What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Dog?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on July 21, 2015

in Buffalo Injury Questions and Answers

A few years ago, the United States Postal Service ranked the top 25 cities in the country for dog-bite attacks on postal workers.

According to the postal service, Buffalo ranked 18th on this list. Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.

Obviously, the first action anyone should undertake following a dog bite is to see to their own protection and care for their injuries.

If the dog owner has not secured the animal, go to a location where you are not a risk for further attack and contact animal control to secure the dog.

Any wounds should be immediately checked and cleaned. If they are deep, extensive or any bleeding cannot be stopped, medical attention should be sought.

In addition to these actions, there are also steps you can take that may be helpful should you need to pursue a personal injury claim.

If you are not familiar with the dog or the owner, it is important to obtain the owner’s name and contact information.

If the owner is not present and you do not know who the dog belongs to, animal control should be called so that they can locate the animal and possibly determine the identity of the owner.

If there are witnesses to the dog bite incident, it is also important to obtain their identities and contact information.

They may be able to provide important information regarding the nature of the attack and, if they had previous contact with the animal, may be helpful in determining whether the dog had previously acted in a dangerous or vicious manner.

Proof that the owner was aware the dog may bite is important when making a personal injury claim.

Following a dog bite, it also is helpful to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you determine


While it is important to have a Buffalo personal injury lawyer who is prepared to sue for your injury and go to trial if necessary, many personal injury cases in the Buffalo area may be settled without being sued in court and taken to trial.

In almost all personal injury cases, the party that caused the injury will have some form of insurance that is responsible for providing coverage on behalf the defendant.

As a result, a personal injury lawyer may be able to recover damages simply through negotiations with the insurance company representing the negligent party.

In such cases, the matter may be resolved without even having to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Instead, the attorney will gather evidence of the other party’s negligence and the client’s injuries, which is then provided to the insurance company.

Once the insurance company has reviewed it and completed its own investigation, the sides may then try to reach an agreement on the value of the case.

Even if it is necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit, these negotiations with the insurance company often continue.

In fact, even in situations where it is necessary to file a lawsuit, very few personal injury cases actually end up in front of a jury.

Instead, the parties either eventually negotiate a settlement or agree to pursue some alternative method of resolving the case, such as having the matter presented to a neutral arbitrator who will decide if the defendant was negligent and the amount of any damages owed to the injured party.

If you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands your options when it comes to settling your claim, call us at 716-631-9999.


In certain Buffalo personal injury accidents, someone’s negligence can result not only in injury to others, but also in injury to the negligent person.

This is most common in motor vehicle accidents where the negligent driver is injured or even killed.

The fact that the negligent person has died does not bar an injured person from bringing a personal injury claim, although it can make bringing such a claim more complicated.

Most personal injury cases involve making a claim with the negligent person’s insurance carrier.

Even when a defendant is deceased, it is still possible for a personal injury lawyer to attempt to settle the personal injury claim with the deceased person’s insurance company.

This is largely handled in the same manner as any other personal injury claim.

If the claim cannot be settled through negotiations with the insurer and the case needs to be sued, however, the matter may become more complicated than a typical personal injury case.

If there is already an estate set up to oversee the defendant’s assets, the administrator of the estate takes the place of the deceased for purposes of legal matters, and the personal injury lawsuit otherwise proceeds normally.

The matter becomes slightly more involved if there is no estate and, therefore, no one to legally take the place of the deceased defendant.

Under such circumstances, the injured person may have to take steps to have an estate set up for the defendant and an administrator appointed so that there is someone to serve legal papers upon.

While it may seem unusual that the law would require someone to set up an estate solely for the purpose of suing it, in some cases this is the only manner in which the injured person may proceed with his or her personal injury case.

If you have been injured and are not sure how to proceed against the negligent party, we can help you. Call us at 716-631-9999.


Buffalo personal injury cases that involve someone falling and being injured due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property are usually referred to as “slip and fall” cases.

Slip and fall personal injury cases may arise from an injury on either private or public property, although special rules may apply when an injury occurs on public property that make it more difficult to bring a successful personal injury claim.

Slip and fall cases on public property usually will involve bringing a claim against the local or state agency responsible for the maintenance of the property.

