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Proving Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Posted on in Personal Injury

Most states’ laws regarding dog attacks and bites operate under either the strict liability doctrine or the one-bite rule, which does not designate a dog as dangerous until after its first known bite/attack. New York,on the other hand, combines both these rules.

According to New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, the owner of a “dangerous dog” is liable if the dog causes injuries to someone else, to livestock, or to another person’s companion animal. A dangerous dog is one that attacks and either injures or kills a person, farm animal, or pet without justification, or behaves in a manner which causes a reasonable individual to believe that the dog poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.”

Under this statute, a dog owner is “strictly liable” for all medical expenses resulting from injuries caused by a dangerous dog. So if the dog is found to be dangerous, the dog’s owner must pay theinjured party’s medical bills, even if the dog’s owner had taken reasonable precautions to control or restrain the canine.

For other types of damages resulting from the dog-related injury, the injured party needs to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent. Simply put, the injured party needs to demonstrate that the dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the injuries from occurring.

In some cases, the dog’s owner may be charged with a misdemeanor if the dog was previously declared dangerous, the owner negligently allows the dog to bite someone, and the injury sustained is a “serious injury.” A serious injury is considered one which causes serious disfigurement, loss of a body part or organ, or death.

For more information, contact our Greenwich personal injury attorneys at Ivey Barnum & O’Mara and request a free consultation today.

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