In New York, dog bites cause significant injuries for adults as well as children. Typical dog bit injuries involve physical as well as psychological trauma, either of which can leave permanent scars.
If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in a canine attack, a dog bite lawyer in Patchogue, Long Island can protect your legal rights and help you pursue a settlement for fair financial compensation. Call the attorneys of Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today at 631-600-0000, for a free, no-obligation consultation and claim review.
Who Has Fault for Dog Bite Injuries?
In New York, whenever a dog bites someone, the animal’s owner is liable for any injuries that result. The owner must also pay any vet bills if their animal attacked your pet.
You may have heard of the “one bite” rule, where the law limits a dog owner’s liability the first time the animal bites. This means that if the dog’s owner had no way of knowing that their dog might bite someone, a victim might only recover the costs of their medical bills or veterinary bills if their animal sustained injuries.
On the other hand, if the dog’s owner knew or should have known that the dog had a vicious propensity, the owner has liability for the victim’s full, actual damages.These include lost income, mental and emotional damages, future lost wages and lost earning potential, disfigurement, disability, and any other damages.
How Will Your Personal Injury Lawyer Demonstrate a Dog’s Vicious Propensity?
To demonstrate vicious propensity, your dog bite attorney can use any number of strategies to prove that the animal was dangerous to humans.
Some potential strategies involve finding neighbors or other witnesses who know the owner had previously warned others about the animal or had witnessed the animal growling, snapping, or lunging at others.
Any evidence the owner ever muzzled the animal or hung a “Beware of Dog” sign on their property can also demonstrate viciousness.
In addition to interviewing neighbors and other witnesses, your attorney can obtain veterinary records, medical records, police reports, expert testimony, or whatever information can provide the necessary proof that the owner knew the dog was dangerous to others but failed to exercise reasonable care to protect you, the bite victim.
Establishing that the dog that bit you had previously displayed a vicious propensity is the first step necessary for your lawyer to prove that the owner was negligent in allowing the animal to harm you. After that, liability hinges on the four legal elements of negligence:
Duty of Care
Since the dog’s owner know about the animal’s propensity for aggressiveness, they owed a duty to the public to prevent the animal from harming others.
Breach of Duty
The owner failed to protect the public – specifically, you – from a known vicious dog. Hence, they breached their duty of care to you.
The owner’s breach of duty caused the animal to attack you and cause you harm.
You sustained actual damages as a result of the attack. You can demonstrate actual damages by providing copies of bills for medical treatment and care and other documentation of your losses.
How Much Is Your Dog Bite Claim Worth?
Every claim is different, but in most cases, your settlement may include the following:
- Your current and future medical treatment and care costs;
- Your lost wages to date, projected future lost income and earning capacity;
- Compensation for your pain and suffering and loss of life’s enjoyment; and
- Compensation for any long-term disability or permanent damage or disfigurement.
Remember, however, unless your dog bite lawyer can prove that the animal had a vicious propensity, you can only claim the actual cost of your medical treatment to date.
Talk to your lawyer about your claim to get a fair estimation of its value.
What If Your Dog Bite Case Goes to Court?
As with most personal injury claims, the chances are good that the insurance company’s adjuster or lawyers will negotiate in good faith with your lawyer, to arrive at a reasonable financial settlement.
Sometimes, however, the insurance company does not ultimately provide an acceptable settlement offer. If so, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit to pursue fair financial compensation.
Can You Meet with a Dog Bite Lawyer in Patchogue, Long Island for Free?
The personal injury attorneys of Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. offer complimentary consultations. We can answer your questions and recommend the next steps for making a claim. Call us today at 631-600-0000.