Often time’s clients call after they or their children had been bitten by a dog. New York State has very specific laws regarding liability in dog bite cases. New York State has what is often referred to as the one bite rule.
What that essentially means is that a dog owner cannot be held responsible for it biting a human unless it has bitten someone before. Now that law on itself, it’s not hard and fast. The courts have also held if you can prove to a meaningful extent that the dog had vicious propensities and the owner knew of them. Then they should have been more careful regarding that dogs interactions with other people. So some of the examples of that can be dog warning signs, beware of the dog, or when the dog wears a muzzle when it is out for a walk.
Those are indications that the owners already have or had concerns regarding the temperament or behavior of that dog. One of the things that we do right away is try and contact any neighbors of the dog owner, or any other neighbors in the neighborhood. It frequently is very helpful to us because we find people who have been chased by that same dog and who understand that their children have either not been able to go in the yard or hop over the fence to get a ball.
Having a dog with a vicious propensity is the requirement that you need to prove, to get there requires adequate investigation by an attorney familiar with that law.