qualify. In some situations, a large dog jumping on a person is sufficient under the law, since the dog is at risk of knocking someone over.
When a dog has a vicious history, the owner is on notice that they need to restrain their dog, and for this reason, they should pay full damages if the dog ultimately attacks and hurts someone.
Building a Case for Compensation
As you can see, New York makes it hard for victims to sue for damages—especially if the dog has never attacked a person before. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we can help clients build a case by searching for evidence that shows an owner should have known the dog was dangerous.
For example, we can:
- Interview other people who were attacked by the dog
- Investigate animal control records
- Review medical records
- Take pictures of the dog
- Document your own memories of what happened
Generally, a dog owner cannot be sued for negligence, i.e., failing to use sufficient care in restraining an animal—a huge departure from other states. However, other parties like landlords could be responsible.
Holding a Landlord Responsible for a Dog Bite
If the dog lives in an apartment complex, then you might be able to sue the landlord for any dog attack. However, once again, New York makes it difficult. We can only hold a landlord responsible if we can prove the following:
- The landlord had noticed that a dog was on the premises.
- The landlord knew of the dog’s viciousness.
- The landlord had control of the premises and could have removed or otherwise confined the dog.
For example, a dog might have intimidated multiple residents in an apartment complex, and the residents complain. If the landlord refuses to take action, then victims can sue the landlord and receive compensation if they are attacked.
Steps to Take after a Dog Bite
Dog attacks are terrifying. But accident victims can improve their odds of recovery if they take the following steps:
- Immediately stop the bleeding. Press a clean towel to your wounds and keep pressing until the bleeding stops.
- Call an ambulance, if necessary, especially if you are bleeding profusely. Ask someone to call for you if you are too hurt.
- Identify the dog owner and witnesses. You will want their names and phone numbers.
- Take pictures of the dog and the accident scene. Again, only do this if you can move around; otherwise, ask someone else to take pictures for you.
- Clean shallow bites with warm water and soap. A dog’s saliva has many germs which can cause serious infection, so you want to clean it thoroughly.
- Go to the hospital. A doctor can stitch any wounds and prescribe antibiotics and/or a rabies shot. If you are given antibiotics, take the full regimen as prescribed by your doctor.
- Report the animal to the police or animal control. They need to know the dog is vicious and is a threat to the public.
Compensation for a Brooklyn Dog Bite
Dog bites cause considerable financial expense. Victims need pricey medical care to treat their injuries, and many cannot work. The emotional fallout is also considerable.
At The O’Connor Law Firm, we believe in seeking the full array of damages for our clients in dog bite cases, and to that end will seek money for:
- All necessary medical care, such as surgery, prescription drugs, and rehab
- Reconstructive surgery expenses, especially for facial mauling
- Lost income or lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional or mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
Most dog owners pay compensation from their renters or homeowner’s insurance policy. Our law firm can negotiate with an insurer to receive the most favorable settlement possible given the circumstances.
Speak with Our Brooklyn Dog Bite Attorney Today
New York throws many impediments in the way of dog bite victims seeking just compensation for their injuries. To improve your odds of success, please contact a law firm with the right experience. Our legal team is prepared to fully investigate and document a dog attack so that owners cannot slide out from under their responsibilities to restrain vicious and dangerous animals.
Give us a call today. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we will level the playing field by fighting for the full compensation you deserve. We provide personalized attention to you and your family and will communicate with you throughout the process. We offer free case evaluations with no obligation.