We recently discovered the blog of New York lawyer James Reed of Ziff Law, which has some great advice for dog bite victims that we wanted to share.
In a recent post Mr. Reed explains what happens in the legal system and what the difference is between a dangerous dog proceeding and a civil case. He summarizes this as follows:
If you have become a victim of a dog attack, there are some steps that you should take.
- First, seek medical attention. Whether you call 911 or go to the hospital on your own, DO NOT WAIT.
- Second, call the police or animal control as soon as possible to let them know that you were attacked. It is especially important to call the police or animal control quickly when the dog is loose or you do not know who it belongs to; a prompt call may allow them to find the dog. Unfortunately, without the dog or knowledge of who owns dog, treatment may be more difficult for you, others may be in danger of similar injury and future legal proceedings may be impossible.
- Third, when speaking with police, animal control and medical providers, ask for documentation. If no documentation is available at the time, ask for report numbers or names of the individual you are talking to. Fourth, document your injuries, medical visits and experiences through pictures and notes. This will help you remember what you’ve gone through as a result of this injury and may be of help in future legal proceedings.
- Finally, do not hesitate to contact an attorney that specializes in this type of case. Most clients feel that having someone going through the process with them is immensely helpful.
The dangerous dog proceeding and the civil case have different effects on the parties involved. There are a few main differences:
- A dangerous dog proceeding may impose for some restrictions on the attacking dog, e.g., requiring a leash, muzzle or training and, in extreme cases, euthanasia; a civil case cannot impose restrictions on the attacking pet.
- A civil case allows for more compensation for a dog attack; a dangerous dog proceeding allows only costs to be covered.Surprisingly, there is also some overlap between dangerous dog proceedings and civil cases. A finding of a dog as dangerous can be helpful in establishing vicious propensities of the dog in a civil case.
Can I proceed with both? It is possible to proceed with both. In fact, many people often find it satisfying to proceed with both because they are able to be involved in protecting others from a similar experience by helping to impose controls on the attacking pet as well as making sure they, as a victim, are fully compensated for their injuries and losses.
This article has been written to give you a very basic idea of what to do if you have been a victim of a dog attack. Being such can be a very traumatic and difficult experience.For more information, here are links to Mr Reed's blog posts for dog bite victims:
“Dangerous Dog Law in New York State: The Basics Explained by NY Dog Attack Lawyer”
“Vicious Propensities: Dog Owners’ Liability and Responsibility to Spot Warning Signs of Attack”
“More About Dangerous Dogs: What to Do if You are a Victim of a Dog Attack”
For more information about what to do after a dog bite please visit the Doggone Safe website at: http://doggonesafe.com/dog_bite_victim_support