According to the New York State Department of Health (DOH), if you were bitten by a dog in New York, you must immediately file a report about the incident. This is especially crucial if the bite was inflicted by an animal suspected of having rabies.
The report should include the following information:
- Details about the incident, including the location where it happened. Your ability to collect compensation for your injury could be affected by where the incident took place. Were you in a dog park? Did the bite happen at the dog owner’s home? Was it a stray dog? Were you walking a dog, or were there other dogs around at the time?
- Specifics about your injury (or that of the person who was bitten if you are filing the report on behalf of someone else). Did the bite penetrate the skin? This is also very important if there is a possibility that the animal had rabies.
- Description of the animal that bit you. Breed, size, approximate weight, size.
- Information about the animal’s owner (if you know who it is)
What Should I do After Reporting My Dog Bite?
A good way to learn about your legal rights and options after you were bitten by a dog is to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the incident. Many law firms will assess your case at no charge. Once you hire an attorney, they will handle all the legal aspects of your case. This includes:
- Helping to identify the liable party
- Gathering evidence, including medical records, witness testimonies, and other information to help build your case
- Quantifying your injuries and determining a just settlement for your immediate and long-term care
- Negotiating with the liable party, their insurance company, and their lawyer on your behalf
- Keeping you updated on your case
Law firms that handle these types of cases usually do so on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you only pay them after you are awarded compensation.
What are Economic Damages and Non-Economic Damages?
After a dog bite, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses, including the physical and psychological effects of the bite. These are referred to as economic and non-economic damages, respectively.
The following are some examples of economic damages:
- Medical bills: You could receive compensation for any treatment you received or expect to receive as a result of the injuries you suffered from the dog bite.
- Travel expenses: If you traveled a long distance to see a doctor after you were bitten, you could be reimbursed for the cost of travel.
- Loss of wages: The dog bite prevented you from going to work, or reduced your ability to work the same number of hours you had previously worked, thereby reducing your income.
- Loss of earning capacity: Your dog bite injury is permanently disabling and impacts your long-term ability to earn a living.
The following are some examples of non-economic damages:
- Scarring: Your appearance was permanently impacted by scars from the bite
- Disability: Your injury is severe enough that it left you with a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering: You suffered emotional distress as a result of the bite and its aftermath
- Loss of consortium: Your injury affected your relationship with your spouse
A Note on Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you are filing a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who passed away from a dog bite injury, you could qualify for additional economic and non-economic damages. An attorney can provide you with information on how to proceed in that situation.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for Compensation?
Determining whether you qualify for compensation depends on a number of factors surrounding the specific circumstances of your case.
For example, according to New York Agriculture & Markets (AGM) §123(4), a dog’s violent behavior could be considered justifiable if the bite victim was:
- Attacking or threatening to attack the dog’s owner
- Abusing or threatening to abuse the dog
- Committing criminal acts on the dog owner’s property
In short, a dog has the right to act in self-defense or in defense of its owner. To help you receive the compensation you deserve, your lawyer will have to build a case proving that:
- You behaved in a lawful, non-threatening manner
- The dog’s actions were not justifiable. In other words, the dog bite was unprovoked.
Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P to Learn More About How a Lawyer Can Help You
To find out more about your legal rights after suffering a dog bite in New York, call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., at (516) 932-0400 for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.
We will review the details of your case, and discuss your options for compensation.
Our staff can also assist you in Spanish, Greek, Tamil, Kannada, or Bengali.