Dog bites in New York State happen far more frequently than you might think. Experienced New York dog bite lawyer Brian Elbaum is highly experienced in handling these cases because of this sad fact. As many as 750,000 people in the United States need medical attention because they were attacked by a dog. And in some most unfortunate cases, people can lose their lives due to their injuries.
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Liable Party in a Dog Bite Case
At some point, everyone who comes to this page has the same questions. Do I have a New York dog bite claim? Who is liable for this dog bite?
If you were seriously injured by a dog, you very well may have a case. Depending on the circumstances, you will have a case against the dog owner if they were negligent (acted in a way that let this incident happen or did not take preventative measures). This will vary case to case, but typically the liability falls on the owner of the dog.
Let’s say, for instance, you were walking down the street and all of a sudden, a dog comes bounding out of a house and attacks you. Perhaps the owner of this dog did not have their front door closed or their fence locked, and their dog got out. This would be where that owner was acting negligently.
You may be worried if you noticed a “BEWARE OF DOG” sign placed on this person’s property. It is understandable that you might be concerned that this would affect your ability to bring a claim, however this type of sign does not hold any weight of significance if this dog owner did not take measures to prevent their dog from attacking. A sign like that is not going to mean much if you were an innocent passerby that was severely hurt because someone else was being careless.
Understanding the One Bite Rule
There are certain complications that you must be aware of when dealing, in particular, with New York dog bite claims. There is something called the “One Bite Rule” that may have a significant impact on your ability to bring a claim. In New York, a dog essentially gets one bite that does not have consequences for their owner. If they were to do it again, then there would be recourse. It can seem very discouraging if you think you fall under the limitations of this rule, but it is not the end of your rope.
This rule exists to protect dogs who have never attacked and have never shown a propensity to be violent in the past. You may still have a case if you can prove that the owner of the dog knew they had an inclination to be vicious.
An experienced New York dog bite lawyer will be able to uncover any past instances and gather pertinent information. They will talk to anyone who might know anything about this dog including mailmen, delivery personnel, and neighbors. They will be able to determine the behavior of this dog and if there was any indication that it might be vicious. That “BEWARE OF DOG” sign may even be to your benefit. It could prove that the owner knew the dog could attack. If you can prove these things, and you can prove the negligence of the dog owner, you may absolutely be able to bring a claim.
Steps for Bringing a Claim
The very first thing that you need to do after you have been attacked is call 911. Whether or not you were hurt, getting the police on the scene to put the event on record can only be of benefit to you. You should try to document the scene as well. Ask the owner questions such as:
- Is the dog up to date on its vaccinations?
- Has the dog ever bitten anyone before?
- Is the dog rabid?
Making sure that the dog did not cause major threat of infection is extremely important. If there is a risk of rabies, you need to let a medical professional know this right away. If you cannot take yourself to the emergency room because you’re so injured, have someone call an ambulance. If you are able to get up and walk away from the scene, you still need to make sure you go to some form of medical center. It can be an urgent center or a visit your primary physician. The injuries from a dog bite can be severe, including:
- Lacerations, or cuts
- Nerve damage
- Tears in muscles or tendons
- Blood loss
- Possible infection
- Scarring and disfigurement
Getting treatment as soon as possible is essential to not only your health, but your case down the road.
A significant step to ensure that you protect yourself after the attack is NOT to talk to the insurance companies before you acquire legal representation. The insurance adjusters and lawyers are trained to ask you questions that will incriminate you down the road. They know what to say to get you in trouble and minimize their liability. They don’t want to give you what your case is worth. That’s why it is so important to hire an experience attorney to defend your case. If the insurance company comes calling, tell them that you will be acquiring council and all communications can go through your lawyer.
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You Need the Right New York Dog Bite Lawyer
Getting the right attorney for your case can mean the difference between settling for much less than you deserve, or getting every penny that you are entitled to. Some lawyers will not prepare your case to get the most out of it as they can. They’re content with a settlement offer. You want someone dedicated to protecting your rights. The right lawyer will be willing and able to take this case to trial. The insurance companies will do everything in their power to limit what you get, but a trial lawyer knows how to fight against them. Don’t hire the lawyer who does general practice, you need someone who specializes in dog bite cases. That, and finding an experienced lawyer, is of the upmost importance.
An experienced New York dog bite lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible so they that can begin to gather vital information for your case. An experienced New York dog bite lawyer at Brian Elbaum Law is prepared to take your case all the way. Please call our office today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can get you full and fair compensation for your injuries.
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