When someone has been seriously injured after being attacked by an aggressive animal on another person’s property, he or she can file a claim to recover damages. Although most of these animal attacks involve dogs, there are circumstances in which another type of animal could inflict harm.
Exotic Pets and Owner Liability
Despite the dangers, some people choose to keep exotic animals as pets. This brings a significant risk that the animal could injure the owner or others who come onto the property.
Just in the past month, an animal control officer in New York was found to have more than 850 snakes, including some Burmese pythons in his possession. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but according to New York state law, it is illegal for anyone to own a wild animal. This includes venomous snakes, felines (other than domesticated cats), primates, crocodiles and bears. If an animal that is unlawfully owned injures someone, the owner certainly would be liable.
Owner Liability for Domestic Pet Attacks
More often, animal attacks on private property involves dogs. Liability for these types of attacks depends on the circumstances. For instance, sometimes landlords can be held responsible when a tenant’s aggressive dog bites a person. But usually it is the owner who is liable.
Of course, this depends on whether or not the person injured was a trespasser. Those who illegally enter someone’s property generally cannot recover compensation if they are injured. But there could be exceptions, such as someone unknowingly trespassing.
Impact of New York Dog Bite Law When Someone Is Bitten or Attacked
There are two components of the New York dog bite law. One is that owners can be held liable for limited damages when a dog bites. The only expenses for which they may be responsible are veterinary costs (if another animal is injured) and medical costs (for the person who was injured).
The second component allows for the recovery of additional damages if the owner was aware of the dog’s propensity to attack. To be considered dangerous, it must have previously attacked and injured someone without provocation. Or if the dog behaves in such a way that it would reasonably be expected there is a threat of serious injury to others, then it may be considered dangerous.
If the owner was not aware that the dog was dangerous and had a propensity to attack, victims may attempt to establish that the owner was negligent, thus, responsible for the bite. Dog bite victims should seek assistance from an attorney to review their legal options, given the circumstances of their case.
Damages Available When an Aggressive Animal Causes Injuries or Death
Because it’s illegal to keep certain types of exotic pets, it would be fairly easy to find an owner liable if the animal injuries someone. The same is true for dangerous dogs.
The types of recoverable damages depend on the extent and severity of injuries, along with current laws. As mentioned, victims can recover medical costs. Because of the limitations in damages, it could be difficult to receive other forms of compensation such as pain and suffering. The best thing an injured victim or the family of a loved who was killed can do is contact an attorney.
Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at (800) 246-4878 for legal consultation and for assistance filing a claim. An attorney can review the circumstances of the case to help victims determine the types of damages they may pursue.