Retain the Best Suffolk County Dog Bite Lawyer Today!
Dog bites can be quite an annoying and agonizing phenomenon to deal with. This is especially true when dog bite victims were not to blame and a negligent dog owner could've prevented the attack. Instead, you now have a personal injury matter to deal with, which requires medical treatment.
Depending on how bad dog bite injuries are, your medical bills could be exorbitant. If you have a serious injury, it may affect other areas of your life continuously. For example, you may be unable to return to work until you've healed.
In other even worse instances, the injuries sustained may prevent you from returning to work at all. New York law demands that dog owners pick up the mantle of responsibility for their animals, meaning they must cover any costs associated with personal injuries that their pets may cause.
If you're a dog bite victim in Suffolk County, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today with an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Carl Maltese. Call (631) 857-3703 now!
Types of Wounds Dog Bites Can Cause
A dog bite injury can take several forms, and these are as follows:
Bleeding wounds, which are caused by dog bite attacks that result in ripping away of the skin by an animal's teeth or claws. Depending on the extent of the injuries suffered, the bleeding can be very significant.
Broken bones - Some dog bites are associated with very large animals that have incredibly powerful jaws. If you are bitten by a dog that fits this description, you could be dealing with bone breakage.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) - Dog bite cases that feature TBI elements can be direct or indirect. The direct form sees the bite itself cause the damage. Indirectly, the series of events dangerous dogs cause may cause you to fall, causing a traumatic impact to the head.
Damage to the face - With this kind of personal injury at play, there is damage to facial features, including the nose, mouth, or eyes. Any severe dog bite incident under this category can necessitate surgery or leave permanent damage.
Recoverable Damages in a Dog Bite Case
New York dog bite laws allow you to claim damages from a dog's owner who violates the pet restraint and dangerous dog Suffolk County codes. Some of the damages you can claim in such cases are:
Loss of use
Loss of mobility
Loss of companionship
Pain and suffering
Psychological damages including PTSD
Career change out of necessity, including the training and education required
Reduction in ability to work
Lowered quality of life
Loss of limb(s)
Long term care
Other related medical expenses
Understanding the Dangerous Dog Statute
New York dog bite cases are governed by what is known as the "dangerous dog" statute. Essentially, should a domestic animal meet the requirements to fall under the classification, the owner becomes responsible financially if the dog attacked someone. Here's a quick look at what constitutes a dangerous dog.
If persons have reason to believe that a dog attack is likely from an animal, this could suffice. Of course, this must be a reasonable person who identifies a real threat of physical injury and even potentially death.
Note that there are exceptions, which prevent dog bite claims against some animals. For example, law enforcement dogs can never be classified as dangerous dogs.
There's also a dangerous dog attack classification. Some dog attacks are provoked, which would present a tough time for a personal injury attorney to defend the victim.
However, dangerous dogs, by definition of the law, attack victims with no justification, causing injuries to dog bite victims, and potentially death.
The Burden of Proof and Strict Liability
Beyond classifying the type of companion animal is classified as a dangerous dog, the statute also dictates that a dog's owner has strict liability for all medical bills that a victim suffers from an unwarranted attack.
This is arguably the core principle that a Suffolk County dog bite lawyer uses to seek compensation for your injuries. Additionally, proof that the dog owner was negligent is also critical to the success or lack thereof of your case.
Provided that dog owners have animals that can be classified as dangerous, even if reasonable steps were taken to control or confine the animal, coverage of medical bills and associated expenses is still required.
Duty of Care
The duty of care principle requires a dog owner to ensure that the animal is controlled. This could be by being restrained, an advisory that the dog bit others in the past and has demonstrated a history of aggression, etc.
Breach of Duty
New York law on these kinds of personal injury cases requires you to prove, with the assistance of your attorney, that the owner was careless or reckless, which led to the animal attack and associated dog bite injuries sustained.
The "one bite rule" of New York law is also key here. A dog owner can only be liable if your lawyer can prove that the owner knew or should've known that the animal has the capacity to attack.
When dogs bite victims in these cases, attorneys must also prove that such animal attacks are directly responsible for the losses and damages sustained. Financial compensation is required once this can be proven along with the negligence element.
Of course, the aforementioned failure to forewarn potential victims assists dog bite lawyers in securing fair compensation for their clients.
Cause of Injury
The direct link element of how the injury occurred is essential here. A serious physical injury from a bite is direct and should not be too difficult to prove, especially with the puncture wounds being documented. Alternatively, other potentially linked serious injuries such as an impact-based TBI require an established link to be made by your New York dog bite attorney.
