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An Overview of Dog Bite Laws in New York

While many dogs are indeed “man’s best friend” and serve as loyal and loving companions, dogs are still animals that act on instinct and can turn on a human in an instant. Dog bites can cause individuals to suffer serious injuries and be exposed to dangerous illnesses such as rabies and tetanus. If you have been attacked by another person’s dog, you may have the right to take legal action against the owner in pursuit of fair compensation for your resulting medical expenses, lost wages, and lost income. But under what circumstances is a dog owner liable in New York?

The “Dangerous Dog” Statute

Under New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, a dog owner may be held civilly liable for any injuries that their dog may cause to another person, their livestock, or their companion animal if their dog is deemed “dangerous.” This statute covers both injuries that are caused by bites and injuries that are caused by other acts, such as if a dog were to jump and knock a person to the ground.

According to the statute, a dog is defined as being dangerous if:

  • The dog attacks and either injures or kills a person, farm animal, or pet without being provoked
  • The dog behaves in such a way that a reasonable person would be led to believe that the dog poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.”

If deemed dangerous, a dog owner can be held strictly liable for all medical bills resulting from injuries caused by their dog – even if they had taken reasonable precautions to restrain their dog. In order to pursue other types of damages, such as pain and suffering or lost wages, an injured person must be able to show that a dog owner was negligent in some way. To put this simply, the injured party must be able to prove that the dog’s owner did not take reasonable steps to prevent the injuries from occurring, such as by failing to keep the dog on a leash or by letting their dog roam free.

Bitten By a Dog? Call (585) 286-5124

If you have been bitten by another person’s dog without provocation, the Rochester dog bite lawyer at The Law Office of Robert King can protect your rights and help you pursue fair compensation for your suffering. Backed by overwhelmingly positive support from past clients, we can guide you through the personal injury claims process and fight to maximize your potential recovery.

Discuss your legal options today during a no-cost, no-obligation case review.