Liability of Homeowners for Dog Bites on Their Premises


Many New Yorkers are bitten by dogs each year when they visit the homes of others. When people are attacked by dogs while they are guests on the properties of others or when they are legally present for the purpose of conducting business, the homeowners may be liable to pay damages for their losses.

The American Veterinary Association reports that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S., and 20 percent of those bites require people to seek treatment at emergency departments. There was a 2.2 percent increase in the number of dog bite claims in 2017, and 359,000 children were bitten by dogs between 2010 and 2012.

The Insurance Information Institute reported that the average payout from homeowners' liability insurance for dog bite claims was $37,051. Postal carriers are the most frequently bitten. In 2017, 6,244 claims involved postal carriers. The American Veterinary Association recommends that pet owners train their dogs using reward systems and that they always closely supervise children who are playing around or with dogs. Dogs should be placed in other rooms when packages are being delivered, and they should be socialized so that they are comfortable around people other than their families.

People who are bitten by dogs while they are legally on the premises of others may want to talk to experienced personal injury attorneys. When dog owners fail to keep their animals away from visitors and the dogs attack, the victims may be able to hold them liable under a theory of premises liability. An attorney may help his or her clients to file claims so that they might recover damages to cover their losses. The damages that might be available include medical expenses, pain and suffering, income losses, scarring and others. These damages may be payable through the homeowner's insurance policy.