Can You Sue In Buffalo If You Are Injured By A Dog That Has Never Bitten Before?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on July 16, 2014

in Dog Bites

While an experienced Buffalo personal injury lawyer may be able to successfully recover damages when a dog that has never bitten before causes an injury by biting someone, the fact that the dog has not bitten before does make the case more difficult.

This is because for a dog owner in New York State to be held liable for injuries caused by his or her dog, it must be proven that the owner knew, or should have known, that the dog had “vicious propensities.” While it is not necessary that the dog be shown to have previously bitten someone to prove vicious propensities, a history of biting constitutes proof of vicious propensities that is nearly impossible for the owner to refute.

Even if the dog has no known history of biting, there are other actions by a dog that may be indicative of vicious propensities. These include a history of growling, lunging at people, and snapping or baring its teeth. While these or other behaviors may not provide clear-cut proof of vicious propensities, a jury may consider them when determining whether a dog owner should have known that the dog was likely to attack someone.

When considering whether a dog had vicious propensities, however, New York State law makes no distinction among breeds of dogs. So certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls or Doberman Pinschers, may not automatically be considered to have vicious propensities. Instead, the actions of the individual dog must be evaluated.

If you have been bitten by a dog and need legal help, we would be happy to answer your questions. Please feel free to call my office at 716-631-9999.

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