Dogs are loveable, faithful companions, but just like people, they can act out when they are angry or feel threatened. Even the smallest, calmest dog can act aggressively in certain situations, and these aggressive behaviors often result in injury to those in their presence.
In some states, dog owners are held strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dogs’ bites. Other states adhere to a one-bite rule and will only hold dog owners liable if they knew or had reason to know of their dog’s dangerous propensities. New York’s dog bite laws essentially combine strict liability with the one-bite rule.
Dog owners can be strictly liable for dangerous dog injuries
Under New York Agriculture & Markets Code Section 123, a dog owner may be liable for injuries caused by their dog if the dog is classified as “dangerous.” A dog is considered dangerous if:
- The dog attacks people or other animals without justification/provocation.
- A reasonable person would find that the dog poses a real and imminent threat of serious injury or death.
If a dog is considered dangerous, the owner will be liable for medical bills and/or vet bills for injuries caused by the dog. To recover other damages, the victim must establish that the dog owner acted negligently with regards to the care and supervision of their dog. Dog owner negligence may include:
- Failing to restrain the dog (e.g., failing to use a leash)
- Failing to secure the dog (e.g., failing to build fence)
- Failing to control the dog
- Leaving the dog unattended
If you are suffering from injuries related to a dog attack, a personal injury attorney can help you recover the damages you deserve.