Find a New York Dog Bite Lawyer

Find a New York Dog Bite Lawyer

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Jul 26, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

Dog bites can be deadly and are far from uncommon in NYC and the country at large. Despite many dog owners’ best attempts, some canines cannot break from their overly aggressive behaviors. Nowhere is this issue more alarming than when dangerous dogs are out in public, where they can maim, disfigure, and even kill.

Whether they are being attended to or not, dogs cause a substantial number of severe injuries and emotional distress to New Yorkers each year. This is why, in the event you or a loved one has been injured due to a dog attack, it’s important to know your legal options and rights.

For instance, under certain circumstances, the dog owner could be held liable for your dog bite injuries and, consequently, the court may order them to pay for your medical bills and accident-related costs. Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-800-966-4999 for a free case evaluation and more information.

Dangers of Dog Bites

Dog bites can be very dangerous. This holds especially true when they involve children, the elderly, or other individuals who are at risk of being knocked over. This is because dogs, whether they are aggressive or defensive, do not calibrate their responses as people do.

Under the right circumstances, even apparently well-trained dogs can act dangerously and cause serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries suffered by victims of dog attacks include but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage and/or potential paralysis
  • Fall injuries
  • External lacerations
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infections, especially if the dog in question has not been vaccinated
  • Facial trauma
  • Amputated digits

Additionally, many dog bite injuries can wreak havoc on their victims’ finances. Surgeries, physical therapy, and other bills can accumulate and ruin the finances of even the most prepared individuals. Under these circumstances, dog attack victims may not have any choice but to sue the at-fault party in order to recover monetary compensation for their medical expenses and related bills.

Dog Bites in New York City

Dog bites are unfortunately very common in New York City and beyond. According to one study, there are over half a million dogs in New York City alone. As well, every year in the United States there are approximately 4.5 million dog bite victims.

According to one study, over 6,000 New York City emergency room visits were related to dog bites in 2014. Note: While most dog bites are not fatal, they are oftentimes very severe. Among those injured, children under the age of 17 are more likely to be hospitalized for dog bite injuries compared to adults.

This information adds up to one key truth: Dog bites cannot be taken lightly. Moreover, if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite, you should know that you likely have legal grounds for a lawsuit. As such, it’s important to know who to contact if ever you or a loved one has been injured and is consequently seeking damages.

Personal injury attorneys such as Schwartzapfel Lawyers can help you get the legal representation you need for a lawsuit to succeed. For a free case evaluation, contact us today at 1-800-966-4999.

Dog Bite Laws in New York

Many states opt for strict liability for dog bites, in which case dog owners are on the hook for damages. Other states, however, follow so-called “one bite” laws. New York follows a more moderate approach, allowing for some complexity in dog bite injury cases. In addition to these laws, New York has a strict leash law.

This law mandates that so long as a dog is on public property, that dog must be leashed by its owner. Accordingly, dogs are not allowed to be unleashed in the New York public under any circumstances. This means that if a dog bites someone and it is not leashed at the time of the attack, the owner will likely be found liable for any injuries sustained and the damages incurred as a result.

No One-Bite Rules

New York doesn’t have a strict one-bite rule. The one-bite rule in other states allows dogs to have one “free bite” before they are considered dangerous. The intention behind these rules is to account for situations in which young dogs are presented with unfamiliar or scary situations without imposing unnecessary fines or penalties on their owners.

However, that doesn’t mean that previous bites or attacks cannot be used as evidence for dog bite injury cases. For example, if a dog bites an individual and it is their second recorded attack, the first attack can still be used as evidence for an upcoming lawsuit.

Under New York dog bite laws, dog owners can be held strictly liable for medical bills. Under these laws, injured individuals do not need to show that dog owners were careless or negligent in order to receive money. Instead, they must only prove that the dog was dangerous.

Proving Dog Owner Liability

According to state law, dangerous dogs:

  • Have attacked and injured and/or killed at least one person, pet, or farm animal without any apparent or reasonable justification; OR
  • Have behaved in a way that would make a reasonable person believe the dog was dangerous to them

For dog bite cases, what constitutes a “reasonable belief” is often based on what most people or the members of a jury deem appropriate.

Depending on the strategy selected by your legal team, the following evidence may be gathered in support of your claim:

  • A history of the attacking dog fighting with other dogs or animals
  • Past known instances where the dog growled, bared teeth, or tried to bite someone
  • Whether or not the owner used a muzzle on the dog at some point
  • Prior complaints against the dog for any reason

Proving “Vicious Propensity” 

During a legal investigation, your lawyers may seek to prove that a dog has a “vicious propensity.” A vicious propensity means that the dog was known to be dangerous by the owner. Therefore, by allowing the dog to cause harm to another person, the owner will likely be deemed negligent in their handling of the animal.

Such investigations can be lengthy and in-depth. Proving vicious propensity means that lawyers have to investigate a dog’s background and learn whether the owner was aware of its history of violence, or if it had a history of violence in the first place.

Furthermore, a “beware of dog” or similar sign is not recognized as sufficient evidence that an owner knew of their dog’s vicious propensity before an attack. Similarly, a dog merely barking is not evidence of a vicious propensity.

Note that, by law, all dog bites have to be reported to the New York City Department of Health. This organization could keep records of dog bites on hand for such cases. If you and your legal team can prove that a dog was vicious and/or unfit for being in public, you may recover additional damages.

