Dog bites can cause serious injuries and emotional trauma to adults as well as children. The New York State Department of Health reports that 6,600 children sustain dog bites every year in our state, hundreds of which require hospitalization.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries from a dog attack, the owner might have liability for your injury. A dog bite lawyer in Bayport, Long Island can protect your legal rights and help you pursue a fair financial settlement to compensate you for your injuries.
Call the dog bite lawyers of Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today at 631-600-0000.
Who Is Liable for Dog Bite Damages?
Many people believe that New York ascribes to the “one bite” rule, which essentially gives each dog – and its owner – one free pass to bite a human without penalty.
However, if the dog injures someone, even for the first time, the owner has liability for the medical costs necessary to treat their injuries. The owner also bears responsibility for any applicable veterinary costs if the dog attacked their animal as well.
The New York statutes that govern dog bites require all pet owners to exercise reasonable care in preventing their animal from harming others. This means that, if the dog’s owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or vicious, they have liability for the victim’s actual damages.
To collect for other losses, such as lost income, psychological trauma, future loss of income potential, disability, disfigurement, etc., the victim and their attorney must demonstrate that the animal had a vicious propensity.
How Does a Dog Bite Lawyer Prove Vicious Propensity?
Dog bite lawyers use a variety of strategies to demonstrate that a dog has a vicious propensity, or that the animal poses a danger to humans.
In many cases, others have told he owner previously that his pet is a guard dog or attack dog, or warned others to stay away because the animal might bite. If the owner has a “Beware of Dog” sign on their property, has previously put a muzzle on the dog, or if they are aware that the dog is likely to snap, snarl, growl, or lunge at people, this information can also help demonstrate vicious propensity.
Your dog bite lawyer will interview witnesses to the incident and potentially talk to neighbors and anyone else who knows the animal’s history. This can help demonstrate that the owner either knew or should have known that the animal posed a risk to others.
What Is the Value of My Dog Bite Claim?
If you or your dog bite lawyer cannot prove that the animal had a vicious propensity, you can only pursue the actual cost of your medical treatment to date.
If your attorney can demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known that the animal posed a danger to others, your claim may include the following in addition to the above:
- Lost wages to date
- Projected future lost wages and loss of earning capacity,
- Projected cost of future medical treatment and care,
- Emotional damage, painand suffering, and lost life enjoyment,
- The legal value of any long-term or permanent disability or disfigurement.
Your attorney will document your claim and submit it to the owner’s insurance carrier. Once the insurance company’s lawyers review the claim, they will typically endeavor to negotiate a settlement.
Will My Dog Bite Claim Have to Go to Court?
In most cases, your dog bite lawyer can work with the insurance company’s lawyers to come to a reasonable and fair settlement.
However, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit.
To establish liability in court, your lawyer must establish that the dog’s owner has liability for your injuries and damages. Proving liability requires demonstrating the four legal elements negligence.
Duty of Care The dog’s owner owed a duty to the public to prevent the animal from biting, attacking, or otherwise causing harm to others.
Breach of Duty When the owner failed to contain the dog safely, he or she breached their duty of care to the victim.
Causation The owner’s breach of duty caused the dog to attack or bite the victim and inflict injury.
Actual Damages The victim sustained actual damages as a result of the bite, as demonstrated by copies of bills from the emergency room or doctor visits, and other records to document the losses.
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer in Bayport, Long Island at No Cost
Speak to one of our dog bite lawyers at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today. Call 631-600-0000.