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Dog Bites / Attacks

Thousands of people are injured by vicious dogs each year. These attacks – especially on children – can be physically and emotionally devastating to the victim.

When a dog attacks a person, the dog’s owner can be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries. In most cases, the owner’s homeowner’s and/or renter’s insurance policy will provide insurance coverage for any injuries suffered by the victim of the attack, including pain and suffering and medical expenses. Negotiating the complex issues associated with these types of claims can be daunting without the assistance of experienced lawyers like Porter Nordby Howe LLP.  We have represented many people and their families in cases involving dog attacks, and we have secured substantial financial awards for those who have been injured in this manner.

It is extremely important to contact us as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been injured in an attack. The success of these types of legal claims can often hinge on whether it can be proven that the dog had prior vicious propensities. Therefore, prompt investigation is essential. These cases involve comprehensive investigations, including canvasing neighborhoods for witnesses who may be aware of a dog’s propensity for aggressive behavior, and researching various levels of insurance coverage available to compensate victims. When you contact us, we will explain all of the legal issues to you and your family, and immediately begin the process of building your case in a way that maximizes the amount you or your family can recover.

How Common are Dog Bite Attacks?

According to the CDC, there are approximately 4.5 million American dog bite victims per year. Of these, 885,000 victims (almost one out of every 5) sustain injuries that are serious enough to require medical attention. And, nearly 368,000 victims require treatment in hospital emergency rooms.

These attacks cause more than just physical harm to victims, leaving many psychologically traumatized as well. The number of annual attacks are staggering, suggesting many families will be impacted by a dog bite injury at some point during their lives. When animal owners are negligent, there isn’t much victims can do to avoid being injured by an attack. According to the insurance industry statistics, dog bites accounted for more than a third of all homeowner liability insurance claims in 2014, with those claims totaling more than $530 million. New York had the third largest number of dog bite claims in the U.S. in 2015 ( According to that article, “dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out nationwide last year, costing more than $570 million, the study by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm shows.” Claimants victimized by dog bites in New York were paid upwards of $39 million.

Dog Bites Lawyers in Syracuse NY

Many insurance carriers no longer provide coverage for certain dog breeds, which can complicate matters when a victim of a dog bite seeks restitution for medical expenses or other damages. Our team of experts understands the issues involved and will work to make victims whole again. It is also important to recognize that injuries caused by dogs are not limited exclusively to bites. It is important that any victim of a dog-related injury understand their rights and responsibilities.

Do Dog Owners Generally Take Responsibility for Their Pet’s Actions?

Not always. Of course, many pet owners are accountable and will immediately accept responsibility for their animal’s actions, but not all do. Even when a pet owner acknowledges his or her responsibility, their insurance carrier may not be as forthcoming. To avoid a settlement, some pet owners and insurance companies attempt to blame the victim. The insurance company or owner may suggest the victim antagonized the animal and therefore contributed to or actually caused the attack. The laws are rather complex in this context, which is why victims must be aware of their rights as soon as they are injured. Contact Porter Nordby Howe LLP, dog bites lawyers in Syracuse NY, for advice and assistance as soon as possible after you or a family member has been injured by an aggressive or viscous dog, so that we can evaluate your case and determine how to best move forward.

Why Else Is It Important to Seek Legal Counsel Quickly?

Dog bites frequently result in serious injuries that require extensive medical care both immediately following an incident and years into the future. Scarring is a common injury suffered by many dog bite victims, often requiring extensive plastic surgery. Unfortunately, in many cases, the disfigurement suffered by the victim of a dog bite is permanent—causing the victim to suffer both physical and emotional scarring. These types of injury necessitate specialized medical treatment that can be both time consuming and expensive.

Children are especially vulnerable to the impulses of a viscous or aggressive dog, and especially susceptible to the physical and emotional trauma that often results from a dog attack. The long-lasting psychological effects of a dog bite can often be even more devastating for children than the bite itself. Counseling is often required, and many young dog bite victims remain terribly afraid and irrationally fearful of dogs for the rest of their lives. Dog bite victims, especially children, deserve to receive compensation for both their physical and emotional injuries caused by the negligent dog owners who ignore their dog’s viscous propensities, and allow their dogs to run free without regard to the safety of others.

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in Syracuse NY, or you have a question that has not been answered, call Porter Nordby Howe LLP at 888-477-7731, or e-mail us at

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