Frankie Flora’s Bill to Create Strict Liability for Dog Bites
A bill in the New York State Senate proposes to create a higher level of dog owner liability in cases of dog bites. Submitted by State Senators Gipson and Breslin, the new law would create a strict liability regime in which dog owners would be liable for the medical costs of a person injured by a dog bite, irrespective of the previous record of the dog. The bill would not affect the civil or criminal penalties that can be ordered against the owner of a dangerous dog, and the other existing civil remedies for victims of dog bites would otherwise remain in place.
The bill was named after Frankie Flora, who was severely injured by an attack by a dog. Similar bills have been proposed before, without success. Some critics of the bill and its previous incarnations have argued that it does not go far enough to provide a genuine strict liability regime for dog bites. Under the bill, the victim would be entitled to recover his or her medical costs, but would not be able to recover for pain and suffering, mental anguish or lost income without proving that the dog had vicious tendencies of which the owner was aware.
What remedies do I have if I am bitten?
Under existing dog bite laws in New York, if you are bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover damages. However, in order to successfully make a full monetary recovery, you need to be able to demonstrate that the dog has a propensity for viciousness and that the owner was aware of this. This is known as the one-bite rule, and can limit your ability to make a recovery after being bitten. Whether a dog is found to be vicious or dangerous depends on the circumstances, but if the dog has attacked other people previously, it is likely to fulfill the requirements.
Even if you are unable to recover damages, you should always inform a dog control officer or police officer after an attack, which may lead to the dog being officially declared dangerous. This could help prevent the dog attacking anyone else.
Seek medical attention
Before doing anything else, make sure you prioritize your health and get the injury checked out. Dog bites left untreated can lead to serious medical and psychological consequences. For more information on your rights after a dog bite, make an appointment with a determined Long Island dog bite attorney.