January 14, 2015
How To Avoid Dog Bites To Children
By Jonathan Damashek
Under New York State law, dog owners can be held liable for injuries suffered if their dog has bitten or attacked someone. The dog owner may be made to compensate dog bite injury victims for medical expenses and other losses.
This is important because, according to the NY Department of Health, 6,600 children younger than 20 years old are treated at New York hospitals every year because of a dog bite injury. More than 200 of them are injured severely enough to require hospitalization.
A fact of life that everyone should understand is: Any dog can bite and anyone can be bitten by a dog. But children account for a disproportionate share of the dog bite-related injuries requiring medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The best course of action is to teach our children and ourselves how to avoid dog bites.
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, seek medical attention. Even seemingly minor bites should be treated. Dog bites can cause infection or disease, including rabies. You should also report any dog bite or attack to police.
The New York City Health Code requires all animal bites to be reported within 24 hours of the event and provides this online form for doing so. Outside of NYC, use the form as a guide to the information you should obtain about the dog, the incident and the dog owner when reporting a dog bite.
Dog owners have a legal duty to control animals they own and to ensure that dangerous dogs cannot attack people. They also have a duty to compensate anyone harmed by an animal they own, regardless of whether the dog was previously known to have bitten or attacked anyone.
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, you have a right to seek payment for the medical costs and other losses you have incurred. Depending on the severity of the attack and injury, you could face bills for emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation therapy and psychological therapy. Being attacked by a dog can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) injuries.
Victims of dog bites should not be reluctant to seek the compensation they are due from a friend or neighbor whose dog has caused them harm. In most cases, an owner liable for a pet dog’s bite injuries compensates the victim through their homeowner’s insurance. A business owner pays through their business liability insurance.
The attorneys of Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., can advise you about a dog bite claim in the New York City area. Many claims can be settled through negotiation. But we investigate and compile evidence to support all dog bite claims we handle, and we’ll be ready if it’s necessary to pursue the compensation you are due in court.
Contact our offices today to set up a free initial legal consultation.