A dog attack is not only frightening and traumatic, the injuries inflicted are often serious, or in the most tragic cases, deadly. It is important to keep in mind that any dog could bite under the right circumstances, even the most trusted family.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the U.S., and about 1 in 5 dog bite injuries become infected. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old are the most common victims.
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, wants to help you. Our Binghamton law office can provide you with valuable information regarding how to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
Contact our office to speak with Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today, for a free case evaluation. We can be reached 24/7 at (607) 724-7700 or you can also connect with us with our easy online contact form.
New York Law on Dog Bites
Dog bites in many states are governed by statutes that hold dog owners liable. However, there are no such dog bite statutes under New York state law. However, there are leash and restraint laws on the local level, which may differ from city to city.
Nevertheless, in New York, any owner, keeper or landlord may be held liable if proper steps are not taken to prevent injuries caused by a vicious dog. This makes them accountable for injuries sustained if the dog was not properly secured on their premises or on a leash.
Under Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, § 123, Dangerous Dogs, there are special restrictions placed on dog owners who have an animal that has been determined to be dangerous. The owner may be required to confine the dog or keep it restrained or muzzled while on public premises to prevent it from biting. The dog’s owner may also be required to maintain liability insurance to cover the risk of any personal injury or wrongful death resulting from a dog attack.
The Types and Dangers of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites often result in wounds on the face, neck or upper body, and the victim may be left with permanent, disfiguring scars. Children, due to their smaller stature, can be seriously injured on the face and neck, but adults can also suffer these types of injuries or secondary injuries from being knocked to the ground.
Common types of injuries sustained in a vicious dog attack include:
- Crushing wounds
- Torn skin, muscles and ligaments
- Ripped and torn scalp
- Severe puncture wounds
In dog bites, there is a particularly high risk of the bite developing various infections, including:
- Rabies – This is a very dangerous disease. Although it’s rare, any person bitten by a dog should be evaluated to ensure that there has been no transmission of rabies. If it cannot be ruled out, treatment must be commenced at once, as the disease is almost always fatal.
- Capnocytophaga – This is a bacteria often present in a dog’s mouth that can wreak havoc on the health of a person who has a compromised immune system.
- Pasteurella – This form of bacteria is found in over 50 percent of dog bite wounds. A painful, red infection, it can be very serious for those with a weakened immune system.
- MRSA – This is a staph infection that has become resistant to some antibiotics. It can spread to the bloodstream or lungs, leading to life-threatening infections.
- Tetanus – This is a toxin produced by bacteria that can lead to rigid paralysis. It is more commonly found in deep bite wounds.
New York Dog Bite Statistics
The New York State Department of Health reports that every year, 6,600 children under the age of 20 are treated at a hospital for dog bites. Of those, about 200 per year are injured so severely that they require hospitalization. Many adults also suffer dog bites.
How to Avoid Being Attacked By a Dog
You can protect yourself and your children through an understanding of the circumstances that could lead to a dog attack.
Dogs generally bite because they are frightened or believe they are protecting themselves or their owners. These are the basic rules about staying safe around dogs:
- Never leave a child alone around a dog, no matter how friendly.
- Dogs should not be petted until you check with its owner. Approach the dog slowly, and pet it on the sides or back, rather than the head.
- Never tease dogs.
- Avoid a dog that has its ears standing up, the fur on its back raised, its tail straight up or its teeth bared. Also avoid a dog that is growling or staring straight at you.
- Back away slowly if you are in the vicinity of an aggressive dog.
- Never run or scream, as it can inspire the dog to chase and attack.
What Do I Do If an Aggressive Dog Approaches Me?
If you are approached by an unleashed dog that appears to be aggressive, back away slowly. Walk slowly backwards, hands at your sides, until you can get to safety. Don’t run or scream. As soon as you are able, call animal control and report the dog so it can be picked up.
There are few things more frightening than coming into contact with a vicious dog that is off its leash, roaming the neighborhood. The primary concern is to get to safety and as far away from the animal as possible.
If the dog attacks, use your arms and hands to protect your ears, head and face. Curl up to protect your torso. Don’t make sudden movements, and keep your hands at your sides. Don’t turn your back on the animal. If the dog lunges at you, place any item you have between you and the dog, such as a purse, backpack, coat or briefcase.
What Do I Do If I or Someone I Know Has Been Bitten by a Dog?
Any dog bite should be assessed by a medical professional. As there is risk of a serious infection, early treatment is critical.
Follow these steps if you suffer a dog bite:
- Go to the ER or an urgent care center to get the wounds assessed and treated.
- Get the name, address and phone number of the dog’s owner.
- Get information from the dog’s owner about the animal, including whether the animal has been vaccinated for rabies, or if it has bitten anyone before.
- Take down the personal information of any eyewitnesses to the attack, including name and phone number.
- Contact your local animal control officer and or police department.
- Call our firm.
Why You Need an Experienced Binghamton Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite treatments can be expensive, particularly if the wounds are deep, if skin and flesh has been torn, or if it is a puncture wound. The cost of treatment can range into the tens of thousands of dollars within a few days. The treatments can last far longer and the costs can reach far higher if reconstructive surgery is necessary to repair ragged wounds.
If you were injured or a family member was injured or killed as the result of a dog bite, you may be entitled to file suit against the dog’s owner or the person who had, or should have had, control over the animal. You may be entitled to damages for medical expenses, reimbursement of lost wages, payment for pain and suffering, and other damages.
Generally, the claim will be paid by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance. This means that you should not be reluctant to file a claim against the dog’s owner, even if it is a friend, neighbor, relative or other acquaintance. In most cases, the money will come from the insurer, not out of the dog owner’s pocket.
Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, works with economic experts to determine the full value of dog bite claims. We are committed to assisting victims of serious injuries, including dog bite victims. We will work hard to seek to resolve your claim successfully so that you can concentrate on recovery and move forward with your life.
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a recent dog attack, contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today for a free review of your case. Call us at (607) 724-7700 or submit our online contact form.
- CDC: Preventing Dog Bites
- New York Department of Agriculture and Markets: Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law
- New York State Department of Health: Dog Bite Injury Prevention, Children Ages Birth to 19 Years