Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and half of these
are children. Close to 1 million victims of dog bites require medical
attention. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately
27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery in 2012 as a result of
a dog bit. Children ages 5 to 9 are the most likely to be bitten. All
dogs and all breeds have the potential to bite. So don't think that
you are safe from a dog bite or a lawsuit due to your dog bitting someone
because you have a small dog or friendly breed. You could be the victim
of a dog bite and you need to know what you can do to protect yourself
and what you can do in the event that you are bitten and injured.
While it may seem obvious, everyone should know that people who have dogs
in their home are more likely to be the victims of dog bites. The chance
of a dog bite increases dramatically if there are more than one dog in
a as well. People with two (2) or more dog bites in their home are five
(5) times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs.
If, however, you have been the victim of a dog bite what can you do about
it ? The owner of a dog in New York who knows or has reason to know that
their animal has a vicious disposition or vicious propensity is strictly
liable for injury caused by the animal. What does "strictly liable"
mean ? This means that even if a child harassed a dog prior to being bitten
or injured, the child's behavior is not considered if the dog owner
know or had reason to know that the dog had vicious propensities. This
rule also applies to a person or entity that boards or keeps a dog or
any other domestic animal for that matter.
Liability can also extend to landlords who know or have reason to know
that a tenant keeps a dog of vicious propensity on the landlord's
property. What does this mean ? Well, it means that a landlord that knows
or has reason to know that someone who rents property from them keeps
a vicious dog on the property and they do not take reasonable steps to
prevent the dog from injuring someone, the landlord can be held liable
for a person's injuries in a law suit.
How does an attorney show that a domestic animal has a vicious propensity
? If you have been bitten, obviously seek medical attention right away.
When you are on the road to recovery, call us for a consultation and we
will talk to you about the nature of the attack on you and the extent
of your injuries. We will look at whether the animal has bitten or attacked
other animals or people. If the bitting dog acted in an aggressive manner
toward people in the past, this information can be used to show that the
dog has vicious propensities too. However, a dog previously growling and
barking at people is not sufficient to show that it has vicious propensities.
I will also ask if you or anyone you know has seen evidence of the dog
owner keeping the dog as a guard dog which can show that the owner knew
his or her dog was vicious. We will also take a look at the way a dog
is restrained because this information can be considered when looking
at the issue of the owner's knowledge of the dog's vicious propensity.
Please keep in mind that many of the legal principles discussed in this
blog apply to other domestic animals as well like horses, cats or any
other pet. If you are injured by a wild animal that is kept by someone,
however, there is no requirement to show that the owner had prior knowledge
of a vicious propensity.
While I and everyone else at Michael R. Varble & Associates, P.C. hope
you are not injured by a dog bite, please feel free to call us for a free
consultation about your case if this happens to you. We are experienced
trial lawyers and we know about animal bite injuries and claims for personal
injuries resulting from a dog or any other animal. We can be reached 24/7
at 1.800.900.6204 and we will schedule you for a free consultation when
it is convenient for you. Michael R. Varble & Associates, P.C., WE'LL
FIGHT FOR YOU !.