Valley Stream Dog Bite Lawyer

As is true for most other jurisdictions, New York State has established its own set of rules and standards for legal actions involving injuries that occur when a person or another animal is bitten by someone else’s dog.

If this has happened to you, consult with a Valley Stream dog bite lawyer who is familiar with this type of case and can guide you in starting a claim against the negligent owner. A seasoned personal injury attorney will work to offset your damages from the dog-bite incident with compensation so that you or your animal can make a full recovery.

What is Considered a “Dangerous Dog” under State Law?

New York State places special requirements on the owners of “dangerous dogs”.  As defined in New York Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law –  AGM §123, a dangerous dog is defined as one that:

  • Attacks a person, a companion animal, a domestic animal, or a farm animal without justification and causes physical injury or death
  • Behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified threat of physical injury or death to one or more person or animal
  • Attacks a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog without justification and causes physical injury or death

In general, a dog is not considered to be dangerous until it has been adjudicated as such by a municipal judge. In such an adjudication proceeding, the complaint must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the animal in question meets one or more of the above-listed definitions to file a dog bite injury claim.

Valley Stream Dog Owners’ Civil Liability

The owner of a dangerous dog in New York State is strictly liable for any medical costs that result from their dog’s unjustified attack. This attack could be on a:

  • Person
  • Companion animal
  • Domestic animal

Farm animal

  • Guide dog
  • Hearing dog
  • Service dog

What this means is that even if the owner of such a dog was not negligent, they could still be held liable for paying for those medical costs.

For all other types of damages resulting from an attack, the injured party or the owner of the injured animal must prove that the owner of the dog acted in a negligent manner in caring for their dog. The plaintiff must prove that the owner did not take reasonable precautions to ensure that the dog did not cause the resulting harm or injury. For examples, if the owner did not have the dog on a leash when taking it out in a public area or did not keep it restrained within its own yard, they could be held liable for the accident

Owners’ Criminal Liability in a Dog Bite

In addition to being personally liable, a Valley Stream dog owner may face additional penalties for the actions of their dog. In this regard, an owner’s criminal liability for injuries caused by their animal depends on if their animal had previously been determined to be a dangerous dog. Thus, while an owner who negligently permits their dog to bite someone and cause a serious physical injury is subject to a fine of $1,500, the owner of a previously deemed dangerous dog that commits the same act is subject to a fine of $3,000 or 90-days in jail.

Similarly, if a previously determined dangerous dog kills an innocent person, the owner may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and sentenced to up to 1-year in jail. In this context, the term “innocent person” refers to someone who was acting peaceably and was lawfully entitled to be where they were when they were attacked.

Speak with a Valley Stream Dog Bite Attorney Today

The applicable rules and standards for dog bite cases are relatively complicated in New York State. Any such claim must be brought within 3 years of the date of the incident. Consider scheduling a consultation with a Valley Stream dog bite lawyer as soon as possible if you, a member of your family, or one of your animals has been bitten by someone else’s dog, to avoid being time-barred from recovering any compensation. Call a dedicated attorney today to learn more.