According to the New York State Department of Health, each year over 6600 children under the age of twenty are treated at a hospital in New York State due to a dog bite injury. Did you know that you cannot sue a dog owner in New York State just because your child was bit by a dog?
The traditional rule governing injuries caused by dogs is generally known as the “one-bite rule;” however, the name can be misleading. The long-standing rule in New York State has been that an owner of a dog is liable for an injury caused by the animal’s “vicious propensity,” but only if the owner knew or should have known of the animal’s “vicious propensity.”
What does that mean? If your child is bit by a dog, you have to show that the dog has dangerous characteristics, that the owner knew of the dog’s dangerous characteristics, and that those characteristics led to the bite. One way to show that a dog has dangerous characteristics is to show that the dog has bit someone before and that the owner knew about it – hence, the “one-bite rule.”
If your child has been bit by a dog, the most important thing is to seek immediate medical attention. An attorney can help you determine whether you have a viable case against the dog owner.