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Proving negligence in dog bite cases in New York

In the 12 years leading up to 2015, it's reported the average homeowners' insurance claim filed over a dog bite nearly doubled from the prior years' rates. Currently, the average claim comes in at $44,320. This amount causes New York to rank third in terms of the highest dog bite claims states.

As for why settlements tend to be on the larger end of the spectrum, experts say it has to do with just how potentially dangerous a dog attack can be. They note that a lot can happen when a big dog lunges then knocks someone of a smaller stature to the ground. This alone can cause the individual to suffer a brain injury and bone fractures.

For others attacked and bitten by dogs, they risk torn muscles and tissues or developing an infection from their deep flesh wounds. In cases in which bite wounds are relatively minor, victims still may be left to deal with flashbacks to the attack or severe anxiety, two conditions that are consistent with a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis.

Unfortunately for New Yorkers, dog bite cases are subject to a modified one-bite rule. Under this law, homeowners are not held financially liable for their dog biting someone else, so long as their dog has not previously attacked anyone else.

Fortunately, although homeowners may would think they could use this rule to their advantage to avoid paying the victim's medical bills, they can't. It only allows them to avoid paying other damages, such as pain and suffering. The only exception to this rule is if it can be proven that the owner knew that their dog posed some danger in advance.

Proving that a dog owner knew that their dog posed some kind of threat requires the victim to document the animal's prior behavioral problems.The victim being able to shown that the owner was deliberate in the way they restrained the dog may also help to prove that the owner knew of their dog's potential to be dangerous.

If you have been seriously injured after having been attacked by a dog, then a Queens personal injury attorney can help you better understand whether you may be entitled to file a claim in your case.

Source: Today, "Understanding dog bite law in New York," Melissa Thompson, accessed Aug. 31, 2017

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