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Can I sue for my dog bite injuries?

Dogs are friendly and loyal companions to people everyone. However, even the friendliest dog may be capable of acting out, especially when provoked, scared, or agitated. If you have been bitten or injured by a dog in New York, you may be able to recover damages from the owner of the dog based on strict liability or negligence.

Strict liability for medical expenses only

Under New York’s strict liability laws, if a dog bites or injures someone, the dog owner must cover the victim’s medical bills. This is required even if the dog owner was not negligent in anyway with regards to restraining the dog.

Negligence for all other expenses

It is so important for dog owners to act responsibly by always maintaining control of their dog, particularly if the dog has a history of being aggressive. However, many dog owners fail to properly care for their dogs and put others at risk due to their negligence. Under New York’s ‘one-bite’ rule, you will have to show that the owner of the dog was aware or should have been aware of their dog’s dangerous propensities in order to recover damages for more than just your medical bills. To prove this, you may have to show that:

  • The dog has bitten someone before.
  • There were prior complaints about the dog’s behavior.
  • The dog previously displayed vicious propensities (e.g., growling, charging, aggressive barking).

If you have been bitten by someone else’s dog, you should seek medical care as

soon as possible and then consult with a personal injury attorney. In addition to the medical expenses you will recover, it is likely that you may also be able to recover damages for your lost wages (if you missed any work due to the injury), emotional distress, and pain and suffering. In New York, you must file your personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date of your injury.

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