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Dog bite injuries and liability in New York

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2023 | Personal Injury

Dogs have a reputation as “man’s best friend”, known for providing loyal companionship, protection, valuable aid and other benefits. However, in certain situations, they can become aggressive, leading to dog bite incidents.

Depending on the size of the dog and the ferocity of the attack, dog bites can cause serious physical and emotional damage. When individuals sustain injuries from a dog bite, they may be able to seek compensation.

Strict liability

New York has a strict liability policy when it comes to dog bites. Dog owners bear responsibility for injuries caused by their pets, regardless of their dogs’ history of aggression or the owners’ knowledge of it. They are liable for the resulting damages whether the bite happens in a public place or on private property, including their own homes.


Brooklyn leash laws mandate that dogs must be on a leash in public areas. If a dog is not properly restrained and bites someone, the owner may be liable for negligence, as he or she failed to comply with the leash laws. Similarly, failing to warn people if a dog displayed aggression in the past is also negligence. Injured individuals do not have to prove negligence; the owner is responsible for medical costs even if there is no negligence. However, if there is negligence, the injured person can also sue for other damages, such as lost wages and emotional distress.


If the injured individual provoked the dog through teasing, torment or abuse, the owner might have a valid defense against liability. However, the burden of proof lies with the dog owner to demonstrate that the injured individual’s actions directly led to the aggressive behavior.

According to a paper from the National Library of Medicine, an estimated almost four million Americans sustain dog bite injuries each year. Individuals injured by dog bites do not have to worry about the associated medical costs; dog owners are responsible for healthcare bills arising from their pets’ bites. Some even have insurance to cover such occurrences. Reporting any incidents promptly and keeping detailed documentation of the injury and resulting impact can help if legal proceedings are necessary.


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