Dogs are man’s best friend, but they are still animals, and despite training, can act in unpredictable ways. Unfortunately, dog attacks and dog bites can be severe and cause disability, disfigurement, and even death. For many victims, a dog bite can require medical care to prevent infection and can continue to be traumatic long after the injury has healed.
If you live in New York and are the victim of a dog bite, it’s essential to know the regulations surrounding dog owner responsibility and liability. As New York is a very dog-friendly state, dog bites can occur in unexpected places, such as stores or restaurants.
New York State Dog Bite Injury Laws
According to New York State’s Dangerous Dog Law, a dangerous dog is one that a reasonable person can conclude poses an acute threat of impending injury. Section 121 of the New York code, which covers dog-related injuries, stipulates that the owner of such a dog is strictly liable for all medical costs originating from the injury, regardless of efforts made to control the dog.
New York State, however, combines strict liability with negligence. This means that for any costs besides medical ones connected to the dog bite—such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, or lost wages—the dog’s owner is liable only if they failed to use reasonable care to restrain the dog or didn’t warn others the dog could be dangerous.
This constitutes negligence, but it’s contingent on the plaintiff to prove negligent behavior. Negligence can be established if the plaintiff can prove the dog is dangerous and that the owner knew.
If you have questions regarding the legal ramifications of a dog bite in the state of New York, you can schedule a free consultation with the New York dog bite lawyers at Catalano Law. Our Syracuse-based law firm has extensive experience dealing with dog bite cases and securing compensation for injured clients.
New York Laws Regarding Dogs in Stores
Whether a dog is allowed in a store is at the store owner’s discretion, but New York is generally known as a dog-friendly state, although dogs must be restrained by a leash no longer than six feet in public spaces (except in designated off-leash zones.) This includes stores, where they must be on a leash the entire time.
New York Laws Regarding Dogs in Restaurants
According to the New York State Department of Health, domesticated dogs are categorized as companion dogs, and these are not allowed in indoor dining areas or food preparation zones. They may, however, be permitted in a restaurant’s outdoor dining areas, which requires the restaurant operators to comply with the restrictions stipulated in Section 1352-e of New York Public Health Law.
However, service dogs trained to perform tasks for individuals with a disability may be allowed in the indoor dining areas of restaurants, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They may not, however, be allowed to sit or eat at the table.
Stores and restaurants may also be held liable if they are found to have contributed to negligent circumstances surrounding a dog bite injury. For example, if a restaurant has allowed a companion dog (a non-service dog) in an indoor dining area and a dog attack occurs, the restaurant may be held jointly liable with the dog’s owner. If a store owner also owns a dog that bites someone within the store, then the owner is solely responsible.
Seek Support From a Trusted Firm
The team at Catalano Law has many years of experience assisting the victims of animal attacks, and we have learned just how stressful the aftereffects of such an attack can be. There may be physical, emotional, and financial ramifications that are felt long after the actual attack. You may experience trouble coping with these aspects while recovering from an injury.
We can help you focus on your recovery by navigating the legal aspects of your case and ensuring you understand your rights.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation
The experienced dog bite lawyers at Catalano Law can help you evaluate your case’s merits and decide whether you want to move forward with your claim. The dog owner is likely liable for negligence plus strict liability and may owe you more compensation than you realize. Contact Catalano Law for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to evaluate your legal options.