Dog Bite Laws in New York State

Getting bitten by a dog can be both traumatizing and painful, as dog bites are often unpredictable and aggressive. If you are a dog owner or the victim of a violent canine attack yourself in New York, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of dog bite laws. Most of us probably think that dog owners in New York are always responsible any time the actions of a dog injures another person, but this is not always the case. In fact, New York is one of the most dog friendly states when it comes to an owner being held liable for dog related injuries. Read on to learn more about the dog bite laws in New York and when dog owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dogs in the state of New York.

The statute of limitations for lawsuits in NY related to dog bites

A statute of limitations is defined as the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. The amount of time can vary based on jurisdiction and the nature of the offense. In New York personal injury cases like a dog bite are required to be filed in court within three years from the date of injury. It is important to note that if you are the victim of a dog bite and would like to file suit, you must do so within those three years, or the court may very well dismiss your case.

Understanding strict liability  

In New York, dog owners are only responsible for injuries caused by their dogs under a theory of strict liability. This means the law is not based upon a claim of negligence. Essentially, the dog owner can only be held responsible if three essential facts are able to be proven.

  1. The dog actually caused an injury by biting someone. This seems self explanatory, but it’s important to understand if there is no proof of an actual bite, there will be no liability in most circumstances.
  2. It must be proven that the dog had “vicious propensities” prior to when it bit someone. This means that you must be able to prove that the dog had a natural inclination or habit to act in a dangerous manner and can include the dog’s disposition / attitude towards people and whether it has bitten anyone before.
  3. It must be proven that the dog’s owner knew or should have known about the dog’s vicious tendencies. This knowledge can be proven in a number of ways including by showing the dog has actually bitten someone before, showing that the dog was kept in a way that showed the owner knew it was dangerous like in a closed room when someone came into their home, or by showing that the dog growled, snarled, bared its teeth, or lunged at everyone that visited or passed by the owner’s home.

The North Shore Injury Lawyer can help

There are a few methods you can follow in order to collect the necessary evidence to prove liability on the owner and lawyers who have experience with dog bite lawsuits will be able to help guide you. These methods include requesting prior bite records and asking neighbors, mailmen, landscapers, or even the Amazon delivery person about the dog’s behavior which can be critical in obtaining necessary evidence.

If you are the victim of a dog bite, it’s important that you seek representation from a lawyer who knows exactly what to do. Mark T. Freeley, the North Shore Injury Lawyer, has decades of experience helping clients secure the full and fair compensation they deserve. If you or someone you know needs help with a dog bite lawsuit on or near Long Island, give Mark a call today at 631-495-9435 to discuss your case.