Yesterday I was riding the elevator of my building with a neighbor of mine who was dog sitting for a friend of hers, At the end of the ride, I turned towards the door and the dog abrubtly jumbed to my stomach biting me very quickly. She pulled him back, but he had already punctured my skin. I walked to the entrance of the building, to meet my wife, where I saw the dog try to jump on two passer bys. Afterwards, I went to my neighbors door and asked her to find from her friend his vaccination records. I also filed a dog bite report with 311 NYC health dept but I was told I need to give them the info for the owner which I did not have; I only told them the first name and address of my neighbor. I subsequently saw my doctor for a tetanus and he subscribed antibiotics. What should I do?
You did the right thing reporting the incident and and seeking medical care. If you have scarring, you may have a claim against the dog owner and building if the dog has vicious propensities, meaning there are prior incidents of that dog biting, acting aggressively or causing injury.
If the elevator has surveillance ask the building to save it. In order to sue you need to show that the owner and/or building knew the dog had vicious propensities. If you have injuries worth pursuing your lawyer will want to have an investigator get sworn statements from people in the building about the dog.
While you mention she pulled him back, you don't say whether the dog was on a leash. If so, was she holding the leash before the attack? There are other ways than showing a prior dog bite to prove vicious propensity. I accomplished this once by noticing in photos of the scene that a couple of spindles were missing from the staircase. When pressed at the EBT, the owner testified that the dog had been tied up there regularly and that when the doorbell would ring the dog would bark, growl and strain at the tether. The dog was admittedly tied up for the safety of visitors and, thus, there was notice of the dog’s vicious propensity.
Making a report with the proper authorities is the proper start. You need to determine the name of the dog's owner. The fact that you know the address is a great start. It shouldn't take much to get the owner's name. An attorney should be able to obtain this information. You or your attorney may also need to engage an investigator to investigate the dog's history of prior bites or other "vicious propensities". The fact that the dog apparently lunged at others in your presence wouldn't establish PRIOR vicious propensities, but it might be a good indication of the dog's general disposition. Hopefully your bites heal quickly and without complications.
If you have any ongoing medical issues, such as scarring, then you should contact a New York personal injury attorney. Many are listed on the Find a Lawyer section of this web site, and most initial consultations are free. I practice in Indiana, however Attorney Gennarelli has advised you that in New York the dog would need to have bitten someone else first. This could be investigated by a personal injury attorney if you have ongoing medical issues. Was happy to hear that you filed the bite report, and saw your doctor for a tetanus shot.
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