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Learn More About Dog Bite Lawsuit Liability

an aggresive black dog barking

Did a dog bite you in New York or New Jersey? You may have questions about dog bite lawsuit liability in this situation. Our team at Sadaka Law can step in to provide you with answers to your legal questions and support as you seek compensation for your losses.

You can learn more about liability for animal attacks by reaching out to a member of our team at 800-810-3457. We understand the complicated legal codes used in New York and New Jersey and help you review the sections that apply to your case.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites in New York

Generally, a lawyer must establish another person’s liability to bring you compensation after an accident. However, the laws surrounding liability for dog bites in New York include several complications.

New York uses strict liability laws for the medical expenses associated with dog attacks. Therefore, the dog’s owner (or legal custodian) generally bears a legal duty to cover medical costs if the dog attacks a:

  • Person
  • Companion animal
  • Domestic animal

These laws apply if the attack involves a “dangerous dog.” New York classifies dogs as dangerous if they attack or injure someone (or an animal) without justification. The state also considers dogs dangerous if they act in a threatening manner.

The state does have exceptions for police dogs. Exceptions also mitigate the owner’s liability if the dog bite victim took actions that led directly to the attack.

Compensation Through Strict Liability Laws

New York’s strict liability laws for dog bites only apply to medical expenses. Therefore, you may receive compensation for your:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Time at the hospital
  • Medical tests and procedures
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

Dog bites often lead to significant injuries, including deep punctures, broken bones, and infections due to the bacteria contained in the dog’s mouth. A dog bite accident lawyer can help you learn more about these losses.

New York’s “One Bite” Laws for Dog Attacks

aerial view of new york central park

A dog attack in New York could leave you with other expenses. However, you have the chance to seek compensation for these losses in some cases. Generally, the state allows you to request additional damages if the dog owner knew (or should have known) that they had a dangerous animal.

Your lawyer must prove that the owner knew their pet had “vicious propensities” to seek additional compensation. Vicious propensities include evidence that a dog could endanger another person’s safety.

In many cases, providing a dog has vicious propensities requires a lawyer to show that the dog bit someone else in the past, hence the name of the “one bite” law. Unfortunately, some people summarize this law as giving dogs one free bite.

Additional Compensation for Dog Attacks in New York

If a lawyer proves that the dog’s owner knew the animal had vicious propensities, you may seek additional compensation for your losses. In this situation, you could receive damages to cover your wages lost at work during your recovery as well as out-of-pocket expenses.

In some cases, the court may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the individual who caused an accident. In this case, the dog’s owner.

Other Outcomes of Dog Bite Cases in New York

In addition to the financial penalties associated with dog bite lawsuit liability, dog owners may face additional penalties. The court generally imposes these penalties, involving ordering the owner to keep their dog confined.

In some cases, the court may decide to order the dog euthanized. Generally, the court comes to this decision only if the dog previously attacked someone else or another animal. You can learn more about a dog bite lawyer in New York.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites in New Jersey

New Jersey uses strict liability laws to handle many dog attacks. This law allows you to file a civil lawsuit against a dog owner if their animal bites and harms you. For example, you might seek compensation if the attack happened while you were legally on someone’s private property or public land.

You can receive compensation for your medical expenses regardless of whether the owner knew their dog was “dangerous.”

Compensation Through Strict Liability in New Jersey

Generally, New Jersey requires dog owners to cover all your medical expenses, including costs not directly associated with a bite injury.

For example, perhaps a dog knocked you down during the attack, leading to a broken bone. The owner would have to cover the expenses for treating your broken bone, even though the injury did not come from a bite.

Compensation for Additional Injuries Caused by Dogs in New Jersey

man touching his back after falling from stairs

Dog attacks can lead to severe injuries. You may also end up facing injuries caused indirectly by a dog’s actions. For example, a dog could:

  • Jump up on someone in excitement and knock them down, leading to injuries
  • Bump into someone while running, causing a fall injury
  • Chase a vehicle into traffic, causing a vehicle car accident

In these cases, you may still have a legal option to seek compensation for your losses.

Establishing Liability in Cases Involving Owner Carelessness

In the above cases, dog bite lawsuit liability involves showing that the dog’s owner exhibited careless or negligent behavior. All dog owners must control their pet’s behavior to a reasonable extent.

To establish negligence, a lawyer may show that the owner failed to uphold their duty. The lawyer then indicates that, due to the owner’s failure, the dog directly caused a situation that led to injuries.

Generally, you have only two years to file a claim for compensation after an accident caused by a dog in New Jersey. After this period, the statute of limitations for your case expires.

New Jersey Has Extra Laws for Dangerous Dogs

New Jersey puts a legal effort into protecting residents from dangerous animals. Animal control officers generally begin the process by impounding a dog they believe to be dangerous to other animals or people.

Animal control notifies the dog’s owner after impounding the animal and allows the court to determine if the dog poses an ongoing threat to others. If the court determines the animal is dangerous, the owner may receive their dog back by fulfilling several conditions.

Often, the court requires a dog owner to:

  • Acquire a specialized license
  • Place warning signs around their property
  • Keep the dog within a locked enclosure
  • Walk the dog with a muzzle and a strong leash

Dog owners who violate these regulations may face fines.

In some circumstances, the court does not allow an owner to receive their dog back. Especially vicious or dangerous dogs may be put down, instead. Generally, the court makes this decision for animals involved in dogfighting or animals that severely injure a person without provocation.

Steps to Take After Dog Attacks

Establishing dog bite lawsuit liability may be easier based on the steps you take in the immediate aftermath of the attack. You can establish what happened right away by reporting the bite and contacting animal control.

If you see the dog’s owner, make sure that you collect the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number

If the owner is not around at the time of the attack, animal control may have additional information about the animal if it attacked someone else before. In addition, residents in the area where the attack occurred may also recognize the dog.

Ensure that you seek medical care if the attack left you with serious injuries. Wash your wound with soap and water as quickly as possible to remove contaminants from your injury. Dog bites often lead to infections.

Note that, in some cases, you may need to call 911 instead of animal control. If you feel the dog poses an immediate risk to either yourself or other people in the area, do not hesitate to call emergency services.

Liability Factors to Consider in New York and New Jersey

no trespassing sign posted in a old tree

In many cases, dog owners hold liability for animal attacks. However, pet owners may claim that someone else caused the attack in some situations.

For example, dog owners may argue that you trespassed onto their property. In some cases, illegally entering someone else’s property makes it harder to secure compensation for your losses.

Dog owners may also argue that you provoked their animal into an attack, leading to reduced compensation for your losses. But, again, a lawyer can step in to help support your claim, working to disprove claims for the dog owner designed to reduce your funding.

Reach Out to Us to Discuss Liability for a Dog Bite

Do you have additional questions about dog bite lawsuit liability? You can reach out to our team at Sadaka Law to review your legal options after an animal attack in either New York or New Jersey. We provide professional help.

Our dog bite accident lawyers put you first and review the specifics of your case. Find out more today by calling 800-810-3457.



Principal & Founder
This article was written by Mark Sadaka, a seasoned trial lawyer in nationally significant cases. He fearlessly champions clients impacted by fatal or severe injuries caused by others or corporations. Renowned for his expertise in complex litigation, he's featured in books, sought after by media for interviews, and a highly sought speaker. Notably, he exclusively represents individuals facing life-changing injuries or substantial financial losses.

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