Is a New York City Landlord Liable if a Tenant's Dog Bites Someone?

Is a New York City Landlord Liable if a Tenant's Dog Bites Someone?

If you live in a New York City apartment building or complex that allows dogs, you might wonder who is responsible if a dog bites or attacks a tenant or their guest. Dog bites and attacks can be serious and cause severe injuries and disfigurement. Whether you're a dog owner or live in a dog-friendly building, it's essential to understand the law regarding liability for dog bites in New York.

A Landlord May be Liable for a Dog Bite or Attack if They Knew the Dog Was Dangerous

If you suffered dog bite injuries in an apartment building or on the premises of one, your first question might be whether the landlord can be held liable. As with any New York City premises liability case, a landlord may be held liable under certain circumstances for injuries resulting from a dangerous condition in a building they own.

For dog bite liability to attach to a landlord, they must have had knowledge that the tenant’s dog was dangerous. To prove that a landlord had knowledge concerning the dog's dangerousness, a dog bite victim must show that the landlord:

(1) knew — or should have known — about the dog’s vicious propensities
(2) was provided with actual notice that the dog attacked someone
(3) failed to take steps to remove the dog

If a landlord allowed a dog to remain in the apartment building after it attacked someone, they may be held liable for negligence. However, even if a landlord can’t be held liable for your dog bite injuries, this is not the only avenue of recovery. You may still be able to recover your damages from the dog's owner.

Dog Owner Liability for New York City Dog Bites and Attacks

New York law follows a combination of "the one bite rule" and strict liability for dog bites. This means that the dog's owner is responsible for paying your medical costs related to the attack. To recover medical expenses, it is not necessary to prove negligence.

If your dog bite injuries are severe, you may be entitled to recover for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium in a personal injury action. To recover non-economic damages, establishing negligence is necessary - this is where New York's "one bite rule" is applicable.

Generally, an owner will not be held liable for a dog bite or attack if their dog never demonstrated viciousness before. An owner also may not be held liable if they can establish a defense under New York law - for example, if the dog attacked while protecting its owner or was being tormented.

What to Do if a Dog Bites You

Dog bites can cause serious injuries, infections, disfigurement, broken bones, nerve damage, and other severe conditions. If someone else's dog bit you, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. It's also crucial to identify the dog and its owner so that you can obtain its vaccination history and other necessary information. If possible, take any photos of the damage in the event that you might need to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. It's also helpful to file a report with the police department or animal control and to notify your landlord about the incident as soon as possible.

Contact a Queens, New York Dog Bite Attorney

If you were attacked by a dog in a New York City apartment building or complex, you should contact a New York City dog bite attorney immediately who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your dog bite injuries, medical expenses, and time lost from work.

The Popick Law Firm has over thirty years of experience in obtaining compensation for victims of New York City dog bites and other premises liability accidents. Located in Flushing, Queens, The Popick Law Firm handles personal injury cases in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact The Popick Law Firm today for a consultation