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When Are Dog Owners Liable for Injuries Caused By Bites?

Dog bites can result in serious injuries, and depending on the circumstances of the bite or attack, the owner of the dog could be held liable in an injury case.

Consider the following situations in which the owner could be considered liable:

  • The owner let the dog run free despite existing leash laws in the area
  • The dog has a history of being easily excited or violent, and the owner fails to take any reasonable steps to protect other people from the dog, such as leaving the dog in a locked room when house guests are visiting
  • The fencing, rope or chain used to restrain the dog is not strong or secure enough
  • There was no “beware of dog” sign on the premises where a dog lives

While it’s good to keep certain rules of thumb to keep in mind regarding dog bites, it’s also important to remember that different cities, boroughs and regions may have varying laws — so some of those listed may not apply in a particular area while others do that are not mentioned. Regardless, even in the strictest dog bite law jurisdictions, there are certain situations in which dog owners cannot be held liable for dog bites. These include the following:

  • A trespasser is bitten by the dog
  • A veterinarian is bitten while treating the dog
  • A person provokes the dog, such as by teasing the dog or hitting it, and is bitten as a result

After a dog bite or attack in New York City, it’s important to act quickly to ensure the best possible chance of recovering compensation in a personal injury case. Seek medical attention immediately and then consult a lawyer to review your legal options.

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