Dog Bite Lawyers In Staten Island
For many, a dog is more than just a pet, it is a part of the family. Yet, no matter how close this relationship is, dogs are animals that can bite. Sadly, these dog bites can lead to horrifying injuries, excruciating pain, and a life that will never be the same for those injured in a dog attack.
If you or a loved one has suffered severe injuries in Staten Island because of a dog bite, you should reach out to an experienced Staten Island dog bite attorney at Jacoby & Meyers LLP right away. Our Staten Island personal injury lawyers are not only here to provide you with the legal support you need during this devastating time, but they are also here to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.
About Jacoby & Meyers LLP
The law firm of Jacoby & Meyers LLP was founded in 1972 to provide top-quality legal representation to everyone that needed it. Today, not only have we met this goal, but we now represent plaintiffs in all types of personal injury claims in both New York and New Jersey, providing them with the compassionate and straightforward legal representation they need.
In fact, in the last 50 years, our winning cases have helped countless clients and secured millions of dollars on their behalf through settlement negotiations and jury trial verdicts. Yet, more importantly, through it all, we remain dedicated to providing our clients with the unsurpassed legal representation they need while ensuring we preserve their dignity and privacy.
Staten Island Dog Bite Laws
In New York, the laws are not as straightforward as in other states because we mix the one-bite rule and a limited degree of strict liability.
According to the state’s regulations, an owner or keeper of a previously adjudicated dangerous dog is strictly liable for a victim’s medical and veterinary costs. For other damages, the state requires the dog bite victim to prove that the dog had the dangerous tendency to bite other people, and the dog’s owner knew about it.
What is a Dangerous Dog in Staten Island?
According to New York’s dangerous dog law, the owner or lawful custodian of a dangerous dog is strictly liable for medical costs resulting from an injury caused by the dog to a person, farm animal, domestic animal, or companion animal.
The statute defines a dangerous dog as a dog that:
- Without justification, attacks and either injures or kills a person, pet, or farm animal, or
- Behaves in a way that causes a reasonable person to believe that the dog poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.”
However, there are some exceptions to this dangerous dog statute. For instance:
- According to the statute’s definition, if the dog were a law enforcement canine carrying out its duties, it would not be a dangerous dog.
- If the dog were protecting its home against a person trying to trespass or commit a crime on the property, the dog would not be considered dangerous.
- If the dog were protecting its owner, puppies, or itself when it bit or harmed another person, it would not be considered a dangerous dog.
- If the dog were provoked, abused, or assaulted by a person, it would not fit the definition of a dangerous dog if it bites the person hurting them.
- If the dog were reacting to pain or suffering when it injured another person, it would not be a dangerous dog.
Liability for Damages in Staten Island Dog Bite Cases
New York’s dangerous dog statute holds a dog owner is strictly liable for a person’s medical bills resulting from injuries caused by a dangerous dog. Consequently, the dog’s owner must pay the injured individual’s medical bills or bills related to treating another pet or livestock harmed by the dog, even if the owner took reasonable precautions to control or restrain the dog.
However, for other damages that resulted from a dog attack or dog bite, the victim must usually show that the dog’s owner was negligent. Rather, they failed to use reasonable care to prevent the victim’s injuries from occurring.
For instance, if a dog breaks out of their yard and bites a neighbor on their bike. The neighbor can recover expenses related to their medical care under the strict liability rules. Still, it will only be able to recover the costs of replacing any broken property, such as the bike, if they can show that the dog’s owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep the dog in their yard.
Dog Bites —The Injuries and Trauma They Can Cause
Dog bites can cause significant and debilitating injuries that lead to hospitalization and expensive medical treatments. In some instances, these injuries can even result in permanent damage that can forever impact a dog bite victim’s life.
