Dog Bite Injury
Bitten By a Dog that Caused Injury
In New York State, the owner of a dog can be held responsible if that dog attacks a person. In New York, the so-called one-bite rule does not mean that the dog must bite somebody before the dog’s owner is responsible. An attorney simply needs to show that the dog has some type of vicious propensity.
If the dog has bitten someone, it is clear that the dog has a vicious propensity. However, in the absence of a bite, the dog can exhibit a vicious propensity in a number of other ways, including growling and showing aggression toward other dogs or people. If we can show that the dog had a dangerous propensity, we may file a claim against the owner of the dog, who has become strictly liable for the actions of the dog. We do not necessarily have to prove that the owner was negligent; rather, we must only prove the dog’s vicious propensity, and the owner of the dog will become responsible.
The owner will often be able to testify about the dog on her or his own behalf, which can be an attempt to weaken your claim. However, our office typically sends investigators to the neighborhood where the dog bite occurred. This allows us to interview neighbors of the dog’s owner who can state whether they have seen a vicious propensity from the dog. Also, we can use freedom of information in these cases. Through requests under the Freedom of Information Act, we can ask for information from various governmental entities about any records of a previous attack or propensity from that dog.