A Manhattan pedestrian was allegedly attacked by a wedding designer’s dog.
In a $1M lawsuit filed by Gina Giacomantonio, she alleged that she was walking down West 20th Street when a black German Shepherd lunged at her. Apparently, the leash slipped out of the hands of the popular wedding-gown designers Elizabeth Filmore and Thomas Allen. Their German Shepherd, Romulus, lunged at her and latched onto her arm. Giacomantonio allegedly refused medical attention after being bitten by Romulus.
According to the City Health Department, this dog has no bite history. However, Giacomantonio’s lawyers said that Allen and Filmore informed the city that they knew their rescue animal suffered from anxiety.
Personal Injury from Dog Bites
Dog bites are more common than people think, with 1 in every 73 people getting bitten by a dog annually. That translates to over 4.4 million people a year get bitten, with roughly 885,000 cases of bites needing medical attention.
Injuries may range from simple scratches or wounds, to severe injuries that need medical attention and surgery. Although most dog bites do not require medical attention, there are still some instances when dog bits need reconstructive surgery because of severe injuries.
Typically, the larger the dog is, the more severe the injuries are. But of course, it is not a hard and steadfast rule because there are still some large dogs that are gentle and loving. In addition, there are cases wherein even a small breed like the Chihuahua has caused severe physical injuries to a person that required surgery.
The location of the bite also plays a role in whether an injury is severe or not. Most facial dog bites found in the head and neck region need some kind of surgery, especially if the notes or lips have been mangled or bitten.
Most of the injuries are inflicted on children from 5 to 9 years old, presumably because they are not that familiar with a dog’s temperament or may have played too harshly. But that does not mean that adults would not get bitten. Just like Giacomantonio, anybody could get bitten by a dog – even if the dog is unprovoked.
Who is Liable for Personal Injuries from Dog Bites?
The general rule is that dog owners are generally responsible for injuries that are caused by their pets. There may be additional people who may be held liable, such as if the dog’s actual owner is a minor, another person was in charge or control of the dog, like a dog sitter or a veterinarian, or a landlord who knew of the dangerous tendencies of the dog but did not act on it. Together with the owner, they may also be held liable for any injuries from dog bites.
Depending on your location, too, there may also be state laws that cover liabilities for damages from dog bites. In New York, the applicable statute is the New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, also called the “Dangerous Dog Law”. It states that the owner of a ‘dangerous dog’ is liable if his dog injures another person, another livestock, or another companion animal.
Under this statute, the owner is liable for all medical bills arising from the injuries caused by the ‘dangerous dog.’ However, for other damages except medical damages, there must be proof that the owner was negligent.
For example, if an owner keeps his dog in the house, and it somehow went out and bit the neighbor, the owner can only be held liable for the medical bills. However, if the neighbor can prove that the owner was negligent, such as leaving the door and the gate wide open for the dog to escape, then other damages can also be demanded from the owner.
Seeking Damages for Personal Injury Due to Dog Bites
If you have suffered from personal injuries from dog bites, make sure to have everything documented. Keep all medical records, hospital bills, emergency care invoices and medications. Under the Dangerous Dog Law, you can ask for reimbursement of all medical costs that you incurred because of the bite.
You may also consider contacting our New York personal injury lawyers to help guide you, especially if you feel that there is negligence on the dog owner’s part that will let you claim for more damages apart from the medical bill reimbursement. Proving negligence can be a bit tricky and would require legal training and knowledge. It is best to let personal injury lawyers help you claim for other damages other than medical bills.
Contact our dog bite lawyers today at (888) GOT-HURT or (888) 468-4878 and make sure that you get compensated for any injuries that you might have suffered.