However, even though the severity of a dog bite injury will depend on the circumstances of the incident, in most instances, these dog attacks usually result in the following injuries:
- Deep lacerations and puncture wounds
- Abrasions, generally around the head, face, and neck
- Infections and diseases including rabies, sepsis, or tetanus
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Nerve damage
- Limb loss
- Crushing injuries
- Wrongful death
Although these are some of the more common injuries resulting from a dog attack, the repercussions do not usually end with the injury. These injuries can stop individuals from living the life they want and prevent them from taking care of their families or working. Plus, those who sustain these injuries will likely have to deal with astronomical medical bills, which can result in significant financial hardships for the whole family.
If a dog harmed you in Staten Island, you should reach out to a skilled Staten Island dog bite accident attorney. Our lawyers can not only provide you with the answers you need during this challenging time, but they can also help you understand how you can go after the money you need, so you will not be on the hook for these significant bills and expenses.
Monetary Damages Following a Staten Island Dog Bite Accident
Most dog bite claims will cover the medical expenses resulting from a dog attack.
Yet, with an experienced Staten Island dog bite accident lawyer on your side from Jacoby & Meyers LLP, you might pursue other damages, including:
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Past and current medical bills related to surgeries, hospital stay, doctor visits, and prescription medication
- Future ongoing medical care
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
In addition, depending on the circumstances of the incident, punitive damages may also be available. However, unlike the other damages, which compensate the victim for their losses and injuries, punitive damages punish the defendant for their egregious actions and deter others from committing them.
As a result, to obtain punitive damages in New York, a victim’s lawyer needs to show that the defendant’s actions demonstrated a conscious and deliberate disregard of the victim’s interests.
Things You Should Do Following a Staten Island Dog Bite Incident
Following a dog attack, most victims have no idea what they should do next, let alone what specific actions they need. However, the things you do after this incident can keep you safe and protect your legal rights.
That is why, after a Staten Island dog attack, you should consider doing the following:
Get Medical Attention
After a dog bite, you have to put yourself first and make sure you get immediate medical attention. After the incident, you should contact 911 and notify the police and emergency medical personnel of the attack. These authorities can come to the scene and treat your cuts, wounds, and other injuries, and if your injuries call for it, they can also transport you to the hospital for further treatment.
However, if you do not get emergency medical treatment at the scene, you should still get to a doctor right away. Many dog bites will require a tetanus shot or other medical intervention to help prevent severe complications and infections. Fortunately, when you see a medical care professional after the incident, these doctors can ensure you get the treatment you need.
If possible, use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene, including photos of the dog, your injuries, the surrounding area, and any property damage.
Get Information from the Dog’s Owner
If the dog’s owner is present, you will want to get their name, contact details, insurance information, and any other details that can provide you with further information about the dog, such as whether they got all of their necessary shots.
This information can help preserve your right to sue later for your injuries and help health care professionals determine whether you need to undergo a series of painful and expensive vaccinations to protect you from fatal diseases that can arise from the dog bite.
Check for Witnesses
If anyone at the scene saw the dog attack, you should try to get their names and contact details. These individuals can often provide your lawyer with further information about the incident and testimony that can validate your claim.
File an Incident Report with The Department of Health
According to New York’s State Department of Health (DOH), if a dog bit you on Staten Island, you must immediately file a report about the incident. You should report the dog bite to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within 24 hours of the event.
This report should include details about the incident, specifics about your injuries, a description of the animal that bit you, and information about the animal’s owner if you know who it is.
Watch What You Say
As you speak to others at the scene, you want to make sure you watch what you say, as your comments can be used against you, even in a dog bite case.
That is why you want to avoid making any definitive statements about the dog bite incident or apologizing for anything that occurred. In addition, you will want to avoid being interviewed by the dog owner’s insurance company until you have spoken with an experienced Staten Island dog bite attorney.
Staten Island Dog Bite FAQ
If a dog has attacked you or a loved one on Staten Island, you likely have numerous questions about your legal options and the remedies you can pursue. For this reason, our legal team has prepared responses to the following frequently asked questions our clients often have after a dog bite incident or dog attack.
