I Was Bitten by a Dog – Can I Sue?
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If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the first thing you likely focus on is cleaning the wound and getting it bandaged up. If it’s a fairly minor bite, that may be the end of it. However, if it’s more serious, especially if you had to go to the emergency room for care, your next through should be on whether or not you want to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner.
Can You Sue?
Yes, in New York you have the right to sue if a dog bites you. The state has what is known as a mixed statute—the law regarding dog bites combines strict liability along with the one-bite rule that some states have. This means that dog owner is liable only for your medical or vet costs. In order to receive any other compensation, you will have to be able to show that the dog owner knew that their dog was dangerous and had a tendency to bite at people. You cannot use negligence as a reason for additional compensation.
However, if the dog’s owner has already been to court over a dog bite, the “one-bite” law goes into effect. This means that the dog’s owner did know that their animal had a tendency to bite. This means you will likely be able to sue for additional damages.
What Information Do You Need to Sue?
Other than your medical bills and the information of any witnesses to the attack, there’s not a lot you need to start a lawsuit. It doesn’t matter where the attack took place—it could be at your home, the owner’s property, or anywhere on the street. You do need to write down as many details as you can about what occurred as soon as you’re able to. Photos of your wounds are also helpful, but always take care of yourself first. Your health needs to be your priority.
If you clean up the wound yourself, but you’re planning on suing, visiting a doctor or urgent care center is helpful because you’ll be able to get a medical report to submit to the court.
Have you been bitten by a dog and are interested in pursuing legal action? Contact Held & Hines, LLP, today for more information on what we can do for your case and to get things started.