To learn more, speak with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers dog-bite expert at no charge. Simply dial 1-800-966-4999 and allow us the privilege of assisting you with your questions, claim(s), and more.

Who Can Be Responsible for Dog Bites and Damages?

Many different individuals may be held responsible for dog bites and associated damages. Generally, though, whoever is in charge of the dog at the time of the attack and may reasonably be found negligent will be held liable for damages should your lawsuit succeed.

Potential parties who could be responsible for dog bites include but are not limited to:

  • Dog owners
  • Dog-sitters/watchers
  • Property owners
  • Landlords

Note: In the case of landlords, individuals may be held liable for dog attacks only under specific circumstances. For example, if the landlord knew a dog was present and was vicious but still let someone onto a property, they could be liable for damages that result.

Worth noting, too, is that even if a dog attack takes place off-premises, a landlord may still be held liable if they knew the dog posed a danger to the public and took no action to prevent an attack from occurring.

Potential Damages for Dog Bites

If you sue an at-fault owner for a dog bite, you could receive damages and monetary compensation for medical and accident-related expenses. These damages can include coverage for:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Ongoing medical costs, such as physical therapy and other rehabilitative treatments
  • Lost income due to time spent away from work

And while most dog bite lawsuits do not result in damages for compensation beyond medical expenses, exceptions do exist.

For example, if your legal team can prove that the owner was negligent in how they controlled or handled their dog and that their handling directly led to the dog bite’s occurrence, they could be held liable for further damages. Moreover, the at-fault dog owner might be held liable for additional damages if they reasonably should have known that their dog was dangerous and/or had a history of violent actions.

Ultimately, an experienced legal team will help you maximize your compensation and ensure that your finances aren’t devastated when paying for medical bills associated with dog injuries. Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-800-966-4999 to speak with one of our experienced trial attorneys now at no charge.

How Can Personal Injury Lawyers Help?

Whether you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite, it’s important to contact knowledgeable personal injury attorneys right away. Personal injury lawyers can assist with your upcoming lawsuit in a variety of ways. For example, personal injury attorneys can:

  • Help you determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Remember: Not all dog bites are automatic grounds for a lawsuit. The dog in question has to have behaved in an aggressive and unreasonable manner. Accordingly, if you provoked the dog, even unintentionally, you may not have the legal standing for damages.
  • Gathering evidence on your behalf. Personal injury lawyers can speak to eyewitnesses, gather camera footage, and investigate claims of prior aggressive behavior on the part of the canine.
  • Provide sound legal counsel throughout the lawsuit or litigation process.
  • Fight for you no matter what.

Additionally, if you own a dog and have been unfairly accused of negligence or of causing a bite, personal injury attorneys can come to your defense. The right legal team can help by:

  • Showing that your dog does not have a history of violent behavior
  • Proving that circumstances caused your dog to lash out in a defensive manner
  • Showing that the injured party instigated the attack
  • And more!

In any case, you should keep the New York statute of limitations in mind for personal injuries caused by dog bites. According to New York law, you have (3) years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury lawsuit. Therefore, after receiving medical attention, you must act swiftly when deciding whether to sue.

What To Look for in New York Injury Attorneys

Naturally, you’ll want the best New York injury attorneys on your side. As such, you should look for a few specific factors before hiring a New York dog bite lawyer.

Past Case Success

First, always be sure that your attorneys have a history of successful cases. You don’t want to hire a firm that doesn’t hasn’t won a significant number of cases, which is why you should make it a priority to review the client testimonials page of the law firms you are considering.

At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, we’ve helped New Yorkers just like you win a variety of personal injury cases over the years. To wit, we’ve recovered damages for dog bites, slip and fall incidents, auto accidents, and everything in between.

With our help, you may recover damages upwards of several thousand dollars. Many of our clients, in fact, have even been awarded millions of dollars in jury verdicts, settlements, and more.

Knowledge of New York Dog Bite Laws

When considering law firms, you should hire a firm that has extensive knowledge of New York City and New York dog bite laws. In other words, don’t hire a firm that specializes in other areas of legal action. Choose dedicated personal injury attorneys like Schwartzapfel Lawyers!

For a free consultation, call us today at 1-800-966-4999.

Contingency Fee Basis

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, you should never need to pay for legal representation upfront. Instead, you should hire a firm that operates on a contingency fee basis.

A contingency fee basis means that the lawyers in question will only charge you money if they recover damages for your lawsuit or legal case. That’s what we offer at Schwartzapfel Lawyers. That way, you don’t have to worry about juggling medical and legal bills at the same time.

In short: If we don’t win, we won’t charge you a penny. We’re so confident in our ability to help individuals recover justifiable damages that we extend this offer to each of our clients.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

Finding the right New York dog bite lawyer is crucial to ensuring your lawsuit succeeds. Dog bite cases can be difficult to win alone, especially if a dog’s owner does not own up to the responsibility they owe to the attack victim(s). But with Schwartzapfel Lawyers on your side, you’ll stand a greater chance of recovering financial compensation.

As experienced New York City personal injury attorneys, we’re ready to assist with your lawsuit. We can also help protect you from aggressive prosecutors if your dog was provoked and you believe you are not liable for damages.

In either case, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free case evaluation at 1-800-966-4999. But you shouldn’t wait, as your window to file a claim or mount a defense may soon close forever. Instead, act now and allow Schwartzapfel Lawyers the honor and privilege of fighting – and winning – for you!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

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