When bringing any claim against a local or state agency in New York State, it is usually necessary for the injured person to report the claim to the local or state government within ninety days of being injured.

This notice generally must include the name and post-office address of each person bringing a claim and of their attorney; the nature of the claim; the time when and the place where the injury occurred; the manner in which the claim arose – such as falling on debris left on a sidewalk; and the injuries sustained.

A person who fails to file this notice of claim with the local or state government within 90 days is usually barred from bringing a personal injury claim absent a court order.

Slip and fall cases involving public property can also be more difficult with certain types of dangerous conditions – such as a defect in a crosswalk causing a pedestrian to fall – because New York State law allows local governments to pass laws exempting them from liability unless they were previously informed of the defect and failed to correct it in a reasonable amount of time.

If you have been injured due to a defective condition on private or public property, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Call us at 716-631-9999 for a free consultation.


When someone pursuing a personal injury lawsuit does not agree with a ruling from a judge or jury regarding their case, it may be possible to appeal that ruling to a higher court.

Appeals of decisions in Buffalo area personal injury lawsuits will usually be made the Appellate Division Court for the Fourth Department in Rochester, New York.

While it may be possible to appeal a decision to the Appellate Division Court for the Fourth Department, determining whether to do so requires consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Very few lower court decisions are overturned on appeal. No one could be expected to agree with the judge or jury when a ruling is made against them, and the mere fact that the injured person does not agree with a decision is not a good reason to proceed with an appeal.

Instead, when arguing that a decision should be overturned, the injured person either must be able to point to some obvious error that was made in the application or interpretation of the law or must establish a clear abuse of discretion by the lower court that made the ruling.

If an injured person does successfully appeal, what happens afterwards largely depends on the nature of the issue that was appealed.

Under some circumstances, the Appellate Division Court for the Fourth Department will simply overrule the finding of the lower court.

In other cases, the matter may be returned to the lower court for further proceedings.

If you have been injured in an accident and need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, we would be happy to help you.

Please call us at 716-631-9999 for a free consultation.


Any experienced Buffalo personal injury lawyer will tell you that everyone should wear their seat belt. Not wearing a seat belt greatly increases the risk of suffering a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident. Also, while failure to wear a seat belt does not prevent an injured person from pursuing a personal injury claim, it may have an impact on the amount that can be recovered.

Under New York law, not complying with the laws requiring the wearing of seat belts may not be used in a personal injury lawsuit to argue that the injuries were the fault of the unbelted person. It may be used, however, to argue that he or she would have suffered lesser injuries if a seat belt had been worn.

If the party responsible for the motor vehicle accident wishes to make an argument that the injuries would have been less severe, he or she must comply with certain rules. First, the defendant’s attorney must have affirmatively informed the injured party’s personal injury lawyer that they will be raising failure to use a seat belt as an issue. Second, the courts of New York State have found that it is not enough to simply argue that seat belts reduce injuries.

Instead, the defendant must submit competent evidence regarding how wearing a seat belt would have changed the specific injuries suffered by the plaintiff. This usually means that the defense must have an expert who can analyze and explain how wearing a seat belt would have altered the injured party’s movement within the vehicle in a manner that would have reduced the injuries.

If you have been injured in a car accident and have any questions, we can help you. Please call Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-631-9999.



by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on December 30, 2014

in Dog Bites

Defendant, whose English bulldog was on a leash, stopped in front of Plaintiff’s home and asked him what he was looking at and if he had a “problem” with her. The two argued for about 10 minutes.

Defendant left but returned several minutes later and threw a bag of dog feces at Plaintiff and walked away. Plaintiff picked up the bag and caught up with her. He began to choke Defendant who commanded her bulldog to “get ’em.” The dog bit Plaintiff’s left forearm that required stitches to close.

The Brooklyn, New York Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff’s lawsuit after determining that the dog did not display vicious propensities For Defendant to be liable for injuries under New York’s dog-bite case law, it must be shown that she knew or should have known that her dog had vicious propensities.

In addition to a prior biting attack, a “vicious propensity” could also be indicated by a dog’s tendency to growl, snap or bare its teeth or to act in other threatening manners In addition to a prior biting attack.

