Who pays your medical bills after a dog bites you?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | Dog Bites

An aggressive dog could cost you thousands of dollars. They can damage clothing or destroy electronics when they attack a person. The property damage costs could be hundreds of dollars in addition to the cost of the actual injuries that they inflict with their bites and claws.

A dog bite could cause disfiguring wounds that require cosmetic surgery to repair, could break bones or could even cause a major infection that leaves someone in the hospital for days. Who is responsible for paying those medical expenses when a dog in New York attacks a person?

The owner is often liable

Under New York law, there are liability rules for dog owners. Owning an animal creates some risk for the public, which an owner should be aware of when deciding to acquire a pet or take one into public spaces.

Someone hurt by a dog could hold the owner accountable, although the owner needs to be aware that the dog is aggressive to be liable for its actions. A dog that has bitten other people before or displayed unwarranted aggression is a dangerous dog for which the owner has strict liability. If an animal has not previously bitten another person, then there may be more of an uphill battle for the victim of a dog attack seeking compensation in civil court.

New York lawmakers have looked to impose stricter liability standards, and if they are successful, that could improve the rights of those harmed by animals other than police dogs and service animals. For the time being, victims of aggressive canines may need to look at the situation closely to determine if they have grounds for an insurance claim or for a civil lawsuit against the animal’s owner.

Premises liability often plays a role, meaning that homeowner’s insurance or premises liability coverage may pay for someone’s medical costs. In cases where the animal inflicts serious injuries or the owner does not have insurance coverage that applies, the person hurt by the dog may need to file a civil lawsuit.

Learning about premises liability and dog bite rules in New York will help those recovering from a recent attack handle the costs it generated.