New York City Dog Bite Attorney
Dogs are wonderful companions but sometimes their pleasant temperaments do a sudden about-face. When they’re sick or frightened, or they see danger in simple human actions, dogs become aggressive and attack. The more aggressive assaults can cause disfiguring wounds, life-threatening injuries, and fatalities. Dog bites also risk transferring rabies, Pasteurella, MRSA, and other significant infections.
The NYC Health publication, Preventing Dog Bite-Related Injuries Among New York City Residents, describes the city’s growing dog bite problem. A 2017 study analyzed dog bite statistics covering 2007 to 2014 and documented these important facts.
- As of 2014, 500,000 dogs lived in New York City.
- Annually, New York City dog bite victims averaged 6,028 emergency visits and 315 hospitalizations.
- New York City children ages five to 12 were most at risk for dog bite injuries.
- Nationally, dog bites are the leading cause of children’s non-fatal injuries.
- Over the seven-year period studied, New York City dog bites increased by 12 percent.
- In all age groups, males are at greater risk for dog bite than females.
- Only 3 percent of the bites involved stray dogs.
NYC Health sees dog bites as a growing problem with “significant public health impacts.” Dog bites are costly as well. In 2017 alone, emergency and inpatient treatment for dog bites accounted for $17 million in local hospital costs.
Dog Owners Should Pay When Their Dogs Cause Injuries
Attorney Ivan M. Diamond believes that when people don’t prevent their dogs from injuring others, they should pay for the harm their pets cause. Ivan Diamond handles personal injury cases only. He has used his time, energy, and firm resources in recovering damages for injured clients throughout the New York City area. He understands complex legal and liability issues. He’s seen how serious injuries changed his clients’ lives.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond is a small firm, but Ivan Diamond has produced big results for his injured clients. His mission is to hold wrongdoers accountable for the damages their actions caused.
Ivan Diamond’s Personal Injury Results
Ivan Diamond seeks the most effective solutions for resolving his clients’ injury claims. Wherever possible he has settled his clients; cases through negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. But, when opposing parties refuse to pay their fair share, Ivan Diamond has no hesitation about pursuing legal action in city and state courts.
Each case has unique injuries and liability issues so Ivan Diamond can never promise a specific outcome. As a dedicated plaintiff’s attorney, however, he believes his past results speak for themselves.
What Types of Injuries Can Dog Attacks Cause?
A dog’s incisors are uniquely designed for tearing and shredding flesh. That makes them efficient weapons for causing injuries. Dogs attack both children and adults but children sustain the most serious wounds. When a dog bites, its teeth easily penetrate and damage a child’s skin, muscles, and bones. Children’s immune systems have difficulty fighting off post-bite infections.
When plastic surgeons analyzed three years of pediatric dog bites treated at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital trauma center in Valhalla, New York, they found that a large percentage of the child victims were preschool age. They also determined that younger patients required more corrective surgery and that dogs primarily attacked children’s heads and necks. Dogs also caused a variety of additional injuries in adults and children, such as:
- Severe tears and lacerations;
- Puncture wounds;
- Skin, muscle, and tissue damage;
- Rabies, MRSA, Pasteurella, tetanus, and other infectious diseases;
- Permanent disfiguring scars;
- Emotional and psychological trauma; and
When Is a Dog Owner Liable for a Dog Attack?
Unlike many states, New York’s dog bite laws give victims of dog attacks somewhat restricted legal rights. A dog owner will not be held liable for simple negligence in handling or failing to control a dog that attacks. Legal liability depends, instead, on whether the victim can show either that:
- The dog caused injury after having previously been legally declared “dangerous”—in this case, dog owners are held “strictly liable” for the victim’s medical costs; or
- The dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had dangerous tendencies, and failed to prevent the attack.
The upshot of those rules is that it can be difficult to recover damages from a dog owner the first time the owner’s dog attacks and injures someone, because the owner can argue that the dog had up to that point been gentle and non-threatening. But after a dog has bitten someone at least once, and the owner knows about it, the owner will likely be held legally responsible for subsequent attacks that could have been prevented.
What Types of Damages Do Dog Bite Victims Recover?
As with any personal injury matter, a dog bite settlement or jury award seeks to reimburse an injured person for their economic (or special) damages and non-economic (or general) damages. Juries may also award punitive damage, but only in rare instances.
Economic damages include the injured person’s out of pocket costs and projected future costs for these and other expenses.
- Lost income and diminished earning capacity;
- Doctor visits;
- Prosthetics and mobility devices;
- Physical therapy and psychological therapy;
- Transportation expenses;
- Replacement services and personal care; and
- Funeral and burial costs.
Non-economic damages compensate an injured person for psychological and emotional trauma caused by both the dog bite incident and the resultant injuries, such as:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Diminished family relationships;
- Loss of life enjoyment;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and
- Permanent disabilities.
A court awards punitive damages only if the plaintiff shows the dog owner’s actions were wanton and reckless.
Does a Dog Owner Have Any Defenses When Their Dog Bites Someone?
A New York dog bite liability case is based on the dog’s behavior and the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s violent tendencies. Even when a person is injured in an unprovoked attack, they must still prove the owner knew or should have known the dog was inclined to be vicious. Defendants and their insurance companies look for defense strategies that dispute negligence and reduce damages. These may include:
- No negligence: If a plaintiff can’t prove an owner’s knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensity or other negligent acts, it bars the plaintiff’s damage recovery.
- Comparative negligence: New York’s Pure Comparative negligence standard reduces a judgment amount based on the plaintiff’s negligence percentage. For example, if a defendant proves a plaintiff is 20 percent negligent, the plaintiff can only recover a maximum of 80 percent of any proven damages.
- Justified attack: If a defendant proves the plaintiff was committing a crime, tormenting, assaulting, or harming the dog or its puppies, or perpetrating other antagonistic acts, the plaintiff may not be able to recover damages.
- Damages: When a defendant proves his dog didn’t cause the plaintiff’s injuries or that the injuries aren’t as severe as alleged, it reduces or bars the plaintiff’s damage recovery.
Ivan Diamond understands and anticipates these common defense strategies, and prepares his clients cases to avoid them and achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond After a New York Dog Bite
If a dog seriously injured you or a family member, Attorney Ivan M. Diamond may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. He has recovered millions for his clients in New York City and the surrounding areas. To schedule your free consultation, call The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond at (718) 588-2000 or complete our contact form.
The Law Offices of
888 Grand Concourse #1L
Ivan M. Diamond
Bronx, NY 10451
Phone: (718) 588-2000
Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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