The court determined that the dog was loyally protecting its owner. The court noted that dogs are universally recognized as a man’s (in this case a woman’s) best friend. This designation necessarily indicates that a dog will act towards its owner in a manner consistent with that of a close companion.

Dogs are known to be very protective of their owners and often come to their defense when they believe that their owners are about to be, or are threatened by others. The court concluded that the dog bit in reaction to Plaintiff’s physical proximity and manner towards its owner. This case was not a situation where the dog, without any provocation, displayed aggressive behavior.

If you or a family member have suffered a personal injury and have any questions, we can help you. Call Mike Ranzenhofer at 716-631-9999.


Many Buffalo car accidents involve defendants who were ticketed for moving infractions such as Following Too Closely or Passing a Stop Sign. While the defendant receiving a traffic ticket may be helpful in any lawsuit you file, its value as evidence that the defendant drove in a negligent manner largely depends on how the ticket was handled in court.

In cases where a defendant has pleaded guilty to a traffic infraction related to the auto accident, that plea is admissible as evidence against that defendant in the personal injury case. It is treated as an admission to having committed that offense. In many cases, this admission alone may be enough to establish the defendant’s negligence in causing the motor vehicle accident.

When a defendant does not plead guilty to a traffic infraction but instead is convicted of one after a trial, the conviction is not considered an admission and usually is not admissible in the personal injury case. The reason a conviction for a traffic infraction after trial is not admissible as evidence in a civil case is that because a traffic ticket is a relatively minor matter, the defendant may not have contested it as strongly as he or she would have contested a more serious charge.

If the defendant is acquitted of any traffic infraction after trial, the acquittal also is not admissible as evidence in the personal injury case, and the defendant cannot use it as evidence that he or she did not drive in the manner set forth on the traffic ticket.
If you have been injured in a car accident where another driver was negligent, please feel free to call us at 716-631-9999 for legal help.


When someone suffers a personal injury in Buffalo due to another person’s negligence, the fact that his or her medical expenses may be paid by some form of health insurance is not usually a bar to pursuing a personal injury claim against the negligent party. It is important, however, to let your personal injury lawyer know about your insurance coverage, as certain types of coverage may have an impact on your case.

This is most likely to happen in cases where Medicare has been involved in payment of medical expenses. In New York State, health insurers generally may not seek to be reimbursed for medical expenses out of an injured party’s personal injury settlement. Medicare, however, is an exception to this general rule.

When Medicare has paid for medical treatment related to a personal injury accident and the injured person recovers damages from the negligent party, Medicare is entitled to reimbursement for those medical expenses. It is very important that you let your personal injury attorney know if you are receiving Medicare, because there can be very serious penalties if you make a personal injury claim and fail to inform Medicare of any damages you recover.

Aside from Medicare, there are also certain health insurance plans administered under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) where the health insurer is able to recover expenses in a similar fashion. While this does not mean you cannot pursue a personal injury claim, it is important for your personal injury lawyer to know about this insurance so that any potential reimbursement can be considered when pursuing damages.

If you need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands how insurance can impact your case, we can be reached at 716-631-9999.


In most Buffalo personal injury lawsuits where injury was caused by a dangerous condition on someone’s property – such as an icy sidewalk or broken stairs – the defendant’s knowledge of the dangerous condition prior to injury is an important element of the case.

While it is not always necessary to prove the defendant was actually aware of the dangerous condition, proof that the defendant was previously aware of the condition but did not correct it is always helpful when pursuing a personal injury claim.

For most cases involving injury on property, the injured party must establish that the defendant either knew about the dangerous condition or would have known about it if he or she had exercised reasonable diligence.

Where there is no absolute proof that the defendant actually knew about the condition, proof that the defendant should have known about it may include evidence regarding how long the problem had been present, whether the problem was a recurring one (pooling of water at a location every time it rains, for example), and whether the area was inspected with any regularity.

The major exception to the requirement that the injured party establish that a defendant knew or should have known of a dangerous condition on his or her property occurs in cases where the defendant actually created the dangerous condition.

This may happen, for example, where a defendant plows snow onto a sidewalk creating a hazard. Where the dangerous condition was directly created by the defendant, it is not necessary to prove knowledge of it.

If you have been injured on someone’s property and need legal help, we would be happy to assist you. Please call us at 716-631-9999.