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Home > Personal Injury > Dog Bites

New York Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack anywhere in the Hudson Valley, including Kingston, Marlboro and Ulster, contact an experienced dog bite attorney at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello for a consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.

Dangers of Dog Bites

Dog bites are no laughing matter.  Dangerous dogs can maim a person’s face, mangle an arm or a leg, or tear out a person’s throat.  Across the country, the number of dog bites has been steadily increasing, as have the severity of the attacks and the cost of responding to the attacks.

Serious dog attacks have been on the rise across the country over the last thirty years.  As many as a million people across the country require some sort of medical treatment for dog bites each year.  In 2015 alone, 28,000 people across the U.S. had reconstructive surgery after being attacked by dogs.  The number of canine-related hospitalizations increased by 86 percent between 1993 and 2008.  Each year, over 330,000 dog bite victims end up in the emergency room.  Between 2005 and 2017, at least 430 people were killed by dog attacks.  Moreover, the average cost of a dog bite claim increased 90 percent from 2003 to 2017.  The average cost of a dog-bite related hospital stay is over $18,000.  The majority of dog bite injuries happen in the home.

New York’s Dog Bite Laws

In New York, if you are bitten by someone else’s dog and as a result of the owner’s negligence, you might be able to recover for any associated medical costs.  In order to recover additional damages such as pain and suffering, the victim must demonstrate that the dog owner had prior knowledge that the animal had “vicious propensities.”  If the dog had previously bitten someone, for example, or had exhibited violent or aggressive behavior in the past, then the owner might be liable for additional damages.

Evidence that the dog tended to exhibit behaviors such as growling, snarling, baring its teeth or lunging at people, even if the dog had not previously bitten someone, may be used to show vicious propensity.  The severity and nature of the instant attack are also evidence that may show a vicious propensity.

If a dog has already been declared “dangerous” by a judge, either because of prior attacks or complaints, then the owner is strictly liable for a victim’s medical costs.  The victim does not need to prove that the owner of a dangerous dog did anything negligent that contributed to the attack to recover medical expenses and other associated losses.

Dangerous Dog Breeds

While any animal that is not properly trained and maintained is at risk of an unprovoked attack, there are certain breeds of dogs that are more likely to attack strangers than others.  According to reports from safety experts such as those at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, certain dogs are more prone to violence than others.  Studies of animal attacks in the U.S. have shown that the following dogs are the most dangerous:

  • Pit bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German shepherd
  • Mixed-breed
  • American bulldog
  • Mastiff/bullmastiff
  • Husky
  • Labrador retriever
  • Boxer
  • Doberman pinscher

People who own any of the above breeds should be on heightened alert for any possible misbehavior by their dogs.  They should keep their dog properly restrained at home and in public, and be aware of any signs that their animal may attack.  Many small dog owners think that they do not have to worry about the risk of attack because their little dog cannot hurt anyone.  This is far from true:  Even a little dog can pack a savage bite, with the potential to bite off fingers or toes, take out someone’s eye, or cause severe and even deadly lacerations to the arms, legs, face, torso, or neck of a victim.

Get Legal Help After a Hudson Valley Dog Bite

If a dangerous dog has injured you or a loved one in New York, reach out to a dedicated, talented, and effective personal injury lawyer.  For a free consultation on your possible dog bite injury cause of action, reach out to the experienced personal injury lawyers at the law firm Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello in Kingston at 845-331-4100 or in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.

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