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By Richard Obiol
Principal Attorney

A dog bite can be a traumatic and painful experience, often resulting in physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial burdens. If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Nassau County, New York, it’s crucial to understand your rights as an injured party and the legal options available to seek compensation.

New York has a hybrid mix of statutory (laws passed by the legislature) and common law (laws developed by the courts) governing dog bites.

Statutory Law

To protect the public, the Agriculture & Markets Law has a procedure for designating a dog as dangerous. Once this designation is applied, a dog owner is strictly liable for medical costs associated with a dog bite, meaning they will be held responsible even without evidence of negligence. Fines and even Criminal charges may result from subsequent bites. In addition, the owner may be compelled to take several special precautions, such as:

  • Obtain training; 
  • Maintain insurance;
  • Muzzle the dog in public;
  • Confine the dog;
  • Supervise the dog by an adult over 21.

Common Law

To compensate injured parties, the common law rules apply. These rules will apply even when a dog has not been found to be “dangerous” as described above. Commonly described as the “one bite rule”, for over 200 years, the common law has imposed liability when the owner is, or should be aware of the dog’s vicious disposition or propensity. In other words, until and unless a dog has previously acted in a violent manner, it gets one free bite! It should be noted however, the dog need not have bitten someone previously, as long as the owner had reason to believe the dog had a vicious propensity (eg. growling, snapping, baring its teeth).

Compensation for Damages

As an injured party in a dog bite incident, you may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical Expenses – Coverage for medical bills related to the treatment of your injuries, including hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation.
  • Pain and Suffering – Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish resulting from the dog bite.
  • Lost Wages – Reimbursement for wages lost due to time off work for medical treatment, recovery, or disability.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement – Additional compensation for any permanent scarring or disfigurement caused by the dog bite.
  • Property Damage – Damage to clothing, possessions, or your own pet.

Legal Recourse

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Nassau County, it’s essential to take prompt action to protect your rights. This may include:

  • Seeking Medical Attention – Your health and safety should be your top priority. Seek medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible, even if they seem minor.
  • Reporting the Incident – Report the dog bite incident to local animal control authorities and law enforcement, as well as the dog owner’s insurance company.
  • Consulting with an Attorney – Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. An attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, navigate the legal process, and pursue fair compensation for your injuries.

Dog bites can have serious consequences for victims. By seeking prompt medical attention, reporting the incident, and consulting with an experienced attorney, you can assert your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

The Attorneys at Civardi & Obiol Help Those in New York Who Have Suffered a Dog Bite Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the potential legal remedies available to you. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for justice.

At Civardi & Obiol, our qualified New York personal injury attorneys will help walk you through the process every step of the way. We will fight for your rights. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

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