What to Do After a Dog Attack
When dog bites happen, the pain you deal with is one of several potential effects of the ordeal. Additionally, your mental state can be seriously affected, which may cause you not to panic. Here's a breakdown of what you should do if you were attacked by a dog.
Get Distance and Seek Medical Attention
Considering that the dog has attacked you, it has established itself as a threat. As unfortunate as it is, attacking again is not off the table whether it's a farm animal, domestic animal, or companion animal.
Therefore, one of the first orders of business is for you to get as far away from the dog as possible. If nothing else, you at least want to get far enough for future attacks not to be a concern.
Immediate medical attention should be high on your priority list. Not all dog bite injuries require a visit to the hospital emergency room, but you should at least seek out a medical professional.
Not only does this provide you with care for personal injuries caused by dog bites, but it also ensures there's a documented record that you were injured and needed treatment. Additionally, a record of your medical costs is created, which your dog bit lawyer also uses to strengthen your case.
Gather as Much Evidence As Possible
Depending on the situation and the extent of the personal injury you suffer, gathering required evidence may range in difficulty. A victim's attorney may be able to assist in filling in the gaps if being attacked by a dog incapacitated the individual.
Typically, you want to collect any data you can from the scene, which is often pictorial. Capture images of the site of your injury, the location the incident happened, etc. If any eyewitnesses saw the dog bite take place, collecting relevant contact information is also useful.
Reach out to Your Suffolk County Dog Bite Lawyer
Your attorney-client relationship is one of the most important parts of navigating dog bite cases successfully. Contact the relevant law firm and let your Long Island dog bite lawyer know everything about the ordeal.
You often find that attorneys are crucial in identifying areas that you may have missed, and they provide you with sound legal advice to address the said areas.
Do not speak to any insurance company and do not claim fault! Doing any of these things can doom your dog bite case before it even gets off the ground. If you are contacted by a negligent dog owner's insurance company, indicate that you are unwilling to speak without your Suffolk County dog bite lawyer present.
Take this step even if you are yet to retain the services of any law firm.
The Effect of Comparative Negligence
New York dog bite cases are subject to the principle of comparative negligence. As explained in the section covering the "dangerous dog" statute, a certain amount of recklessness or carelessness must be demonstrated by the owner of the animal.
However, negligence or recklessness on your part can negatively affect your case, even rendering you unable to secure compensation. This is where defense attorneys thrive.
For example, if a dog was protecting its owner's property that you were not authorized to be on, then you are at fault. Similarly, if the dog bite was a response to abuse, then the requirement for proof of owner negligence is not met.
The Statute of Limitations on Cases Involving Dog Attacks
A dog bite victim has a finite amount of time to claim for the damages sustained from the incident, even if a serious injury occurred that led to hefty medical expenses. In Suffolk County, this period is three years.
Note that this period is the time limit to file the claim to get the process started and not a limit on the time the proceedings take to wrap up.
You should never wait to file a claim if a dog owner was negligent and caused you to get hurt. Reach out to a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible for the best results.
Note that in the face of extenuating circumstances, the statute of limitations may not be applied to your case. This can be favorable or unfavorable. In other words, your window may be shortened or lengthened.
How a Suffolk County Dog Bite Lawyer Helps You
How does the Law Office of Carl Maltese help with Suffolk County-based dog bite injury cases in New York? Consider the following elements:
Compiling evidence and required documentation to strengthen your claim and maximize your chances of being awarded the economic and non-economic damages that may be at play. Remember that dog bite lawyers must assist you with the burden of proof requirement, which can only be achieved with strong supporting elements.
Insurance company negotiation on your behalf. Instead of dealing with the dog owner's insurance firm on your own and risking compromising your case, your attorney, who is well aware of the intention to reduce your compensation or pay none at all, handles the negotiation for you.
Ascertaining the value of a dog bite claim. What is a fair settlement for your case? Realistically, this isn't a question you'd be able to answer as it goes beyond what you may have paid the hospital or your lost wages. A sound understanding of your legal rights allows dog bite lawyers to adequately quantify the damages to be sought.
Legal representation in court. If a settlement could not be reached otherwise, the court system may need to become involved in your case. Your personal injury lawyer represents you to seek compensation here.
Other Suffolk County Practice Areas
A dog bite victim may have an incredibly difficult ordeal to deal with in the wake of an attack because of an owner's negligence. If you were bitten by a dog in Suffolk County, you may be entitled to compensation.
Your case is handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don't pay unless you win your case. The legal fees are calculated as a percentage of the settlement awarded.
Therefore, you have nothing to lose, especially when someone else is legally liable for the medical costs and other challenges you are left to deal with.
Schedule a free legal consultation today with the Law Office of Carl Maltese by calling (631) 857-3703.