3 Steps To Take If You Get Bit By A Dog
Dogs are generally friendly, gentle companions, making excellent pets. Nonetheless, dog bites, which are fairly common, can result in serious personal injury. If a dog is not properly vaccinated or trained, it can turn “man’s best friend” into man’s worst enemy.
1 - Get Immediate Medical AttentionYou want to make sure you stop any bleeding and obtain any necessary treatment to try to avoid infection. Some dogs carry diseases, such as rabies, which can be devastating to humans and must be treated with specific medications. If possible, find out from the dog's owner if the dog was vaccinated.
2 - Report The Bite To The AuthoritiesYou do not know the entire history of the dog who bit you. Reporting the event to the authorities may help you find out if there are any diseases you need to get tested for and who is responsible for the dog. Besides being a good idea, Section 11.03 of the New York City Health Code requires that all animal bites be reported to the authorities within 24 hours of their occurrence.
3- Talk To A LawyerMany law firms do free consultations, and do not charge a fee unless they win your case, so there is generally no cost up front for getting a legal expert's opinion. There are many laws on the books to protect victims of dog bites. Depending on the particular circumstances involved, you may be able to sue the offending dog's owner.
The law makes a distinction between owners who are aware of their domesticated animal's propensity to be vicious and those who do not. When the owner of the dog knows, or has reason to know, that the animal has an aggressive disposition or a propensity to behave viciously, the owner assumes strict liability for any injury caused by that animal.
A similar rule applies to an individual who, although not the owner of the dog, harbors the animal with knowledge of its propensity for violence. For example, a landlord is required by law to take reasonable proactive steps to protect others from being attacked, such as having clear provisions in the lease that the dog must be properly restrained at all times. The law holds both the owner and the landlord responsible for protecting the public.
In most cases, a lawsuit must be commenced within 3 years of the injury. Certain lawsuits against government entities/municipalities and government/municipality dog owners must be commenced within 1 year and 90 days of the injury. In addition, if you intend to sue a government entity/municipality or government/municipality owner, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of the incident. Accordingly, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.