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Pain and Suffering Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in New York


Although most dogs are friendly, dog bites are not uncommon. According to data collected by the New York City Department of Health, there were 6,028 emergency room visits and 315 hospitalizations on average each year for dog bites between 2007 and 2014, with children ages 5-12 at the highest risk. 

Unfortunately, when dog attacks occur, the injuries can be devastating. The incident might not only cause severe physical wounds, but a dog bite victim may suffer emotional harm as well. If a dangerous dog has attacked you, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, time lost from work, and property damage — and in some cases, your pain and suffering.

Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

Depending on the circumstances of the attack, a dog bite can result in permanent disability or disfigurement. However, even if a dog bite wound seems minor at first, a victim may be at risk of developing a bacterial infection depending on the dog’s health status. Regardless of the seriousness of the injuries, it’s always best to seek medical assistance immediately if you’ve been bitten by a dog. 

Other physical injuries sustained by dog bite victims can include:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Bacterial infections
  • Tetanus
  • Crush injuries
  • Avulsion injuries
  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage
  • Fatality

Many dog bite injuries can require extensive medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, and ongoing care. If the damage is severe, you may also require reconstructive or plastic surgery. Significantly, physical injuries sustained in a dog attack can also diminish your quality of life and cause you to suffer mental anguish, depression, lack of sleep, and PTSD.

What is Pain and Suffering in a Dog Bite Case?

New York dog owners have a duty to warn others if they know their dog has vicious propensities or is prone to attack. If a dog that was declared dangerous has bitten you, the owner is strictly liable to cover your medical costs under New York law. You may also be entitled to pain and suffering damages in a personal injury action if you can establish that the dog’s handler was negligent, or failed to use reasonable care in preventing the accident that caused your injuries.

Pain and suffering are non-economic damages meant to compensate you for the physical pain and emotional anguish you may be forced to endure due to your dog bite injuries. They are often the largest portion of a victim’s recovery in a personal injury action. When determining an award for pain and suffering, a jury may consider your loss of enjoyment of life, your inability to participate in activities you once enjoyed, and the humiliation or embarrassment your injuries may have caused you to suffer. Pain and suffering damages can also include emotional distress, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.   

How is Pain and Suffering for a Dog Bite Calculated?

Putting a dollar amount on the pain and suffering you may have experienced due to your dog attack injuries can be difficult. However, there are generally two methods that can be used to calculate this category of damages in a New York personal injury case: the multiplier method or the per diem method.

When using the multiplier method, the amount of monetary damages you’ve incurred are calculated and multiplied by a number anywhere between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your injuries. In contrast, the per diem approach applies a dollar amount to each day you suffered the effects of your injury. The time frame for calculation begins on the date of the dog attack incident and concludes when the injuries are resolved.  

Contact an Experienced New York City Dog Bite Attorney

If you have sustained injuries due to a dog attack that caused you to suffer physical and emotional harm, you may be entitled to monetary recovery from the dog owner or another negligent party. It’s critical to have a personal injury attorney on your side who can protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a free consultation.