New York residents who own cats as pets may enjoy having them as part of their families. However, there is a chance that they could injure a person with their claws or teeth, and this can happen even if the cat was just trying to play with the victim. In New York state, cat owners are generally liable for damages caused by bites if they knew that their animals had a propensity to act in a vicious manner.
Unlike dogs, cats are generally not required to be kept on a leash or in a confined area while outdoors. Therefore, an owner may not be considered negligent if a cat bit someone while on public land or on another person’s property. Cat owners may be able to claim that the victim was partially or fully responsible for his or her injuries.
Generally speaking, an individual is expected to act in a reasonable manner while in an animal’s presence. If a person knows that a cat may bite, he or she is expected to take reasonable steps to avoid being bitten. Otherwise, it may be possible to claim that he or she knew the risk of being around the animal and assumed that risk. If successful, these defenses may help to limit the amount of money a bite victim may collect.
A person who is injured while on another person’s property may be entitled to compensation. The property owner may be liable for any medical bills that an injured victim incurs in addition to lost wages and other damages. People who have been harmed in this manner might want to discuss their case with an attorney who has premises liability experience.