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 the
injured 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.