Hudson Valley Dog Bite Attorney
Fighting for Victims from Warwick to NYC
A dog attack is a frightening and extremely dangerous experience. You may be left with serious scarring or disfigurement requiring plastic or reconstructive surgery. You may never fully recover on a psychological level, forever feeling uncomfortable around dogs and other animals. The results can be lifelong, affecting you emotionally, physically, and financially.
The Ahearne Law Firm is here to help if you were bitten or attacked by a dog. Our Hudson Valley dog bite injury attorneys know you have been through the ringer already – we are here to alleviate the stress and help you seek justice against the dog’s owner or other at-fault party. With our experience and skill in personal injury and wrongful death actions, we are confident in our ability to help you.
After a Dog Bite
If you are bitten by a dog, you need to take specific steps to protect your health and preserve your right to financial compensation from the owner or other responsible party. While every case is different, you can make a difference by remaining calm and seeking medical care and legal counsel.
If you or someone you love has been attacked by a dog:
- Apply pressure to the wound
- Seek medical attention by calling 911 for severe or life-threatening injuries, or by visiting your local emergency room or urgent care center for lesser injuries
- Report the incident to your local animal control department
- Document your injuries through photographs and by keeping all medical records
- Identify witnesses and the dog owner, if possible, by getting contact information
- Follow your doctor’s orders, and watch for signs of infection
- Contact your doctor immediately if the bite worsens or becomes infected
- Speak to an attorney with experience in dog bite injuries
What Is A Dangerous Dog Statute?
Under New York’s dangerous dog statute, when the owner of a dog either knows or should have known that the animal has a vicious propensity, the owner is held liable for medical bills, monetary damages for pain and suffering, lost income, and any other expenses directly related to the injury suffered.
Vicious propensity refers to any act of the dog that would endanger the safety of another, animal, person or property. In some instances, the act of jumping can be considered a vicious propensity. If the owner knows or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensity, this becomes a case of strict liability based upon well-settled legal principle that one who keeps a dog with dangerous propensities introduces an unusual danger to the community without any positive counterbalance.
New York's Dog Bite Law
Many believe that a dog is entitles to a “free bite” or “one bite.” However, this is not a belief that is supported by the law. Even where there is care to prevent harm by a dog, the owner will still be liable for the injuries caused. Context of what happened leading to the instance of the injury is crucial. A dog that is provoked is not the same as a dog who has acted in a vicious manner previously. A known tendency to attack others, even in playfulness, as in the case of the overly friendly large dog with a propensity for enthusiastic jumping up on visitors, will be enough to make the defendant liable for resulting injuries.
Strict liability, also known as “absolute liability,” is liability incurred for causing damage or harm to life, limb, or property without the necessity of proving intent or negligence. Normally, when pursuing a legal action for liability, the plaintiff must generally prove that the defendant was somehow at fault, whether by negligence or direct fault, for the damages incurred by the plaintiff. The law, however, recognizes there are certain circumstances that are so inherently dangerous or hazardous, that there is no need for the plaintiff to prove direct fault or negligence. Fault in strict liability cases is not an issue. Therefore, proving that an injury or damages occurred, and that they occurred as a result of the plaintiff’s actions, becomes the focal point of any civil lawsuit for strict liability.
Working with a Dog Bite Injury Attorney
After a dog attack, you may wonder whether you need an attorney. For extremely minor bites that do not pierce the flesh or cause serious injuries, you may not need to seek legal counsel. If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one, however, you are dealing with a situation where mounting medical bills and missed work may seriously impact your life.
An attorney may be your only chance of securing a fair settlement or award to cover:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing treatment or therapy
- Lost earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral costs