We hope that until you can speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer about your specific concerns, these answers can help clear up some of the confusion surrounding your legal rights and show you how working with a knowledgeable Staten Island dog bite attorney can help you obtain the money you need.
How Do You Know If You Have a Viable Legal Claim Following a Staten Island Dog Bite Incident?
Before you can pursue legal action for the harm and losses you sustained because of a dog bite, we need to examine several questions to figure out if you have a viable legal claim.
- What was the extent of your injuries following the dog bite incident?
- Do you still have time to file an injury claim following the incident?
- Is there any insurance money available that you can pursue?
If a dog injured you in Staten Island, the best way to determine your legal options is to speak with an experienced Staten Island dog bite lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers LLP as soon as possible. These attorneys can go over what happened, figure out if you have a valid legal case, and determine what you should do to go after the money you need for the damages you endured.
Should You Speak to the Insurance Company Following Your Staten Island Dog Bite Incident?
If a dog severely harmed you in an attack on Staten Island, you may have the insurance company calling you to talk about the incident. However, before you speak with these companies, you need to understand that the insurance company is not here to help you.
They are not your friend, and they are not looking to get you the money you need. Rather, they are a business, and like other businesses, they want to make a profit. This means the less money they offer you for your injuries, the more money they will make.
For these reasons, an insurance adjuster will try to get you on the phone while you are at your most vulnerable, such as right after an accident, so that they can try to get you to say something that can impact your claim. Before you take these calls, seek out legal counsel to better understand how to avoid the company’s deceitful practices that can decrease the money you get.
More importantly, once you hire our attorneys, we can also take on these conversations, ensuring that adjusters don’t use your innocent statements against you.
Should You Take the First Settlement Offer You Receive Following a Staten Island Dog Bite Incident?
Depending on the circumstances of your Staten Island dog bite incident, you may be offered money from the insurance company for the harm you sustained. Although this may seem like great news, it actually may not be in your best interest to accept this amount.
When insurance companies offer you a settlement quickly after what happened, they do so because they hope you will accept their meager offer without verifying if this amount covers all your expenses. As a result, if you accept this amount and later discover that you have further bills and costs associated with your original injury, you will not be able to go back to the insurance company and ask for more money.
Before you accept anything from the insurer, wait until you have a better understanding of your injuries and their effects on your life. You also may want to discuss this offer with a knowledgeable Staten Island dog bite lawyer, who can go over this settlement amount and provide you with the information you need to make a smart decision about whether you should take this offer. If you decide the amount they offered you is not just, these lawyers can head back to the negotiation table where they can fight for an amount that is.
Can a Beware of Dog Sign Hurt Your Legal Case in Staten Island?
Just because a homeowner or property owner put up a Beware of Dog sign, it does not mean that it will absolve these dog owners of liability if their dog injured another individual while they were on their property.
In fact, in some instances, this sign can help you show that the dog’s owner knew the dog had some vicious propensities, especially when used in combination with previous bites, other signs of aggression, or complaints brought to the owner’s attention.
Suppose a dog harmed you and question whether you can pursue compensation for your harm and losses. In that case, reach out to an experienced Staten Island dog bite attorney from Jacoby & Meyers LLP as soon as you can. Our attorneys can help you figure out whether you have a valid legal case and assist you as you go after the financial recovery that you need.
How Much is a Staten Island Dog Bite Case Worth?
Trying to figure out the worth of a dog bite case in Staten Island is not as straightforward as many people may assume.
In truth, the value of these cases will often depend on numerous factors, including:
- The type of injuries you sustained after the dog bite incident and the severity of these injuries
- The extent of your pain and suffering
- The medical treatments you require now and in the future
- The ability to work following the incident
- Whether the injuries resulted in significant scarring, disfigurement, or a disability
- The ability to continue to take part in everyday activities
- The credibility of the evidence presented
Although you may have a general idea of the losses you sustained following a dog attack, you must flesh out all of these losses and expenses properly, including your future costs.
