Dog in the grass looking ahead

Dog Bites and Summer Activities: What to Do If You’re Injured

By Greg Kohn

The arrival of warm weather in the Northeast is a time of celebration for families, as it means more time for outdoor activities. When you visit family and friends or go to parks and playgrounds this summer, you’ll likely encounter dogs. While most dogs are friendly and harmless, even familiar dogs can present a danger, and it’s important to know what to do if your day is interrupted by a dog bite.

Taking the proper steps in the event of a dog bite can help mitigate injuries, as well as improve your chances of recovering compensation for your medical bills and related losses.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

More than 800,000 people in the U.S. receive medical attention for dog bites every year. Common dog bite injuries include:

  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Amputation
  • Bruises
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Facial and eye injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infection

It’s essential that you seek medical attention right away following a dog bite. Even a seemingly minor dog bite can become infected and turn into a serious medical problem.

What to Do After a Dog Bites You in New York and New Jersey

Your health and safety are your top priorities following a dog attack. As soon as you suffer a bite:

  • Identify the dog’s owner and get their contact information
  • Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
  • Thoroughly clean and dress the wound
  • Seek medical attention

You may also need to report a dog bite to your local health department, as well as report the incident to the police if the dog poses an immediate danger to others.

Your Legal Rights After a NJ or NY Dog Attack

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other losses resulting from dog bite injuries.

New Jersey follows the strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. This means that if a dog bites someone on public property or while the victim is legally on private property, the owner is liable for the victim’s injuries, even if they had no previous knowledge of their dog’s potential to attack others.

New York’s dog bite law is more complicated. New York combines the “one-bite rule” with elements of negligence and strict liability. Under the one-bite rule, the owner of a dog can only be liable if they had reason to believe their dog was dangerous. New York law outlines some specific characteristics of dangerous dogs and assigns special responsibilities to their owners.

If a dog is known to be dangerous, an owner can be held strictly liable if their dog injures someone, even if the animal has never actually bitten or injured someone in the past. A dog bite victim cannot sue a dog owner in New York based on the owner’s negligence. However, a negligent dog owner may be required to pay fines and face other government-imposed penalties.

Contact a Dog Bites Lawyer

Seeking compensation for dog bite injuries involves a number of steps, including:

  • Documenting your injuries and other related losses
  • Calculating how much compensation you may be owed
  • Completing claim paperwork and submitting it by deadlines
  • Negotiating in pursuit of a fair settlement
  • Filing a lawsuit and taking the case to court if negotiations do not result in a fair settlement offer

You don’t have to handle these tasks yourself. For the most favorable outcome, contact an experienced New York and New Jersey dog bite attorney at Nagel Rice, LLP. We’ll review your case, explain your legal options, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing after a dog bite incident. Get in touch with us today to get started with a free case review.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.