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Who is Responsible in Dog Bite Cases?

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Dog bite injuries can be difficult legal issues to unravel. Sometimes a dog that has not been provoked will bite someone out of pure aggression, which automatically puts the dog owner at fault for the incident.

Many times the injured party cannot be compensated properly because New York state uses the “one bite” rule that differentiates between a single bite case and a multiple bite attack. The issue of negligence does not become part of the adjudication unless the owner or an individual who houses the dog knows the dog is “dangerous” and took no steps to curtail the dog’s behavior.

The issue of actual ownership can be problematic unless the dog is housed on specific personal property where the bite occurred. Kennel operators can be held liable also when a dog breaks restraint. Loose dogs with no apparent owner who bite someone can often leave no one to pursue for damages either. These potential issues in establishing responsibility are why it is important to have an experienced New York dog bite attorney handling your case for compensation, as many times the case must be fully investigated by the plaintiff attorney as well as the local police authorities to locate a negligent party.

Provoking a dog into violent behavior could result in a dog bite victim having an injury claim dismissed in court if the judge determines there is adequate evidence to prove comparative negligence by the claimant. This can be an especially important fact in a “one bite” case. Provocation does not necessarily need to be immediately before the incident either, as dogs have memories and could move into defensive mode when an aggressive person is around. Always remember that comparative negligence applies in dog bite cases just as in other personal injury claims.

Strict Liability
Most dog bite cases usually carry strict liability if the dog owner or keeper realizes the animal is vicious and does not keep them restrained. The plaintiff legal counsel is not required to prove any negligence beyond the fact of the bite when strict liability is applied, which is the law in New York. In addition, attacks on other animals can also result in claims for medical bills or veterinary expenses, but damages beyond pecuniary claims are not allowed in most situations.

Anyone in New York who has been bitten by a dog and needs legal recourse for medical bills should contact Levine and Wiss for a thorough evaluation of your claim potential.

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