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Central Park Dog Owner Can Be Sued

Last Tuesday, a judge ruled that the woman whose face was mauled by a dog in Central Park can sue the owner. The woman allegedly was attempting to help the dog when the dog attacked her. The incident took place back in July 2009. The German Shepherd-Collie mix bit the woman to the extent that she needed more than 30 stitches. The woman was left with permanent scarring on her face.

The owner of this dog claims that the woman knew the risk of helping this dog, but took the risk anyway, thereby alleviating all liability from the dog's owner. The judge ruled otherwise. At the time of the incident, the dog was stuck in a wire mesh fence near Central Park's Great Lawn. The dog was in distress when the woman decided to step in and help. The judge ruled that the woman could file a lawsuit against the dog's owner primarily because she had presented enough evidence of the dog's violent tendencies.

New York's dog bite laws are unique to any other state. Some states have a "one bite" rule, which means that a dog is basically allowed one strike before they are out. The second bite could warrant a lawsuit. Other states have a strict liability statute that doesn't allow for any mess ups. In New York, it is mixed. In this state, if someone is bit by a dog, the dog's owner could be made to pay medical and veterinary costs. If the victim is going to receive any other type of compensation from the dog's owner, the plaintiff must prove that A) the dog was dangerous, B) the dog had a tendency to bite, and C) that the dog's owner knew of the dog's dangerous tendencies.

Victims must establish that the dog is vicious in order to get compensation in many cases. Owners could even be held liable for damages if they "should have known" their animal was dangerous. This means that, even if the animal had never bitten anyone before, the owner could still be held liable for injuries if there was reasonable evidence to indicate violent tendencies in the dog.

In New York, there is one very strong defense against dog bite allegations. If an owner, together with their attorney, can prove that their dog had never bit anyone before and also had never growled or acted violently toward anyone before then a lawsuit probably cannot stand. If you would like to learn more about New York's dog bite laws or how you can gain access to legal representation after a dog bite incident, please contact a Bronx personal injury lawyer at our firm today.

Categories: Dog Bite


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The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, P.C. - Bronx Personal Injury Attorney
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