Most of the time dogs make friendly companions. However, some dogs may bite or attack unexpectedly and leave their victims with substantial injuries. Dog bite injuries can be painful, devastating and leave permanent damage. Under New York State law, a victim of a dog bite or attack may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
The One Bite Rule
New York mixes "the one-bite rule" and "strict liability." Once a dog attacks another person or companion/domestic animal, the owner has a duty to warn others that the dog has dangerous propensities.
Strict liability for medical costs is imposed on an owner if they know their dog can be dangerous and it causes injuries to another -- a dog bite victim does not need to prove negligence to financially recover for their medical expenses. However, the owner's negligence must be demonstrated to recover damages beyond medical expenses.
There are exceptions under the law that a dog owner may be able to assert as a defense in a dog attack case. For example, an owner may be shielded from liability if they can show:
(1) The dog acted to protect its owner or property from a trespasser or person committing a crime.
(2) The dog was being tormented by the person it bit.
(3) Its reaction was due to pain or its protection of its owner, offspring, or property.
Police dogs are also exempt if the attack occurred during the course of its official duties.