That is why you must work with an attorney with experience handling these complex claims, who understands how to determine the value of these cases and knows how to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
What Are Your Options If the Dog’s Owner Says They are Not Insured?
If a dog harmed you in Staten Island and you find out the dog’s owner does not have any insurance, you should seek out legal counsel to help you figure out whether there are other avenues of insurance you can pursue.
For instance, just because the owner says they do not have specific insurance that covers dog bites, other types of insurance may help you get the money you need. Plus, there is also the possibility of going after the dog owners themselves for compensation for your harm and losses. However, to figure out which of these avenues you should pursue, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Staten Island dog bite attorney as soon as possible following your dog bite incident.
Are There Caps on the Amount of Damages You Can Recover Following a Staten Island Dog Bite Incident?
Although many states have damage caps on the total amount of compensation a jury may award a plaintiff for non-economic damages, in New York, there is no cap on any type of damages. This means you can receive a significant amount of money for your pain and suffering, depending on the severity of your injuries following a dog bite incident.
Do You Have any Legal Options if Your Loved One Is Killed in a Staten Island Dog Attack?
New York defines wrongful death as caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default. Following a wrongful death, the state also allows specific individuals to bring a legal claim on behalf of the deceased individual.
This means that if your loved one died in a dog attack or because of their dog bite injuries, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover all of your legally compensable damages, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Reasonable medical care expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury
- Any financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family
- The value of services and support the deceased would have provided to their family
- The value of parental care, nurture, and guidance the deceased offered their surviving children
However, to determine whether you can bring a wrongful death claim following the death of your loved one, work with a skilled Staten Island dog bite lawyer. At Jacoby & Meyers LLP, our attorneys can review what happened to your loved one, determine if you have a viable wrongful death lawsuit, and help you secure the compensation you deserve.
How Long Will It Take to Resolve a Dog Bite Claim in Staten Island?
Because each dog bite claim is unique, the amount of time it will take for a case to resolve will depend on numerous elements, including the severity and the nature of the dog bite injuries, the length of time the individual will be under the care of a medical professional, and the complexity of the case.
Consequently, it can take anywhere from months to even years to resolve these dog bite cases, especially if they head to trial. However, when you work with a skilled Staten Island dog bite lawyer, these attorneys can try to resolve your case as quickly as they can and go after as much money as possible.
How Can the Law Firm of Jacoby & Meyers LLP Help You After a Staten Island Dog Bite Incident?
You have enough to worry about following a Staten Island dog bite incident. The last thing you want to do in these situations is try to find evidence and prepare strong legal arguments to prove your claim. Fortunately, with an experienced Staten Island dog bite attorney on your side from Jacoby & Meyers LLP, you will not have to worry about doing any of this on your own.
Instead, once you retain our skilled legal counsel, we can:
- Work on evaluating your legal claim and figure out the legal options you can pursue.
- Quickly start investigating your Staten Island dog bite incident and collecting the evidence needed to show what happened, who was at fault, and the extent of your damages.
- Hire experts, including financial specialists and doctors, to substantiate your claim.
- File legal motions before time runs out.
- Hold all the at-fault parties accountable for the harm and losses you endured.
- Use evidence to negotiate with the dog’s owner or their insurance company and fight for a fair and full settlement offer.
- Proceed to trial if the other side won’t provide you with a just offer and go after a favorable verdict.
That is why, if you or a loved one sustained severe injuries due to a dog bite in Staten Island, you should not wait to get the legal help you need. Instead, contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP today at (877) 488-1707 for free case consultation, and let our skilled Staten Island dog bite attorneys help you fight for your rights and the justice that you deserve.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
26 Watchogue Rd Suite 1
Staten Island, NY 10314